Online Degrees Through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Tue,02/23/2016-09:25

In 2013, the Georgia Institute of Technology announced that it was planning to provide students with an inexpensive online version of its master’s degree in computer science.  This past December, the first class of 20 students graduated from the program.  253 students in the first group are still enrolled and working on completing their degree.  While the computer-science program has 2,789 students enrolled online, 312 are enrolled on campus, and as with many programs, they have “experienced some hiccups—namely, that students are moving through the program at a slower pace that the school predicted.”

When the first MOOC was launched, everyone believed that they would continue to grow in popularity, but while many schools wanted to offer their courses through MOOCs, only a few agreed to give course credit.  At the Georgia Institute of Technology, the biggest selling point is the cost of an online master’s degree.  Enrolling online costs $7,000 whereas enrolling to attend on campus costs more than $38,000.

Georgia Tech “was on the forefront of an effort to harness the technology of massive, open, online courses […] to offer high-quality education a fraction of the cost of a traditional degree.”  Today, schools like Georgia Tech, including Arizona State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are continuing to work towards offering MOOCs as part of their for-credit program.  Right now it has become increasingly popular for schools to offer a hybrid-MOOC where students must meet certain admission requirements, pay for university recognition/receiving school credit, and sometimes even go to campus.

Online degrees aren’t for everyone.  Some people prefer to be on-campus.  However, many students that are employed out of state and enjoy online learning believe that their online interactions with their classmates are “Incredible,” specifically Mr. Agrawal as mentioned in the original article.

Even with the slow graduation rate, Georgia Tech believes that in 3 years they could potentially have 10,000 students enrolled in the program compared to the current 2,789.

For more information click here to read the original article, “Online Degree Hits Learning Curve” from the Wall Street Journal.

Rutgers Online Learning Conference

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Wed,02/17/2016-11:21

Last month Barnes and Noble College attended the Rutgers Online Learning Conference.  In its seventh year, the conference included two days of presentations and workshops focusing on a wide array of topics.  Keynote speakers included: Jeff Selingo, Denneth Ronkowitz, Deb Adair, Ray Schroeder, and Joan Bouillon.

Barnes and Noble College, as one of the sponsors of the conference had a table set up where our Rutgers general manager, Lew Claps, and Digital Education Coordinator, Sarah Goehringer met with attendees to answer questions and demonstrate our LMS integration.

One session we attended relates to the NEXT article, “The Quiet and Careful Revolution of OER.”  The session led by Rutgers librarians Jill Nathanson, a Reference and Instruction Librarian, and Mei Ling Lo, Mathematics and Computer Science Librarian focused on open educational resources.  Both librarians stressed the importance of the cost-saving benefits that open educational resources have to students.

Open textbooks can be downloaded for free and a number OER sites already exist and are visited frequently by faculty and students.  Most users choose the free eBook version, however many open textbooks do come in a print version with a small charge to cover the cost of printing.  These resources are licensed by the author-creator with rights that are less restrictive than copyright.  This is why they can be offered for free or at a lower price compared to a traditional textbook.

One topic during the session that we found particularly interesting had to do with “faculty skepticism towards using open educational resources,” specifically, open textbooks.  Some important points that were discussed included, quality and availability.  When we select a textbook from a publisher we know that it is good quality and that it has been evaluated.  For open textbooks we don’t know the evaluation process and it comes down to the faculty member making the decision as to whether the resource is relevant, of good quality, and something they feel would benefit their students.

Another reason open textbooks aren’t used as frequently as traditional textbooks, besides the fact that the concept is fairly new, is because they don’t typically come with the test banks that many textbooks include.  In addition, that being said, not all disciplines have open textbooks available yet.

OER resources are continuing to grow.  At Barnes and Noble College we’ve recognized the potential in accessibility and cost-savings to students.  While the adoption of using open educational resources has been slow, we believe that this platform of information is one that in the future will expand the quality of higher education.

NEXT: The Quiet and Careful Revolution of OER

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Wed,02/10/2016-09:56

It has the capacity to revolutionize the generally accepted model of higher education along with the entire way students learn. It could be one of the most significant advances in teaching since the blackboard, yet few fully understand it and even fewer know how they might apply it. A popular conversation in higher education is in the opportunities provided by Open Educational Resources (OER) and the prospect for educators and students to access open educational learning materials, open licensing and open sourcing to support classroom learning. But if OER is such a game changer, why hasn’t its adoption been central to every classroom and every campus?



Despite becoming a favorite buzzword, the actual adoption of OER has been slow, which Nicole Guerrieri, Barnes & Noble College’s Director, Digital Education, explains this way. “When we first started to talk about OER several years ago, we found there was strong interest from faculty in its potential — and we thought its use would quickly become widespread.” Yet Guerrieri explains that the adoption of OER has actually been more deliberate than anyone could have predicted and, with few faculty actually having first-hand knowledge or experience with open resource materials, there was a significant information gap existing on how it might be applied in the classroom.

A national survey of 2,000 faculty members conducted by Babson Survey Group and University of California-San Francisco researcher Elaine Allen, found that 65.9 percent of faculty are unaware of open educational resources. The survey also found confusion around what exactly qualifies as OER, apprehension about accessibility, and specific concerns about rights management and just how ‘free’ open content might be. Because of those kinds of anxieties, Guerrieri believes that Barnes & Noble College’s solution is well-timed. “Our response comes from our commitment to continually look at ‘what’s next’ for our faculty and our campus partners,” she says, acknowledging the support the company can bring to faculty and students in their partnership with XanEdu, Inc., and the ability to deliver OER content in the form of course packs, custom textbooks and lab manuals.

