TC's Fiona Hollands in The Guardian: Students Can Do Well in... | Teachers College Columbia University

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TC's Fiona Hollands in The Guardian: Students Can Do Well in Virtual Classrooms

In an article in The Guardian, Fiona M. Hollands, a senior researcher at TC who has studied the effectiveness of Massively Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, notes that computers are used in three distinct ways in the classroom. In so-called "blended learning" models, they assist face-to-face teacher instruction. In "hybrid" models, they can be used to supplement teacher instruction, and in "virtual" classrooms, they replace educators entirely. Recent research shows that students can do as well in virtual classrooms as with regular, face-to-face instruction by a teacher, and that virtual instruction can save money, she says.
Hollands (PhD '03) is the associate director and senior researcher at the College's Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education who has studied Massively Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. She and Devayani Tirthali (Ed.D. ’13, Ed.M. ’12) published a study last May, “MOOCs: Expectations and Reality,” which found that, while MOOCs are extending institutional reach and access to education, they are mostly reaching people who are already well-educated and employed. However, to date, “most MOOC participants are already well-educated and employed.” Consequently, they write, “the evidence suggests that MOOCs currently are falling far short of ‘democratizing’ education and may, for now, be doing more to increase gaps in access to education than to diminish them.”

LINK TO STORY: Could computers ever replace teachers?

Published Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015


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