MBAIn 2017 my Website was migrated to the clouds and reduced in size.
Hence some links below are broken.
One thing to try if a “www” link is broken is to substitute “faculty” for “www”
For example a broken link
can be changed to corrected link
However in some cases files had to be removed to reduce the size of my Website
Contact me at if you really need to file that is missing


Bob Jensen's Threads on Cross-Border (Transnational) Training and Education
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Disclaimer:  Although I really try to separate the legitimate from the bogus
training and education programs, doing so for certain is impossible.
Always try to verify the legitimacy of any program linked in this document.
Never take the word "accreditation at face value since that term  often is misleading.

Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mill frauds are at

Before reading this, you should read about asynchronous learning at

Introductory Quotations

First Consider Learning On Your Own

College and University Online Rankings and Comparisons

The Future:  Badges of Competency-Based Learning Performance

Mega Universities Partnering with Private and Public Sectors for Employee Education and Traning

How to Sign Up for a Free MOOC Course (credits have added fees)

How to Lower the Costs of College Degrees (often at $0 tuition)

Employer-Subsidized and/or Inexpensive Online MOOC Degrees

Readings and Other Printed References of Possible Interest

2014 Report: 83 Percent of High Schools Offer Online Courses

MOOCs Are Free and Open to Everybody in the World

Cross-Border Training Alternatives (including languages training and learning to code)

Cross-Border Education Alternatives
Includes US News Rankings of Undergraduate Online and Various Online Graduate Programs

Online Cheating


Obama's Ideas on Affordable Education

Assessment ---

Future of Education Technologies ---

Test Drive Running a University ---

The Dark Side of Education Technology and Online Learning

Explosive Growth in Online Enrollments in the U.S.
(Including a Project that Enlists Women to Help Women Learn Online)

Concerns About High Attrition Rates in Online Courses

Updates on the Quality and Extent of Distance Education in the United States

Education Fraud and Gray Zone Warnings About Questionable Online Program 
(Including the 50% Rule Controversy)

An Innovative Online International Accounting Course on Six Campuses Around the World

An Internationalization Experiment With 800 Online Courses at East Carolina Univ.

Life Experience College Level Examination Program (CLEP) 

Update on Online K-12 Schools

College Credit by Telephone

Online and Other Non-Traditional Doctoral Degrees

Unaccredited Distance Education Index

Online Graduate Business (mostly MBA) Programs
First look for AACSB accreditation


Masters of Accounting and Taxation Online Degree Programs
First look for AACSB accreditation


Learning Portals and Vortals  (including the demise of Fathom)

Places to Learn from Krislyn

Babson College's experiments with "Tailor-Made Degrees"

Government and Military Online Training and Education 

International Journals, Resources, and Newsletters for Distance Education

International Teacher Training and Lesson Sharing

Reaching Across Boundaries:  The Bryant College-Belarus Connection

There are thousands of distance education courses in England

OpenCourseWare (OCW)


eLearning Africa ---

Portal to Asian Internet Resources --- 

UNESCO Working Paper Series on Mobile Learning 

U.S. Department of Education  ---

Department of Education: Office of Vocational and Adult Education ---

European Centre for Higher Education ---

The term "electroThenic portfolio," or "ePortfolio":   What does this mean?

Search for University Lectures Available as Podcasts
Bob Jensen's threads on podcasting, Apple's iPod U, RSS, RDF are at

Bob Jensen's threads on science and medicine tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's links to math helpers  ---

Bob Jensen's threads on asynchronous learning ---

Cross-Cultural Investigations: Technology and Development (Multicultural Online Education and Open Sharing) ---

Bob Jensen's threads to free textbooks and other learning materials ---

Free online tutorials in various disciplines ---

Bob Jensen's threads on accreditation controversies ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Online Education Effectiveness and Testing ---

Online Distance Education is Rapidly Gaining Acceptance in Traditional as Well as For-Profit Colleges ---

The Dark Side ---

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade ---

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials ---
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines ---
Edutainment and Learning Games ---
Open Sharing Courses ---
The Master List of Free Online College Courses ---

Social Networking for Education:  The Beautiful and the Ugly
(including Google's Wave and Orcut for Social Networking and some education uses of Twitter)
Updates will be at


No higher education program that substitutes “life experience” or “job experience” for academic credit in the real world is respected in academe. This does not mean that experience is not educational. It merely means that it is impossible or impractical to determine knowledge attainment unless more formalized processes of courses and examinations are administered for academic credit. Hence, a degree from any school that replaces some courses with "experience" is not worth much more than the paper it is printed on. Graduates from such a school should be evaluated on the basis of their life experiences. They should not be evaluated on the basis of that school's course credits. Paying for such credits is a waste of money in my viewpoint.

Bob Jensen's threads on phony diploma mills are at 

Phony Education and Training Search Sites

These phony education search programs sponsored by for-profit universities are getting a bit more sophisticated by salting a very few not-for-profit programs to make you think they are legitimate education and training search programs. But in reality they are still phony for-profit university search sites.

For example, I read in my old zip code 78212 into the search site 

Sure enough, up pops the University of Phoenix and other for-profit university alternatives. No mention is made of San Antonio's massive University of Texas Health Science Nursing Alternative and other non-for-profit nursing education alternatives in the area.

Boo/poo on this  site!


e-Education:  The Shocking Future

Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Table of Contents

Overview of The Future of Higher Education
Introductory Quotations
Long-Term Future of Education and Education Technologies
(including grid computing, Blogging, Podcasting, and video games
Motivations for Distance Education 
2004 Update on the Quality and Extent of Distance Education in the United States
Models for Distributed/Distance Education
Classroom and Building Design --- 
Comparative Advantages of Colleges and Universities
Corporations and Universities Sign Partnership Pacts
Corporations Sign Pacts With Professors Affiliated With Prestige Universities
Universities Partner With Each Other
Degree and Certificate Programs Online
Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World:
OKI, MIT, Rice, and Other Sharing Universities
Technology Aids for the Handicapped and Learning Challenged  
University of California's XLab  
A Crystal Ball Look Into the Future (including Concept Knowledge)
Babson College's experiments with "Tailor-Made Degrees" 
A Cloudy Crystal Ball
Distance Education Magazines and Journals 
The term "electroThenic portfolio," or "ePortfolio," is on everyone's lips. What does this mean?
Is your distance site operating within the law in terms of access by disabled students?
Schools must demonstrate progress toward compliance.


Introductory Quotations

From Hapless to Helped
"autodidacts disadvantaged by distance" (Don't you love love alliteration as a memory aid?)  In the quotations below, contrast and compare the impact of the interactive Internet and ebullient email on evolving education from 1858 versus 2001.  