All of which comes at a time when the arguments for OER have become compelling. With tuition costs on the rise and government funding experiencing cuts, OER represents an increasingly attractive cost-saving addition to learning support and provides educators with the opportunity to control costs while also providing more customized content to meet and improve learning objectives.



Offering a wealth of mixed-media content, including videos, audio clips and traditional text, OER can provide greater access, flexibility and a deeper dive into the subject matter for both on-campus students and those going back to school for retraining. Traditional textbooks can be supported by a wealth of ancillary customized information, and faculty can create their own course work that will more accurately reflect the individual strengths and nuances of their courses.

According to eCampus News, faculty and administrator respondents called for a single OER clearinghouse to make discovery of open educational resources faster and easier, which is also a compelling argument for the effective aggregation offered by Barnes & Noble College’s OER solution. Drawing on over eight million individual content items with full copyright privileges, the partnership with XanEdu also helps faculty overcome any uncertainties with licensing and fees. “Barnes & Noble College bookstores have always been considered a trusted source on campus, and increasingly are emerging as resource centers where faculty can discover and access new content,” says Brett Costello, XanEdu’s Chief Operating Officer. “With this partnership, we’re only going to be providing them with more ways to really help support their cost and learning objectives.”



Barnes & Noble College’s Guerrieri has been presenting her customers with the potential of OER through stronger faculty communications and consistent outreach to faculty and educators, and is beginning to see more substantial and informed interest in OER adoption. According to a recent Barnes & Noble College survey of faculty, 86 percent of respondents said they thought their use of OER will either stay the same or will increase in the future.

OER, it is argued, can not only help support access to a higher quality education, but can also be a platform to the idea of limitless access and shared knowledge. And, at its fullest potential, the opportunities for open content and sharing are limitless.

Article reposted from Barnes & Noble College NEXT.

Click here to read original article.

NEXT: New Year, New Challenges for Higher Ed

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Mon,02/01/2016-14:22

Traditionally, the start of the new year is a time to evaluate the opportunities and challenges that may lie ahead. In the world of higher education, 2016 seems likely to represent plenty of both as the industry grapples with the increasing influence of technology on learning, ever-present financial challenges and even the prospect of a new generation of students with different skill sets and expectations than their predecessors. As a new academic semester begins, we take this opportunity to look back on some of the emerging trends of last year, and look ahead as we predict their likely impact on higher education over the next twelve months.



The exact time of death for the unassuming textbook is always something that is hotly debated among academicians and yet, every year textbooks continue to remain in remarkably healthy form. Successive surveys point to the overwhelming preferences of 18-35 year olds for print over digital, but that may not be the whole story. Michael Kozlowski, writing in last month’s GoodEReader, suggests that “the entire book-selling industry have all proclaimed that e-book sales have plateaued and print is making a comeback.” While the imminent demise of the textbook might be premature, it’s clear that educators and students alike are keeping their options open and that the hardcover book will increasingly be part of a wider set of learning resources supporting the academic mission.

Rising concerns over affordability and graduation rates will continue to prompt colleges and universities to explore solutions to address both. Through their partnership with XanEdu, Barnes & Noble College allows faculty to create custom course materials within FacultyEnlight, an online faculty adoption platform, so they can choose the right content — and control prices for their students. “Our origins were really as a technology company,” explains Brett Costello, XanEdu Inc.’s Sr. Vice President, Sales and Marketing, “and XanEdu was created as a way to provide faculty members with access to supplemental learning materials in a digital format.” The company has since grown in tandem with educators’ need to control costs while also providing more customized content to meet and improve learning objectives.

Its library of more than 8 million items includes journal and scholarly articles, book chapters, business cases, multimedia, original or self-authored material, OER, adaptive learning materials and even assessment tools. Digital materials can be delivered to a school’s LMS or directly to laptops, desktops, tablets and mobile devices. Course material formats will continue to evolve and faculty will be able to combine a variety of content as needed to best fit the requirements of their courses and the needs of their students.



Born after 1995, Generation Z is coming of age for college enrollment and is likely to represent one of the most significant generations to shape higher education thus far. “They’ve grown up in a fast-moving, ultra-connected age,” explained Lisa Malat, Barnes & Noble College’s Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer in the publication of the company’s Getting to Know Gen Z: Exploring a New Generation’s Expectations for Higher Education report. “They really are the ultimate do-it-yourselfers, and if this is the way they live, we shouldn’t expect them to learn any differently,” she added. It’s advice colleges and universities are heeding with changes in everything from enrollment strategies to the adoption of more collaborative learning platforms to the kinds of content created for their course offerings.



Listrak, a company that helps clients personalize the retail experience across all of their touch points, indicates that last month represented the most connected shopping season in history, with nearly a third of all internet sales occurring on mobile devices. But mobile devices aren’t only being used for shopping. “The phone is the tool students use most often,” says Tamara Vostok, Director of Consumer Marketing, speaking of Barnes & Noble College’s student app. “There is just so much potential, so much more opportunity to reach our students and provide them with better information on a variety of platforms,” she adds.

Increasingly, colleges are turning to app developers to provide more tools for their students, ranging from beacon technology to campus navigation aids to learning and specialized research tools, in a trend that is likely to proliferate this year.



Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good Through College Admissions, a report suggesting improvements to college admission policies and endorsed by top educators, recommends that colleges may want to consider gearing their enrollment strategies to students who demonstrate more collaborative skills, civic engagement and genuine passion over brilliant SAT and ACT scores. It’s a trend colleges are already adopting in an effort to bridge the skills gap and provide more work-ready graduates.

Within the next five years, Millennials will become 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, a group especially passionate about the importance and value of education, especially as it relates to finding a job and preparing them for a career. “Career prep is a number one driver for enrollment in colleges and universities, and alumni giving is m ...continue »