Even small universities can reach large student audiences through online learning programs. Take, for example, the University of Illinois, which has an exemplary online learning program and wants to reach 10,000 new online students by next year, according to a report this week by NPR.
Nowadays, many colleges require students to take at least one course online, so itâ€™s little wonder that U. of Illinois, which has a relatively small on-campus student population, is looking for a new way to break ahead with this new learning.
The students, many of whom are plugged in 24/7 anyway, arenâ€™t the hiccup to adoption. Itâ€™s the teachers. Learning the basics of podcasts, blogs and Second Life is a crash course for many of the educators, who are the same ones who teach in-person classes. The U of I puts teachers through a tech-ed bootcamp before turning them loose on the online sector of their students.
This makes me think the market for e-learning-only educators will continue to shrink as everyone becomes an expert in e-learning.
To that end, here are some handy tools that I share with the educators I work with so they can learn more about teaching online:
Illinois Online Network
Simple Course Planning Worksheet
Weblogs, part II: A Swiss Army website?
Second Life Education Wiki
Education Podcast Network