The Year 1858

When the University of London instituted correspondence courses in 1858, the first university to do so, its students (typically expatriates in what were then the colonies of Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and South Africa), discovered the programme by word of mouth and wrote the university to enrol.  the university then despatched, by post-and-boat, what today we would call the course outline, a set of previous examination papers and a list of places around the world where examinations were conducted.  It left any "learning" to the hapless student, who sat the examination whenever he or she felt ready:  a truly "flexible" schedule!  this was the first generation of distance education (Tabsall and Ryan, 1999):  "independent" learning for highly motivated and resourceful autodidacts disadvantaged by distance. (Page 71)
Yoni Ryan who wrote Chapter 5 of
The Changing Faces of Virtual Education --- 
Dr. Glen Farrell, Study Team Leader and Editor
The Commonwealth of Learning

Video:  Open Education for an Open World
45-minute Video from the Long-Time President of MIT ---

Bob Jensen's threads on open source video and course materials from prestigious universities ---

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology in general ---

THE COLLEGE OF 2020: STUDENTS  ($75) ---
Also see "Tomorrow's College" (free)

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies ---


Minnesota State Colleges Plan to Offer One-Fourth of Credits Online by 2015 ---

The Year 2008

The Washington Post Finds Distance Education More Profitable Than the Newspaper Business
The Washington Post Company continues to diversify not in journalism but in for-profit education. Last year, the company reported that it took in more revenue from its Kaplan businesses than the newspaper business. In filings last week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Post reported that it had purchased an 8.1 percent stake in Corinthian Colleges Inc.
Inside Higher Ed, February 18, 2008 ---

The Year 2001

The combination of asynchronous and synchronous materials in the WebCT environment worked well for my students. I felt closer to my students than I did in a live class. When I loaded AIM and saw my students online, I felt connected to them. Each student had an online persona that blossomed over the semester. The use of emotions in AIM helped us create bantering communication, which contributed to a less stressful learning environment. 

At then end of the six-week course, I was tired, but I was equally tired at the end of the live six-week course last summer. I don’t think the online environment made my life easier, but it made it more fun. The students appreciated the flexibility, and they liked not having to drive to downtown Hartford for classes. Although many of my students would have preferred a live class, they performed well in this online class. I did not attempt to statistically compare their performance with my past live classes, but the exam distributions appear similar to past classes. I was happy with the overall class performance. 

One student concluded, “Just reading the material without having anyone explain it to you makes it more difficult to understand at first (at least for me). I waffled between wanting online and in person teaching … . Ultimately I chose online because this way we can do it at our own pace and we always have the ability to go back to where we might not have understood and do it over.” 

Thus, flexibility appears to outweigh what to the student appears to be an easier way to learn.
From "Genesis of an Online Course" by Amy Dunbar Amy Dunbar, August 1, 2001 

A free audio download of a presentation by Amy Dunbar is available at 

Online you get to know your students' minds, not just their faces.
Harasim, L., Hiltz, S.R., Teles, L., and Turoff, M. (1995). Learning Networks: A Field Guide to Teaching and Learning Online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 
As quoted at 

LARSON: You can't get further from MIT than Singapore. Singapore from here is this way [points straight down]. We use Internet2 for connectivity. There's no statistical difference in performance between distance learners and classroom learners. And when there is a difference, it favors the distance learners
"Lessons e-Learned Q&A with Richard Larson from MIT," Technology Review, July 31, 2001 ---

For those of you who think distance education is going downhill, think again.  The number of students switching from traditional brick-and- mortar classrooms to full-time virtual schools in Colorado has soared over the past five years…

"Online Ed Puts Schools in a Bind:  Districts Lose Students, Funding," by Karen Rouse, Denver Post, December 2, 2004 ---,1413,36%257E53%257E2522702,00.html 

The number of students switching from traditional brick-and- mortar classrooms to full-time virtual schools in Colorado has soared over the past five years.

During the 2000-01 school year, the state spent $1.08 million to educate 166 full-time cyberschool students, according to the Colorado Department of Education. This year, the state projects spending $23.9 million to educate 4,237 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, state figures show.

And those figures - which do not include students who are taking one or two online courses to supplement their classroom education - are making officials in the state's smallest districts jittery.

Students who leave physical public schools for online schools take their share of state funding with them.

"If I lose two kids, that's $20,000 walking out the door," said Dave Grosche, superintendent of the Edison 54JT School District.

Continued in the article

What's Online Learning Really Like in a Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting Class?

The Chronicle's Goldie Blumenstyk has covered distance education for more than a decade, and during that time she's written stories about the economics of for-profit education, the ways that online institutions market themselves, and the demise of the 50-percent rule. About the only thing she hadn't done, it seemed, was to take a course from an online university. But this spring she finally took the plunge, and now she has completed a class in government and nonprofit accounting through the University of Phoenix. She shares tales from the cy ber-classroom -- and her final grade -- in a podcast with Paul Fain, a Chronicle reporter.
Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2008 (Audio) ---

Jensen Added Comment
It wasn't mentioned, but I think Goldie took the ACC 460 course --- Click Here

ACC 460 Government and Non-Profit Accounting

Course Description

This course covers fund accounting, budget and control issues, revenue and expense recognition, and issues of reporting for both government and non-profit entities.

Topics and Objectives

Environment of Government/Non-Profit Accounting

Fund Accounting Part I

Fund Accounting Part II

Overview of Not-for-Profit Accounting

Current Issues in Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting

Bob Jensen's threads on asynchronous learning ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free online video courses and course materials from leading universities ---

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side ---

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---

So much learning now takes place online, including faculty office hours, study groups, and lectures.
What extra value are you going to need to offer to bring the students of the future to your college?
Read the new report, "The College of 2020: Students," from Chronicle Research Services.

"THE COLLEGE OF 2020: STUDENTS," The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 2009 ---

This is the first Chronicle Research Services report in a three-part series on what higher education will look like in the year 2020. It is based on reviews of research and data on trends in higher education, interviews with experts who are shaping the future of colleges, and the results of a poll of members of a Chronicle Research Services panel of admissions officials.

To buy the full, data-rich 50-page report, see the links at the end of this Executive Summary. Later reports in this series will look at college technology and facilities in 2020, and the faculty of the future.


"The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age," by  Jane Park, Creative Commons, June 26th, 2009 ---

HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) announced a new report called, The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age,” now available at MIT Press. The report is in response to our changing times, and addresses what traditional educational institutions must know to keep up. From the announcement,

“Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg in an abridged version of their book-in-progress, The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, argue that traditional institutions must adapt or risk a growing mismatch between how they teach and how this new generation learns. Forms and models of learning have evolved quickly and in fundamentally new directions. Yet how we teach, where we teach, who teaches, and who administers and serves have changed only around the edges. This report was made possible by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in connection with its grant making initiative on Digital Media and Learning.”

