WBEZ | online education http://www.wbez.org/tags/online-education Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Budget squeeze in Chicago schools pushes some classes online http://www.wbez.org/news/budget-squeeze-chicago-schools-pushes-some-classes-online-108158 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/dyett.jpg" title="Students denounce the shift to online classes at Dyett High School. Local School Council members say they were told their budget was not large enough to pay for teachers for courses in art, music, Spanish or physical education. (WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" /></div><p>Members of the Local School Council at Dyett High School say their principal has advised them he can&rsquo;t pay for enough teachers with the budget he was issued from Chicago Public Schools.<br /><br />That means many classes&mdash;including art, music, Spanish, social studies, and even gym&mdash; will be online.<br /><br />&ldquo;I signed up for a public school to be taught by a teacher, not by a computer,&rdquo; said senior Diamond McCullough, who joined others in denouncing the online offerings. &ldquo;For Spanish, I could barely get Spanish from a teacher right there. So it&rsquo;s gonna be harder trying to get Spanish from a computer,&rdquo; McCullough said.<br /><br />Local school council member Steven Guy says a new budgeting system the district is using might give principals more autonomy, but he said that matters little when the total bestowed on schools is inadequate.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like me, giving you a car with a quarter tank of gas, telling you it&rsquo;s your job to drive to St. Louis and back. And if you can&rsquo;t do it, then it&rsquo;s your fault,&rdquo; said Guy.<br /><br />CPS could not immediately confirm the changes at Dyett.<br /><br />Dyett&rsquo;s budget problems are compounded because the school is being phased out&mdash;essentially a long, slow school closing. This year, it will only have juniors and seniors. LSC members said they expected to lose four or five teachers due to the fact the school is shrinking. Instead, they are losing 13.<br /><br />Students, parents and community activists from the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization made their statements outside nearby Overton Elementary School, one of 50 schools the Chicago Board of Education voted to shutter in a historic school closings vote in May.<br /><br />A number of Overton parents said they still had not given up on the idea that the school should remain open. In the most recent round of state standardized tests, Overton, which is now shuttered and half empty, outscored the receiving school students are being sent to, Mollison.<br /><br />In a written opinion last spring,&nbsp; the judge who heard testimony on Overton&rsquo;s closing called attention to the fact that Mollison did not seem to perform much better than Overton.<br /><br />&ldquo;This is tantamount, using a food metaphor, to the promise of an omelet with a crisp waffle,&rdquo; wrote Carl McCormick. &ldquo;Then what is delivered are broken eggs, whose contents are oozing out and a burnt pancake.&rdquo;<br /><br />A number of Overton parents said they still did not know where their children would attend school on August 26.<br /><br />Many of the students gathered for the press conference had seen both their grammar school and their high school shuttered for poor performance.</p></p> Tue, 23 Jul 2013 17:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/budget-squeeze-chicago-schools-pushes-some-classes-online-108158 MOOCs? Distance learning? Technology's impact on higher education http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/moocs-distance-learning-technologys-impact-higher-education-104022 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_ap667092808394.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Peter Struck, Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania records a lecture (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)" /></div><p>This past summer I traveled to South Africa to lecture at a number of private and state universities. South Africa has 23 institutions of higher education, which offer a full range of majors and curricula. And while these schools offer their students a traditional classroom experience, each of these institutions also offers its students some distance learning options. Depending on college and the major requirements, a student is able to take all, a large portion or at least some of their core classes online.</p><p>The various methods of distance learning include the old fashioned &ldquo;snail mail&rdquo; correspondence school method: Students do a series of written assignments and mail them to an instructor, who corrects and grades them. There are also telecast lectures, interactive broadcasts that allow students to interrupt a lecture to ask a question or request more detailed information. Finally, there are computer-based classes that offer either one-to-one experiences or MOOCs &mdash;&nbsp;massive open online courses &mdash; that operate on a virtual classroom and chat room model.</p><p>South African schools have invested so heavily in distance-learning methods for both practical and pedagogic reasons. South Africa needs to educate its growing population in order to maintain its relatively new status as a democratic nation. Distance learning reaches more potential students at a much more affordable price.</p><p>In American education, cost is nearing a tipping point. Post 9/11, nearly all universities have dramatically increased their tuition and most state schools have experienced a significant diminishment of government support; some state schools have been forced to more than double tuition since 2001. Both parents and students are looking for ways to diminish the overall cost of a university education.</p><p>One plan widely discussed in the halls of academia is to reduce the on campus university experience from four to three years without radically changing the course load &mdash; students would be in residence for three years and be charged three years of tuition. While in residence, besides taking face-to-face classes, they would also fit in one year of virtual classes at their convenience at no extra charge. These virtual classes would usually be required courses not in a student&rsquo;s major.&nbsp;The primary argument for this plan is that it gets students through school at a faster pace and at a lesser cost without sacrificing their overall learning experience.&nbsp;</p><p>I&rsquo;m not sure this curriculum&nbsp;telescoping will really work. But, like South Africa, we&rsquo;ve got to learn how to be more creative and experimental. Just as South Africa needs to educate its youth to service and maintain its democratic form of government, <em>so do we!</em></p><p><em>Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics and Chairman of the Management Department in the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.</em></p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/moocs-distance-learning-technologys-impact-higher-education-104022