Archive for July 17, 2012

Georgia Tech will partner with Coursera

This got emailed to all Georgia Tech faculty late last night.  Figure is from the Inside HigherEd piece on this expansion — which includes University of Virginia.

Dear Colleagues:
Today Georgia Tech will announce a partnership with Coursera, the Stanford University online education spinout that has been much in the news lately.  We will join a small group of highly respected partner universities, including Stanford, Michigan, Princeton, and Caltech in a bold experiment in the future of higher education. With all the talk about the nature and desirability of change in higher education, I think it is significant that some of the world’s best universities have decided to partner in this way.  It also is significant that Georgia Tech is a founding member of this group.
In making this announcement, we are not abandoning our central mission of residential undergraduate instruction. In fact, we view this as an opportunity to remain true to our pledge to define the technological research university of the 21st century by exploring new modes of instruction and operation.  What we learn from the Coursera and other similar experiments will above all benefit our own students and strengthen our existing programs.
Over the past months, I have gathered input from faculty, students, and alumni who have new ideas about online courses and other educational technology. Many members of our community express a desire to “try out” new techniques, to reach new Georgia Tech students and stakeholders, and to provide more flexible approaches to classroom instruction and course design.  Coursera is just the first step in a strategy that will give us the freedom to investigate these new approaches and rapidly adopt the ones that have a positive impact on the Institute.
Details about our arrangement with Coursera will be made public over the next few days.  If you have an interest in online instruction or if you have ideas for courses that you think might have particular value, I invite you to express that interest to me or to Professor Rich DeMillo in his role as chair of my Council for Educational Technology. Your support and participation in this experiment will be critical to its success.
Rafael L. Bras,
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

July 17, 2012 at 2:56 am 5 comments

Yum, Tasty Seed Corn: Where will we find the teachers?

The Snowbird Report and the NSF-ED report both make the point that the working environment may not be able to sustain quality: Lab and computing facilities are not being upgraded or expanded to meet the demand; salaries and graduate student stipends are unattractive; faculties have not grown; heavy time commitments to large classes and counseling destroy the intellectual atmosphere and deprive graduate students of proper supervision…On the other hand, there is in Congress sentiment that ‘all the universities must do is raise faculty salaries,’ and the problem will go away.”

No, that’s not from a follow-up to the below article. It’s a quote from Peter Denning’s 1981 Letter to the ACM, “Eating our Seed Corn.” Eric Roberts warned last year that we were going to end up in the same place as we were in the early 80’s (when Peter wrote the above words) and in the early 2000’s (during the dot-com boom). According to US News and World Report, we’re getting there — the flow of students, in a time of cutbacks at Universities, is going to hinder our ability to meet demand, and the relentless draw of industry with its higher salaries is going to make it harder to find faculty.

At some institutions, the computer science program faces a shortage of qualified computer science faculty to meet student demand, notes Gwen Walton, a professor of computer science at Florida Southern College. Walton, who spent more than 20 years working in the industry, says schools cannot compete with the salaries many professionals command in the job market.

“Computer science is one of the few fields where you can start with a very high-paying salary with only a [bachelor’s degree],” Walton says. “You don’t go into [teaching computer science] for the pay.”

via Computer Science Continues Growth on College Campuses – US News and World Report.

July 17, 2012 at 2:20 am 4 comments


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