A central finding was that “Universities must recognize this new way of learning and adapt or risk becoming obsolete. The university model of teaching and learning relies on a hierarchy of expertise, disciplinary divides, restricted admission to those considered worthy, and a focused, solitary area of expertise. However, with participatory learning and digital media, these conventional modes of authority break down.”

Not coincidentally, one of the ten principles for redesigning learning institutions was open source education: “Traditional learning environments convey knowledge via overwhelmingly copyright-protected publications. Networked learning, contrastingly, is an “open source” culture that seeks to share openly and freely in both creating and distributing knowledge and products.”

The report is available in PDF via CC BY-NC-ND.

Also see

Our Compassless Colleges ---


The Bright Future of Grand Canyon University online
The Apollo Group is the king of for-profit higher education, parent of the University of Phoenix. By comparison, Grand Canyon University, another for-profit college in Phoenix, is David to Apollo’s Goliath. But that’s obviously not quite how Brian Mueller sees it. Mueller, the president of the Apollo Group and the driving force behind the University of Phoenix’s highly successful online division, is betting that Grand Canyon’s future is brighter — or perhaps more profitable — than Apollo’s. The two companies announced this morning that Mueller is giving up his position at Apollo to help lead Grand Canyon into its recently announced initial public offering, which was initially valued at $230 million. Compared to Apollo, which educates hundreds of thousands of students and is 35 years old, Grand Canyon is comparatively a toddler. Since 2004, when it was purchased by a team of investors, it has been transformed from a struggling nonprofit Christian college with fewer than 1,000 into a thriving institution that has about 20,000 students, most of them online. A full report on these striking developments will be available on our Web site Thursday morning.
Inside Higher Ed, June 25, 2008 ---

Fast Growth of Online Programs Relative to "Blended Programs"
Despite the growth of “blended” education — in which instructors mix in-person and online experiences for students — online education appears to be outpacing it in some ways, according to
a new study by Eduventures, the Sloan Consortium and Babson College. The report found a faster rate of growth in the percentage of classes offered online than for blended courses. The report found that while 55 percent of colleges offer at least one blended course, 64 percent offer at least one online course.

Inside Higher Ed, March 13, 2007 ---

Explosive Growth in Online Enrollments in the United States

Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States
The Sloan Consortium and the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, 2012

Some key report findings include:

Full Report Now Available.
(PDF and several eBook formats)

"Distance Ed Continues Rapid Growth at Community Colleges," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2008 ---

Community colleges reported an 18 percent increase in distance education enrollments in a 2007 survey released this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges, in Philadelphia.

The survey on community colleges and distance education is an annual project of the Instructional Technology Council, an affiliate of the AACC. The survey is based on the responses of 154 community colleges, selected to provide a representational sample of all community colleges. Last year’s survey found community colleges reporting an increase in distance education enrollments of 15 percent.

This year’s survey suggests that distance education has probably not peaked at community colleges. First there is evidence that the colleges aren’t just offering a few courses online, but entire programs. Sixty-four percent of institutions reported offering at least one online degree — defined as one where at least 70 percent of the courses may be completed online. Second, colleges reported that they aren’t yet meeting demand. Seventy percent indicated that student demand exceeds their online offerings.

The top challenge reported by colleges in terms of dealing with students in distance education was that they do not fill out course evaluations. In previous surveys, this has not been higher than the fifth greatest challenge. This year’s survey saw a five percentage point increase — to 45 percent — in the share of colleges reporting that they charge an extra fee for distance education courses.

Training professors has been a top issue for institutions offering distance education. Of those in the survey of community colleges, 71 percent required participation (up from 67 percent a year ago and 57 percent the year before). Of those requiring training, 60 percent require more than eight hours.

Several of the written responses some colleges submitted suggested frustration with professors. One such comment (included anonymously in the report) said: “Vocal conservative faculty members with little computer experience can stymie efforts to change when expressing a conviction that student learning outcomes can only be achieved in a face-to-face classroom — even though they have no idea what can be accomplished in a well-designed distance education course.” Another response said that: “Our biggest challenge is getting faculty to participate in our training sessions. We understand their time is limited, but we need to be able to show them the new tools available....”

In last year’s survey, 84 percent of institutions said that they were customers of either Blackboard or WebCT (now a part of Blackboard), but 31 percent reported that they were considering a shift in course management platforms. This year’s survey suggests that some of them did so. The percentage of colleges reporting that they use Blackboard or WebCT fell to 77 percent. Moodle showed the largest gains in the market — increasing from 4 to 10 percent of the market — while Angel and Desire2Learn also showed gains.

The survey also provides an update on the status of many technology services for students, showing steady increases in the percentage of community colleges with various technologies and programs.

Status of Services for Online Students at Community Colleges

Service Currently Offer Offered a Year Ago
Campus testing center for distance students 73% 69%
Distance ed specific faculty training 96% 92%
Online admissions 84% 77%
Online counseling / advising 51% 43%
Online library services 96% 96%
Online plagiarism evaluation 54% 48%
Online registration 89% 87%
Online student orientation for distance classes 75% 66%
Online textbook sales 72% 66%

Rate of Growth in Online Enrollments ---

The New University of Illinois Online Global Campus

Online-education venture at the U. of Illinois tries to distinguish itself from other distance-learning programs

"The Global Campus Meets a World of Competition," by Dan Turner, The Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, April 3, 2009 ---

The University of Illinois Global Campus, a multimillion-dollar distance-learning project, is up and running. For its March-April 2009 term, it has enrolled 366 students.

Getting to this point, though, has looked a little like the dot-com start-up bubble of the late 1990s. Hundreds of Internet-related companies were launched with overly ambitious goals, only to later face cutbacks and other struggles to stay alive. Most crashed anyway. Some observers now say the Global Campus must try to avoid the same fate of churning through a large initial investment while attracting too few customers.

The project, planned about four years ago, was designed to complement existing online programs offered by individual Illinois-system campuses at Urbana-Champaign, Springfield, and Chicago. Those programs primarily serve current students as an addition to their on-campus course work. The Global Campus, in contrast, seeks to reach the adult learner off campus, who is often seeking a more focused, career-related certification or degree, such as completing a B.S. in nursing.

Online education has proved popular with institutions, students, and employers across the United States, with opportunities and enrollment growing. According to the Sloan Consortium, a nonprofit organization focused on online learning, the fall 2007 term saw 3.9 million students enroll in at least one online course, many at for-profit institutions like DeVry University and the University of Phoenix.

