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My Ideal [Online] Degree Programs Would...

As I prepare to assume the role of coordinator of an online (and traditional) degree program, I have been thinking about my ideal educational model. My ideal system would include online and traditional instruction, so many of the ideas I express below apply to traditional classroom education and online. Online systems might provide flexibility not possible for some traditional schools, which is why I am a believer in hybrid educational systems.

So, my ideal degree program would…

Allow students to switch between online and traditional instruction if they find online doesn't meet their learning styles or needs.

Allow students to take and re-take any online tests and lab practicums two or three times until a set deadline, encouraging mastery over merely passing a test. A mix of questions or problems would prevent "memory gains" from repeated questions. Three exams does seem a reasonable cap, though.

Allow students to move faster or slower than the traditional quarter and semester models. If a student is able to complete a course in half the time, let him or her advance. Technology should enable us to get beyond the "factory model" of twentieth century education.

Allow (and encourage) teachers to team teach more frequently, emphasizing each educator's special skills and knowledge when possible. Students would benefit from the audio and video lectures of noted specialists.

Encourage teachers to distribute podcasts, screencasts, and other multimedia materials that students can review repeatedly, at their own paces.

Encourage a greater mix of individual and group work, so too much of one or the other approach is not embraced. Pedagogically, too much group work can be problematic, but too much individual work also ignores future career realities. Technology should encourage a mix of approaches.

Encourage teachers to provide audio or video feedback to projects, in addition to traditional forms of grading and responding to papers.

Encourage students and teachers to experiment with the online space, instead of dictating what the space should be for every user. Some standards are needed, but customization is important for special needs accommodations and general comfort.

Encourage students to "meet" outside any schedule class sessions, virtually or physically. I believe meeting face-to-face is important, but virtual meetings are also useful. Too many online systems make online meetings difficult.

The ideas above are some of my desires for a degree program. Not all them will be possible in the short-term, but I hope to implement many of the ideas over my career.


  1. Online learning can provide new opportunities for higher education to individuals from all over the world. But online learning isn't for everyone, and anyone considering an online degree program should weigh the advantages and disadvantages before beginning a program.
    Online Degree Career


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