Video killed the radio star

Is this the future of higher education?  Or only a supplement that serves a select group of students? What do you think?  From the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Will Technology Kill the Academic Calendar?
Ford T. Smith is helping to bulldoze one of the most durable pillars of academic life: the semester.

An adjunct faculty member at Kentucky's Jefferson Community & Technical College, Mr. Smith teaches in an online program that lets students start class any day they want and finish at their own speed. One student, desperate to graduate, knocked off 113 quizzes and six writing assignments for a humanities course in 46 sleepless hours.

But there is a downside to this convenience, and it's deeper than bleary eyes. The open format of Jefferson's program, called Learn Anytime, means students don't move through classes in groups. None of Mr. Smith's 400 online students will have a discussion or do a group project with classmates.

It's a controversial approach to online education­—one that is gaining traction at some colleges. Supporters see the self-paced model as a means to serve more students, since no one is turned away because of a full section, missed deadline, or canceled class. Others criticize go-it-alone learning as a second-rate system that leaves students in greater danger of dropping out.


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