That growing popularity, says David J. Gray, chief executive of UMassOnline, the online-learning arm of the University of Massachusetts system, is part of the Global Campus's problem. The Illinois program, he says, is "fighting uphill in a market that's a lot more uphill."

The slope didn't seem as steep in the fall of 2005, when Chester S. Gardner, then the university's vice president for academic affairs, led a committee to investigate ideas for the future of online education at Illinois. That resulted in a proposal and business plan presented to the Board of Trustees the next year. The system's "existing online programs were not structured for adult learners," says Mr. Gardner, who is now leading the Global Campus.

The program was formally established in March 2007. The university initially financed it with $1.5-million of general revenue. The program started teaching its first 12 students in 2008.

Now, Mr. Gardner says, the Global Campus has a budget of approximately $9.4-million for the 2008-9 fiscal year. Approximately $1-million of that comes from the state, he says, and the remaining money comes from various grants, tuition, and loans from the Board of Trustees.

The trustees' investment has produced heavy involvement, Mr. Gardner says. "They're acting like venture capitalists," he notes, adding that "they're certainly doing their job of holding my feet to the fire."

This year the 366 Global Campus students are enrolled in five different degree and four different certificate programs; Mr. Gardner expects the number of students to rise to around 500 by May.

Those numbers put the program on a much slower track than earlier, sunnier estimates of 9,000 students enrolled by 2012. Mr. Gardner says the 9,000 figure came from his 2007 budget request to the trustees and was not precise. "We had no direct experience upon which to base our projections," he says.

Now, Mr. Gardner says, he has more realistic figures. Once 1,650 students are enrolled, the monthly income from tuition will equal monthly expenses, on average. His current projections show the Global Campus reaching that point of stability by the 2011 fiscal year.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on cross border distance education and training alternatives ---

Distance Education is Rapidly Gaining Acceptance in the 21st Century ---

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology and distance education ---

Online Learning Tips & Online College Reviews  ---


An important factor to consider is accreditation. Traditional colleges and universities have long been evaluated by educational accreditors who ensure that their programs meet certain levels of quality. Regional and national organizations now accredit online programs too. In the United States, online colleges that are fully accredited have been recognized by one of six regional accreditation boards that also evaluate traditional campuses. These include:

In addition, the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognize the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) as a reputable accreditor for education programs that offer online degrees. Once an online program becomes accredited, it’s more likely that a traditional school will accept its transfer credits and that employers will recognize its value.



How should someone select an online school? Just as students have different priorities when choosing physical campuses, they will have different criteria for choosing an online institution. For example:

  • Prestige. Some students need a degree from a prestigious university in order to advance in their particular field. Others are not concerned with elite reputations; as long as their program is accredited, it will move them forward.
  • Expense. Some students wish to find schools that offer the most financial aid or have low tuition, but others - such as people with education benefits from the military - needn’t take cost into account.
  • Pace. Some people want to earn their online degree as quickly as possible. They seek accelerated degree programs or those that will accept their previously-earned academic credits or grant credit for life experiences (e.g., military training). Other people prefer to learn at a slower pace.

Clearly, the variation among individual’s means that there will be variation among any rankings that people would assign to online institutions. At the same time, it is helpful to consider as a starting point another’s list of top online schools. The twenty online schools presented below are all accredited by one of the six aforementioned accrediting bodies. Factors such as tuition, reputation, academic awards, and range of degree programs have also been taken into account.



1. Western Governors University has an excellent reputation; in 2008 it received the United States Distance Learning Association’s 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning. The school was founded by the governors of nineteen western states and it’s accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Competency-Based Learning (where teachers don't selectively assign grades) ---

Western Governors University (with an entire history of competency-based learning) ----
Especially note the Business Administration (including Accounting) degree programs

From a Chronicle of Higher Education Newsletter on November 3, 2016

Over the past 20 years, Western Governors University has grown into a formidable competency-based online education provider. It’s on just its second president, Scott D. Pulsipher, a former Silicon Valley executive, who stopped by our offices yesterday.

WGU has graduated more than 70,000 students, from all 50 states. But a key part of the institution’s growth strategy is local, using its affiliations with participating states (not that all the partnerships start smoothly, mind you). There are six of them, and more growth is on the way; Mr. Pulsipher says WGU is in serious discussions to expand into as many as five more states — he declines to name them — at a pace of one or two per year.

The university's main focus remains students, he says. One example is an effort to minimize student loans. Through better advising, students are borrowing, on average, about 20 percent less than they did three years ago, amounting to savings of about $3,200. “Humans make better decisions,” Mr. Pulsipher says, “when they have more information.” —Dan Berrett

2016 Bibliography on Competency-Based Education and Assessment ---

Bob Jensen's threads on competency-based learning ---


This school is ideal for quick learners who want an accelerated program. With competency-based learning, students are able to progress as quickly as they can demonstrate having mastered the required knowledge.

A variety of online undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered. Some examples include baccalaureates and MBAs in business, 26 programs related to teaching, and several nursing programs.

2. The University of Phoenix is one of the best-publicized online educators. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. In addition to being experienced with web-based instruction, the University of Phoenix has physical campuses across the United States. As of 2008 it was the nation’s largest private university and had an enrollment of nearly 350,000 students. The university offers more than 100 degree programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

3. Florida Tech University Online is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It has been ranked as a top national university by U.S. News & World Report, the Fiske Guide to Colleges, and Barron’s Best Buys in College Education. A special feature of instruction is the MP3 downloads that allow students to take lectures away from the computer.

Degrees are offered in business, liberal arts, criminal justice, and healthcare. Special discounts are available to members of the military and their spouses.

4. Capella University awards bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The majority of students receive financial aid that is unrelated to their income, and many companies have such confidence in Capella University that they pay for their employees’ tuition.

Degrees are awarded in: business; computers and information technology; education and teaching; health and medicine; the social sciences; and criminal justice. Capella University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

5. Walden University is accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. In a 1999 review of fully online schools, the business magazine Fast Company awarded its only A grade to Walden University. US News and World Report has described Walden as well-regarded.

Walden offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees ranging from nursing to information technology and business, including the MBA.

6. California Coast University is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. California Coast offers a unique self-paced program; courses are not structured by semesters or other traditional timeframes, so students are able to begin at any time of year. Degrees are awarded in business, education and teaching, health and nursing, the social sciences, and criminal justice.

7. South University has been educating students for more than a century. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offers online degrees in business, nursing, healthcare, criminal justice, accounting, and information technology. With a flexible scheduling program, students may take just one course at a time or several concurrently for accelerated learning.

8. Drexel University was established as a traditional campus in 1891. This Philadelphia-based institution was named among the “Best National Universities” by U.S. News & World Report. Drexel is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Drexel University has offered online education since 1996. Degrees granted include the MBA, the Master of Science in Library & Information Science, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and many others.

9. Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. It offers more than 50 programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates. SNHU has been named “Best of Business” by the New Hampshire Business Review and in 2008 its business program was deemed the best online program in its class.

10. Vanderbilt University is a well-respected institution with a physical campus founded in 1873. It is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

As of 2008, Vanderbilt’s only fully online program is the master’s degree in nursing administration. This single program is worth mentioning because America’s Best Graduate Schools ranks Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing among the top nursing programs offering master’s degrees.

11. New England College was constructed in 1946 for post-war education and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. It offers online master’s degrees in accounting, criminal justice leadership, nonprofit leadership, and many other subjects.

12. Nova Southeastern University is the largest independent university in Florida. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and has appeared on the Princeton Review’s list of the best distance learning graduate schools. Nova Southeastern offers online degrees in education and teaching.

13. DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management awards a great number of business degrees in many specialty areas such as accounting, human resource management, and financial analysis. Students may choose to take all of their courses online or combine online learning with campus-based instruction.

14. Baker University features relatively low tuition and offers a wide variety of degrees at every level in business, computers and IT, health and medicine, and nursing. Baker is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Online learning takes place using Blackboard, a system that creates an online classroom setting in which instructors and students can interact.

15. Marist College has a physical campus in Poughkeepsie, NY and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. It offers online degrees in communications, business, public administration, information systems, and technology management.

16. Upper Iowa University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It offers degrees through campus-based learning in several states, and its online programs include business, computers and information technology, health, nursing, and the social sciences.

17. Ashford University, founded in 1918, offers accelerated programs so that degrees can be earned in as little as one year. Courses are 5-6 weeks long and are taken one at a time. Examples of degrees include the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Organizational Management.

18. Kaplan University was founded in 1937 and is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It offers campus-based learning and also grants online master’s, bachelor’s, associate’s, and professional law degrees, as well as online certificate programs. Subject areas include business, criminal justice, IT, and paralegal studies.

19. Northwestern University has been among the top schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Its School of Continuing Studies offers an online Master of Science in Medical Informatics online. Students may also take distance learning courses in a variety of other subjects.

20. Liberty University is the world’s largest evangelical Baptist university. In 2008 the Online Education Database ranked Liberty third of all online U.S. universities. More than 35 degree programs are offered, including the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Jensen Comment
Although the above information is helpful, it should be emphasized that some of the very best and largest online programs are really state-supported universities not in the above ranking, including such universities as the University of Wisconsin, the University of Maryland, the University of Illinois (which has a new global online degree program), and virtually every other state university in the United States. In most instances the large universities have specialty degree programs not available in the above universities and sometimes many more courses to choose from in a give specialty.

And there are some outstanding online community college programs not mentioned above.

Western Governors University ---

"In Boost to Competency Model, Western Governors U. Gets Top Marks in Teacher Ed," by Dan Barrett, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 17, 2014 --- 

Competency-Based Learning (where teachers don't selectively assign grades) ---

Western Governors University (with an entire history of competency-based learning) ----
Especially note the Business Administration (including Accounting) degree programs

From a Chronicle of Higher Education Newsletter on November 3, 2016

Over the past 20 years, Western Governors University has grown into a formidable competency-based online education provider. It’s on just its second president, Scott D. Pulsipher, a former Silicon Valley executive, who stopped by our offices yesterday.

WGU has graduated more than 70,000 students, from all 50 states. But a key part of the institution’s growth strategy is local, using its affiliations with participating states (not that all the partnerships start smoothly, mind you). There are six of them, and more growth is on the way; Mr. Pulsipher says WGU is in serious discussions to expand into as many as five more states — he declines to name them — at a pace of one or two per year.

The university's main focus remains students, he says. One example is an effort to minimize student loans. Through better advising, students are borrowing, on average, about 20 percent less than they did three years ago, amounting to savings of about $3,200. “Humans make better decisions,” Mr. Pulsipher says, “when they have more information.” —Dan Berrett

2016 Bibliography on Competency-Based Education and Assessment ---

Bob Jensen's threads on competency-based learning ---


Bob Jensen's threads on competency-based college credit ---


Good Luck Jack (and Suzi):  You're Going to Need All the Luck You Can Get

"Jack Welch Moves His Online M.B.A. Program to Strayer U.," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 11, 2011 ---

Jack Welch’s online M.B.A. program began with a bang two years ago, heralded as an unprecedented venture that could shake up online education.

Now Mr. Welch is shaking up his own program.

The former CEO of General Electric said on Friday that his management institute would move to Strayer University from its current home at a struggling Ohio for-profit institution called Chancellor University. The Wall Street Journal reports that Strayer is paying about $7-million for the program, with Mr. Welch kicking in $2-million of his own.

In an interview with The Chronicle, Mr. Welch sounded like a baseball player who had been traded to a wealthier team with a better chance of making the playoffs.

“We needed a bigger game,” he said. “We’re going from 500 students with limited resources to 55,000 students with 82 campuses and much more reach.” Strayer’s advertising and technology budgets were part of the appeal, he added.

The Jack Welch Management Institute offers executive M.B.A.’s as well as certificates in subjects like “becoming a leader.” For students, part of the attraction is weekly Webcam sessions with Mr. Welch, who weighs in on current events like the situations in Greece and Italy.

Or baseball: One discussion focused on the umpire whose botched call spoiled a perfect game for the Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga. The umpire, Jim Joyce, admitted his error. ”We use that as a wonderful teaching tool about coming forward when you make a mistake,” Mr. Welch said.

Mr. Welch doesn’t call his deal with Chancellor a mistake, saying he is “pleased as hell” with a venture that has attracted 200 students in its first 20 months. He described those students as “high-ambition middle managers” in companies that include Microsoft, Merck, and ESPN. Seventy percent of them either pay full tuition or have the cost covered by their employers, he said.

Robert S. Silberman, chairman and CEO of Strayer Education, said Mr. Welch raised the idea of a purchase to him in a telephone call in April: “He was looking for a new academic home.”

In the course of evaluating the institute, Strayer also looked into acquiring all of Chancellor, which was once a nonprofit university and is now owned by private investors. But Mr. Silberman said his company determined that the only part of the university it wanted was Mr. Welch’s institute.

Strayer was attracted to the curriculum of the executive-M.B.A. program and the short leadership courses. Strayer now offers similar courses on a limited basis but is looking to offer more of them, said Mr. Silberman. Such courses, typically paid for by students’ employers, help Strayer University keep its proportion of revenues from federal student-aid programs well below the 90-percent maximum allowed.

The purchase will very likely be a plus for Strayer. Unlike some of its for-profit competitors, the university has not been tarnished by allegations of wrongdoing. And its recent declines in enrollment—it has just reported that new-student enrollment fell by 21 percent—have been smaller than those of many other providers.

