With the wave of online learners flooding into the rapidly growing e-learning market, also comes a wave of software trying desperately to keep up. The major universities and of course, Khan, are surprisingly ahead of the game and didn’t wait to become irrelevant as did so many companies (think Sears).
US News and World Report did an article examining the top online learning universities in the country (click here to read). Instead of read their article, you can view our summary below.
Top Online Universities:
- Central Michigan University (for undergraduate)
- SUNI College of Technology (undergraduate)
- Indiana University (MBA programs)
- Arizona State (MBA programs)
- Indiana University (graduate teaching)
- University of Illinois (graduate teaching)
- Columbia University (graduate in engineering)
- University of California (graduate in engineering)
These universities are trailblazers in the fields of education and use fairly sophisticated software that uses standardized systems for education. SCORM and Tin Can standards. Several software systems exist to serve these customers and costs start at $15,000 and can go up to an unlimited amount depending on customization and maintenance requirements. Additional costs include staff training, software updates and course creation.
The investment, however, is well worth it for these institutions. It amounts to something resembling a fixed cost and little overhead beyond it. An unlimited number of students can fit into the virtual classroom and can even take exams through the course software. Automatic grading enables quizzes and tests to be marked instantly without paid staff.
Question pools ensure that not all students receive the same questions, making it more likely they will have learned the material to earn a passing grade. Time limitations further mimic the classroom setting and reduce the likelihood of cheating.
For the Little Guy
While large universities and other institutions have access to robust software, surprisingly impressive options are available for smaller companies and services just getting started. For roughly $100, small to medium sized companies can purchase WordPress compatible education software that provides a platform to deliver unlimited courses, broken down by modules and lessons.
Further, quizzes can be added that are timed and require a certain level of passing grade before proceeding to the next lesson or module. Though they lack some of the sophistication and flexibility, SCORM and TIN CAN are available with some of these systems.