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Natural Awakenings

Virtual Ivy: E-colleges Do Work

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has found that many types of online education for a college degree are better at raising student achievement than face-to-face teaching is. The big difference, researchers report, is the time spent on task, or flexibility in absorbing content. Able to set their own pace, students often study longer or visualize a problem differently; concurrently, professors are forced to design better instructional techniques.

The most effective learning, the study concluded, occurs when a school combines e-learning with classroom teaching. Yet for many students, online learning is what they can afford in time or money. The hope is that the e-college trend may help burst the bubble of rising tuition costs, which now average more than $25,000 a year for a degree in a private, bricks-and-mortar institution.

In the past decade, the number of university students worldwide is up by nearly half to 153 million. The need to have a leg up in the global knowledge economy is reportedly prompting ED plans to create free, online courses for the nation’s 1,200 community colleges—which teach nearly half of our undergrads—to make it easier for them to learn basic job skills.

 

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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