But at a time when many students are becoming increasingly conscious of colleges’ academic reputations and averse to high-cost educational programs, some analysts have questioned whether Strayer’s brand is strong enough to outweigh the competitive challenges it faces from for-profit and nonprofit colleges alike. The Welch institute could add some luster.


"Jack Welch Launches Online MBA:  The legendary former GE CEO says he knows a thing or two about management, and for $20,000 you can, too," by Geoff Gloeckler, Business Week, June 22, 2009 ---

A corporate icon is diving into the MBA world, and he's bringing his well-documented management and leadership principles with him. Jack Welch, former CEO at General Electric (GE) (and Business Week columnist), has announced plans to start an MBA program based on the business principles he made famous teaching managers and executives in GE's Crotonville classroom.

The Jack Welch Management Institute (JWMI) will officially launch this week, with the first classes starting in the fall. The MBA will be offered almost entirely online. Compared to the $100,000-plus price tag for most brick-and-mortar MBA programs, the $600 per credit hour tuition means students can get an MBA for just over $20,000. "We think it will make the MBA more accessible to those who are hungry to play," Welch says. "And they can keep their job while doing it."

To make the Jack Welch Management Institute a reality, a group led by educational entrepreneur Michael Clifford purchased financially troubled Myers University in Cleveland in 2008, Welch says. Welch got involved with Clifford and his group of investors and made the agreement to launch the Welch Management Institute.

Popularized Six Sigma For Welch, the new educational endeavor is the latest chapter in a long and storied career. As GE's longtime chief, he developed a management philosophy based on relentless efficiency, productivity, and talent development. He popularized Six Sigma, wasn't shy about firing his worst-performing managers, and advocated exiting any business where GE wasn't the No. 1 or No. 2 player. Under Welch, GE became a factory for producing managerial talent, spawning CEOs that included James McNerney at Boeing (BA), Robert Nardelli at Chrysler, and Jeff Immelt, his successor at GE.

Welch's decision to jump into online education shows impeccable timing. Business schools in general are experiencing a rise in applications as mid-level managers look to expand their business acumen while waiting out the current job slump. The new program's flexible schedule—paired with the low tuition cost—could be doubly attractive to those looking to move up the corporate ladder as the market begins to rebound.

Ted Snyder, dean of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, agrees. "I think it's a good time for someone to launch a high-profile online degree," Snyder says. "If you make the investment in contentthat allows for a lot of interaction between faculty and students and also among students, you can get good quality at a much more reasonable tuition level."

Welch's Secret Weapon That being said, there are challenges that an online MBA program like Welch's will have a difficult time overcoming, even if the technology and faculty are there. "The integrity and quality of engagement between faculty and students is the most precious thing we have," Snyder says. "Assuming it's there, it dominates. These things are hard to replicate online."

But Welch does have one thing that differentiates his MBA from others: himself. "We'll have all of the things the other schools have, only we'll have what Jack Welch believes are things that work in business, in a real-time way," he says. "Every week I will have an online streaming video of business today. For example, if I was teaching this week, I would be putting up the health-care plan. I'd be putting up the financial restructuring plan, talking about it, laying out the literature, what others are saying, and I'd be talking about it. I'll be doing that every week."

Welch and his wife Suzy are also heavily involved in curriculum design, leaning heavily on the principles he used training managers at GE.

Continued in Article

March 6, 2010 reply from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

Jack Welch bought a bankrupt college and started his own MBA program:
Below is a link to a very, very unusual accounting curriculum

Richard J. Campbell

Jensen Comment

Thank you so much for this Jack Welch update Richard. I wrote previously about the startup MBA program of Jack and his wife Suzi, and I wrote about my concerns for how difficult it would be to succeed without accreditation. Startup corporate MBA programs have a very, very difficult time achieving AACSB accreditation. I really thought this startup MBA program might become General Electric's MBA Program and that a high proportion of the students would be GE employees.

It seemed a little less likely that Jack and Suzi would buy an entire university that came with accreditation. Firstly, I did not think Jack and Suzi were interested in running any programs other than MBA programs. Secondly, some bankrupt universities have regional accreditation, but it is rare for them to also have AACSB accreditation.

AACSB Accreditation via Partnering
One of the first for-profit venture to buy up a regionally accredited university was UNext Corporation when it bought up Cardean University ---
Steve Orpurt taught for UNext and made a CPE presentation in one of my technology workshops on August 11, 2001 ---
UNext originated in a for-profit venture to bring education programs into corporations in an alliance with several prestigious universities like Stanford, Columbia, and the London School of Economics ---
Also see
And see
I think UNext now operates as the Cardean Learning Group ---
It seems to now be a distance education service provider for partnering institutions, many of whom have AACSB accreditation.---
Hence this is an example of achieving AACSB accreditation via a partnering arrangement to deliver online courses, although Cardean also provides instructors and complete courses.

Two of the leading for-profit universities that went the other route by achieving their own regional accreditations rather than buying them includes the University of Phoenix and Capella Univerersity. I don't think either one of these has yet achieved AACSB accredition. They are not likely to achieve AACSB accredition given the strong bias of the AACSB against granting first-time accreditation to for-profit universities.Some prestigious corporations and consulting groups formed MBA programs that tried and failed for years to get AACSB accreditation.

I tried to find Chancellor University in the current AACSB listing of accredited programs ---
There is no accredited program on the list under Chancellor or Welch.
However, in addition to having regional accreditation, Chancellor University has added business accreditation from the
Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) ---
It is unlikely that Chancellor University will obtain AACSB accreditation which is more of a unionized Deans Club for reputable non-profit institutions worldwide.


More on the greatest swindles of the world
General Electric, the world's largest industrial company, has quietly become the biggest beneficiary of one of the government's key rescue programs for banks. At the same time, GE has avoided many of the restrictions facing other financial giants getting help from the government. The company did not initially qualify for the program, under which the government sought to unfreeze credit markets by guaranteeing debt sold by banking firms. But regulators soon loosened the eligibility requirements, in part because of behind-the-scenes appeals from GE. As a result, GE has joined major banks collectively saving billions of dollars by raising money for...

Jeff Gerth and Brady Dennis, "How a Loophole Benefits GE in Bank Rescue Industrial Giant Becomes Top Recipient in Debt-Guarantee Program," The Washington Post, June 29, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
GE thus becomes the biggest winner under both the TARP and the Cap-and-Trade give away legislation. It is a major producer of wind turbines and other machinery for generating electricity under alternative forms of energy. The government will pay GE billions for this equipment. GE Capital is also "Top Recipient in Debt-Guarantee Program." Sort of makes you wonder why GE's NBC network never criticizes liberal spending in Congress.
Jensen's threads on the bank rescue swindle are at z
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

How would you advise Jack and Suzi to modify the program for greater assurance as to success?

