Online first or classroom first? This discussion delves into the design principles of the two models.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to the Digital Learning initiative at Harvard.
Bharat Anand: I’m a Professor in Strategy at Harvard Business School. I also served as Faculty Chair of our new online learning initiative called HBX, which launched in 2014.
Sramana Mitra: What is the mission of HBX?
Bharat Anand: We started HBX as a way to keep up what seemed to be fascinating trends in the online education space. We really tried to think about how we, as a school, can create some offerings that serve our residential students well as well as allow us to better fulfil our mission, which is training and educating leaders who make a difference in the world. Those are really the objectives behind HBX. >>>
Analyts expect the digital education market to quadruple in size to $450 billion over the next five years. Chegg (NYSE: CHGG) is moving away from its traditional textbook rental service to focus on this disruptive market. >>>
The idea behind a flipped classroom has become more popular amongst teachers as of late, which can most likely be attributed to the rise of technology in and out of the classroom. Tools such as computers, smartphones, and tablets are typical items in a student and teacher’s arsenal in more recent times. These technological tools allow for the necessary instructional strategy required for a flipped classroom, which include teaching content at home and activities and discussions (often regarded as homework) being conducted in the class. Learning at home can include reading the required textbook lesson or watching online lectures, which would not have been possible if it was not for the advancement in technology. >>>
There is a lot going on in the educational technology market. In our effort to bring you continued insights in that market, we would like to bring to your attention three recent roundtable discussions:
The exorbitant cost of higher education is a recurrent topic of conversation, concern, and discontent these days. Against that backdrop, an announcement from edX and Arizona State University caught my attention last week. ASU and edX announced a program called Global Freshman Academy:
The Global Freshman Academy (GFA) will give learners anywhere in the world the opportunity to earn freshman-level university credit after successfully completing a series of digital immersion courses hosted on edX, designed and taught by leading scholars from ASU. By allowing students to learn, explore and complete courses before applying or paying for credit, the Global Freshman Academy reimagines the freshman year and reduces academic and monetary stress while opening a new path to a college degree for many students.
The program differs from other digital immersion undergraduate programs in the following ways:
- Course Credit for Open Online Courses – By completing the full series of eight Global Freshman Academy courses, students earn full college credit for freshman year; students will also be able to opt for taking individual courses for credit if they prefer
- Cost Effective – Freshman year credit earned through GFA is a fraction of the cost students typically pay
- Learning Before Payment – Students may decide to take a course for credit at the beginning or after coursework has been completed – reducing financial risk while opening a pathway for exploration and preparation for qualified students who may not otherwise seek a degree.
- Unlimited Reach – Because of the open course format, learning takes place while scaling completely – there are no limits to how many learners can take the courses online
- Innovative Admissions Option – GFA’s approach is different from the traditional admissions process of other credit-bearing courses, eliminating such barriers to entry as standardized tests and transcripts that are part of the traditional application process.
- Track Record of Success – This partnership brings together a globally recognized online educational platform founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a university whose innovative online degree programs boast an 89 percent retention rate.
Warren is the CTO of Smart Technologies, a $500 million provider of virtual classroom solutions. He offers a window into trends in the space and ideas for new entrepreneurs to focus on.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing yourself as well as SMART Technologies. What do you do?
Warren Barkley: I’m the CTO for SMART Technologies. I joined about two years ago from Microsoft. I was at Microsoft for about 16 years. I did a whole bunch of interesting things there. I worked on WiFi, networking, and a lot of other cool projects over the years. Before that, I was a teacher and a principal. If I reach far enough back, I was a musician at one point. I didn’t get a Computer Science degree but I somehow figured my way out into technology.
There is a huge gap between industry and academia today. Learn more about the lay of the land and identify opportunities for entrepreneurship.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with giving our audience a bit of context about Hands-On Learning (HOL). What do you do? What major online education industry trends are you aligning with?
K-12 has been a challenge for EdTech companies to build businesses in. Typically, buying cycles tend to be very long. See where Edgenuity is getting traction, and what trends are emerging in the space.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to you as well as to your company.
Sari Factor: After a short career in teaching back in 1980, I joined a company to explore technology in education. It was the first electronic publishing division of a major US publisher. I thought technology was going to change the world. I was this young green thing right out of teaching. Here I am many years later and I’m still trying to get technology to change K-12 education.