Online MLS programs have become more and more widespread, offering people who don’t live near an American Library Association (ALA) accredited university, who work full time, or who are otherwise unable to attend a traditional Master’s program the chance to get their library science degree through online coursework, Library Journal reports. The perception of these programs, according to a recent poll on the blog Hiring Librarians, hasn’t kept pace with their prevalence. The informal survey found that some librarians remain concerned about the quality of these programs, and question whether they provide students the skills to succeed in the field……Read More
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UC professors raise doubts about online degree plan
The University of California’s interest in offering an online degree is opening a new chapter in the debate over online education, TMCnet.com reports. Many professors question whether the state’s premier university system should tread so deeply into cyberspace, where other prestigious universities have failed—and where some less selective colleges have thrived. The professors are concerned that a virtual UC will waste limited resources, compromise the university’s academic reputation, and divert it from its primary mission of educating California’s top-performing students. The plan’s creator—Christopher Edley, dean of UC Berkeley’s law school—says the opposite is true. He contends UC can maintain its rigor online and that doing so will allow the university to reach more of those stellar students at a lower cost. “How do we provide access to UC quality when the state is not there for us and the student demand is growing? We need an alternative to the bricks-and-mortar model, and this may be it,” said Edley, who is kicking off the online initiative by raising $6 million from private donors to cover the cost of a pilot project. The money will be used to produce 25 to 40 online courses in subjects such as calculus, chemistry, and freshman composition that typically draw huge enrollments at the lower-division level. Students at any of UC’s 10 campuses will be able to take the online classes, which might be available by spring. For the pilot, they’ll pay the same tuition as they would taking classes in person. Edley envisions steadily expanding UC’s web presence, but his plan has drawn some resistance by faculty members. Even professors who support a greater use of technology say the plan has flaws. Some like the idea of expanding online offerings but don’t think UC should offer an online degree. Others think online curriculum should be developed and controlled by academic departments on each campus, not by UC’s statewide bureaucracy……Read More
Distance-ed students forming college clubs online
At a handful of institutions, students working toward degrees online are meeting outside of class via the web to form online clubs as well, USA Today reports. These extracurricular organizations offer online students what many feel they are missing: the social and professional opportunities that historically have been part of the college experience. “When you’re on campus, you have opportunities to engage your faculty and your peers,” says Debra Ann Mynar, 39, an online psychology student at Pennsylvania State University‘s World Campus. “When you do distance education, you don’t have those similar opportunities unless you make them.” Mynar, a full-time business administrator by day, is the president and co-founder of the World Campus’s psychology club, a completely online group that sprung up several years ago alongside the World Campus’s psychology program. The club, which has 124 members from far-flung states and several foreign countries, hosts online discussions and video lectures—mostly focusing on career advice—through the campus’s learning management system. And unlike many live talks held by traditional student clubs, the events are archived online for posterity……Read More