My advice would be to make this a GE Executive MBA Program. The business model would be to gear it to GE professionals, especially newly hired engineers that are strong on technical ability and weak on managerial skills, financial management, marketing, and accounting.

The key to success would be to have GE pay the tuition as a fringe benefit to the winning employees selected to get an MBA from Jack and Suzi. This may not be too difficult since there are shrines throughout the world in GE facilities where Jack Welch is worshipped as a God.

Some of the advantages of this business model are as follows:

There are successful business models of this nature already in existence, although in most instances the corporation or other organization selected an AACSB-accredited institution to devise a special curriculum for employees seeking degrees in that institution. A few examples are summarized below.

Bob Jensen's threads on available online training and education programs are at

Distance Education:  Stanford Center for Professional Development
Stanford University was probably the first prestigious university to offer an online masters degree in engineering in a video program called ADEPT. That has since been replaced by an expanded online program in professional development that offers certificates or full masters of science degrees in selected programs, especially engineering. The program is highly restrictive in that students must work for employers Must be members of Stanford's Corporate Education Graduate Program. For example, to earn a masters of science degree the requirements are as follows:

For details go to

Most other top universities in the USA now have selected online certificate and degree programs offered in their extension programs. Go to a university of interest and search for "extension." It's still rare to find an online doctoral program at a top university. For-profit universities offer more online doctoral programs, but these tend not to be accepted very well for employment in the Academy. In fact it may be better to not mention such doctoral degrees when seeking employment in the Academy.

"Stanford (Graduate School of Business) Bets Big on Virtual (online) Education," by Natalie Kitroeff and Akane Otani, Bloomberg Businessweek, November 6, 2014 --- 

Stanford’s Graduate School of Business took its relationship with online education to the next level on Wednesday, when it announced that a new program for company executives will be delivered entirely by way of the Internet.

“I don’t know of anything else like this,” says Audrey Witters, managing director of online executive education at Stanford GSB. “We’ve put together something for a very targeted audience, people who are trying to be corporate innovators, with courses where they all work together. That’s a lot different from taking a MOOC [massive open online course].”

Stanford said it will admit up to 100 people to the LEAD Certificate program, which will begin in May 2015 and deliver the “intimate and academically rigorous on-campus Stanford experience” to students from the comfort of their computer screens. In an effort to make students “really feel connected to each other, to Stanford, and to the faculty,” the eight-course program will encourage students to interact through message boards, online chats, Google Hangouts, and phone calls over the course of its yearlong duration, Witters says.

“We really want to create the high-engagement, community aspect that everyone who comes to Stanford’s campus feels,” she says.

The classes will be offered on a platform supplied by Novoed, a virtual education company started by former Stanford professor Amin Saberi and Stanford Ph.D. student Farnaz Ronaghi. The B-school has invested a significant chunk of its resources in launching the program: About 10 to 15 faculty members are slated to teach the courses. In addition to building a studio where it will film course videos, the school has hired a growing pool of educational technology experts and motion graphic designers to work on the courses, according to Witters.

“This is by far the most serious and most significant initiative by GSB in the online realm,” Saberi says.

People go to business school for more than just lectures, Saberi says, and online programs should be as good at teaching the numbers of business as the art of it. “What we are planning to do is to create a very similar environment online where they can acquire softer skills and build a network of peers.”

The program’s $16,000 price tag dwarfs the online offerings of Stanford’s competitors, including Harvard Business Schools $1,500 nine-week online program and the Wharton School’s entirely free first-year MBA classes, which it put on the virtual platform Coursera last fall.

The program may seem less pricey, though, to the company executives it’s intended for. Business schools have traditionally sold certificates to working professionals for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars. Stanford’s own six-week, on-campus program costs executives $62,500.

To Novoed, which also provides technology to Wharton, the Haas School of Business, and the Darden School of Business, the Internet is an obvious place for business schools to expand their lucrative executive education programs.

Saberi says companies are interested in elite training programs that don’t require employees to leave their desks. “We expect that programs like this are going to grow.”

Bob Jensen's threads on fee-based education and training alternatives ---


"New Project Enlists Women to Help Women Learn Online," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 29, 2009 ---

Gail Weatherly has gotten phone calls from women near tears over their situations.

They’re taking care of kids. They can’t afford child care. They can’t make it to regular classes. And they don’t know about online learning, said Ms. Weatherly, distance-education coordinator at Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, Tex.

Ms. Weatherly hopes such women could one day benefit from a project being developed by a scattered group of women involved in distance education.

Their work centers on a social-networking Web site that would allow women to share information about online education and serve as mentors to one another. It’s called the Collaborative Online Resource Environment for Women (Core4women), a still-in-the-works effort that Ms. Weatherly and her colleagues described during a workshop here Monday at the national conference of the United States Distance Learning Association.

The project, billed in the presentation as “A Better Way: Women Telling Women About Online Learning,” evolved from Ms. Weatherly’s dissertation research at Texas A&M University. Studies like the American Association of University Women’s “The Third Shift” had examined barriers to women pursuing education. Ms. Weatherly sought to push beyond that. She looked at how earning online degrees changed women’s lives, sometimes in major ways, like one woman who left an abusive relationship. In the process, Ms. Weatherly encountered research subjects who wanted to share the expertise they had gained with other women.

Long story short: Ms. Weatherly and some colleagues set up a pilot project on the free social-networking site Ning. A scattered group of female mentors from the the world of distance education worked with a small group of Texas college students, victims of abuse or poverty, who signed up to help test the private site. The project’s organizers hope to expand the effort and gain the sponsorship of the USDLA, which has an offshoot called the International Forum for Women in E-Learning.

A Chronicle reporter was the only male in the audience Monday, but two women present raised the subject of how the other sex fits into this: Is there going to be a mentor network for men? And why do they have to be separate? Why not Core4people?

In an interview after the presentation, Ms. Weatherly responded by returning to her research. Women shared experiences with her that they might not have shared with a man: taking an online class when they were expecting a child and very sick, for example. Men might be participating more in care giving these days. Largely, though, Ms. Weatherly said, “women still feel like they would sacrifice going to school for their family.”

“Sometimes I think they need another woman to say, It’s OK for you to work and take care of your children and earn a degree – and you can do that easier by online learning,” Ms. Weatherly said.

