Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Online Learning Component of the Obama's Community College Proposal

One key component of the Obama proposal for community colleges is online education.

Here's the paragraph from the proposal:

· New Community College Bill Includes Significant Online Education Component: Create a New Online Skills Laboratory: Online educational software has the potential to help students learn more in less time than they would with traditional classroom instruction alone. Interactive software can tailor instruction to individual students like human tutors do, while simulations and multimedia software offer experiential learning. Online instruction can also be a powerful tool for extending learning opportunities to rural areas or working adults who need to fit their coursework around families and jobs. New open online courses will create new routes for students to gain knowledge, skills and credentials. They will be developed by teams of experts in content knowledge, pedagogy, and technology and made available for modification, adaptation and sharing. The Departments of Defense, Education, and Labor will work together to make the courses freely available through one or more community colleges and the Defense Department’s distributed learning network, explore ways to award academic credit based upon achievement rather than class hours, and rigorously evaluate the results.

If I read this correctly, the courses will come from a centralized source--meaning that each college won't develop its own courses but, rather, will access them from a central source.

And if my understanding of that is correct, that has the potential for a significant centralization of learning content which, of course, has other implications.

To see the entire White House proposal, visit

1 comment:

CelinaMac said...

Hi Saul,
I don't think there will ever be a centralization of education in the U.S. There will be standardization but never a single authority on education.

There is however an online tool called MySpeed enounce that is available right now to help students control the pace of their learning from video lectures. I just wanted to share this tool, in case your class is not using it yet.