Distance Education:  Stanford Center for Professional Development
Stanford University was probably the first prestigious university to offer an online masters degree in engineering in a video program called ADEPT. That has since been replaced by an expanded online program in professional development that offers certificates or full masters of science degrees in selected programs, especially engineering. The program is highly restrictive in that students must work for employers Must be members of Stanford's Corporate Education Graduate Program. For example, to earn a masters of science degree the requirements are as follows:

For details go to

Most other top universities in the USA now have selected online certificate and degree programs offered in their extension programs. Go to a university of interest and search for "extension." It's still rare to find an online doctoral program at a top university. For-profit universities offer more online doctoral programs, but these tend not to be accepted very well for employment in the Academy. In fact it may be better to not mention such doctoral degrees when seeking employment in the Academy.

"Stanford (Graduate School of Business) Bets Big on Virtual (online) Education," by Natalie Kitroeff and Akane Otani, Bloomberg Businessweek, November 6, 2014 --- 

Stanford’s Graduate School of Business took its relationship with online education to the next level on Wednesday, when it announced that a new program for company executives will be delivered entirely by way of the Internet.

“I don’t know of anything else like this,” says Audrey Witters, managing director of online executive education at Stanford GSB. “We’ve put together something for a very targeted audience, people who are trying to be corporate innovators, with courses where they all work together. That’s a lot different from taking a MOOC [massive open online course].”

Stanford said it will admit up to 100 people to the LEAD Certificate program, which will begin in May 2015 and deliver the “intimate and academically rigorous on-campus Stanford experience” to students from the comfort of their computer screens. In an effort to make students “really feel connected to each other, to Stanford, and to the faculty,” the eight-course program will encourage students to interact through message boards, online chats, Google Hangouts, and phone calls over the course of its yearlong duration, Witters says.

“We really want to create the high-engagement, community aspect that everyone who comes to Stanford’s campus feels,” she says.

The classes will be offered on a platform supplied by Novoed, a virtual education company started by former Stanford professor Amin Saberi and Stanford Ph.D. student Farnaz Ronaghi. The B-school has invested a significant chunk of its resources in launching the program: About 10 to 15 faculty members are slated to teach the courses. In addition to building a studio where it will film course videos, the school has hired a growing pool of educational technology experts and motion graphic designers to work on the courses, according to Witters.

“This is by far the most serious and most significant initiative by GSB in the online realm,” Saberi says.

People go to business school for more than just lectures, Saberi says, and online programs should be as good at teaching the numbers of business as the art of it. “What we are planning to do is to create a very similar environment online where they can acquire softer skills and build a network of peers.”

The program’s $16,000 price tag dwarfs the online offerings of Stanford’s competitors, including Harvard Business Schools $1,500 nine-week online program and the Wharton School’s entirely free first-year MBA classes, which it put on the virtual platform Coursera last fall.

The program may seem less pricey, though, to the company executives it’s intended for. Business schools have traditionally sold certificates to working professionals for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars. Stanford’s own six-week, on-campus program costs executives $62,500.

To Novoed, which also provides technology to Wharton, the Haas School of Business, and the Darden School of Business, the Internet is an obvious place for business schools to expand their lucrative executive education programs.

Saberi says companies are interested in elite training programs that don’t require employees to leave their desks. “We expect that programs like this are going to grow.”

Bob Jensen's threads on fee-based education and training alternatives ---


Corporations and Universities Sign Partnership Pacts ---

"New Book by Pollster John Zogby Says Online Education Is Rapidly Gaining Acceptance," Chronicle of Higher Education, August 12, 23008 ---

John Zogby, president & CEO of the polling company Zogby International, says that American students are quickly warming up to the idea of taking classes online, just as consumers have taken to the idea of renting movies via Netflix and buying microbrewed beer.

In a new book by Mr. Zogby released today, he said that polls show a sharp increase in acceptance of online education in the past year. For more on the story, see a free article in today’s Chronicle.

National surveys show that a majority of Americans think online universities offer a lower quality of education than do traditional institutions. But a prominent pollster, John Zogby, says in a book being released today that it won't be long before American society takes to distance education as warmly as it has embraced game-changing innovations like microbrewed beers, Flexcars, and "the simple miracle of Netflix."

The factor that will close that "enthusiasm gap" is the growing use of distance education by well-respected universities, Mr. Zogby predicts in the book, The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream (Random House).

The book, which is based on Zogby International polls and other studies, also touches on public attitudes toward politics, consumer habits, spirituality, and international affairs, and on what men and women really do want from each other. Mr. Zogby says polls detect signs of society's emerging resistance to big institutions, and its de-emphasis on things and places. "We're redefining geography and space," he says—and a widening acceptance of online education is part of the trend.

Today there is still a "cultural lag" between the public's desire for flexible ways to take college courses and what the most-established players offer, Mr. Zogby said in an interview with The Chronicle on Monday. "There's a sense that those who define the standard haven't caught on yet," he said.

But Mr. Zogby writes that polling by his organization shows that attitudes about online education are changing fast. His polling also points to other challenges that colleges will face as they race to serve a worldwise generation of 18-to-29-year-olds that Mr. Zogby calls "First Globals."

In one 2007 poll of more 5,000 adults, Zogby International found that 30 percent of respondents were taking or had taken an online course, and another 50 percent said they would consider taking one. He says the numbers might skew a little high because this poll was conducted online and the definition of an online course was broad, including certificate programs or training modules offered by employers.

Only 27 percent of respondents agreed that "online universities and colleges provide the same quality of education" as traditional institutions. Among those 18 to 24 years old, only 23 percent agreed.

An even greater proportion of those polled said it was their perception that employers and academic professionals thought more highly of traditional institutions than online ones.

Rapid Shift in Attitude

Yet in another national poll in December 2007, conducted for Excelsior College, 45 percent of the 1,004 adults surveyed believed "an online class carries the same value as a traditional-classroom class," and 43 percent of 1,545 chief executives and small-business owners agreed that a degree earned by distance learning "is as credible" as one from a traditional campus-based program.

Mr. Zogby said that differing attitudes in two polls within a year show that "the gap was closing"—and he said that wasn't as surprising as it might seem. As with changing perceptions about other cultural phenomena, "these paradigm shifts really are moving at lightning speed."

That, says Mr. Zogby, is why he writes about online universities in a chapter—"Dematerializing the Paradigm"—that discusses the rise of car-sharing companies like Flexcar (now merged with Zipcar), the emergence of Internet blogs as a source of news and information, and the popularity of microbrewed beer.

And while it may be true that microbrews and Zipcars, at least, are still very much niche products, Mr. Zogby says they are signs of transcendent change—just like the distance-education courses that are being offered by more and more institutions across the country. "When you add up all the niche products, it's a market unto itself," he says.

In the book, Mr. Zogby also highlights the emerging influence of the First Globals, whom his book calls "the most outward-looking and accepting generation in American history." First Globals, he says, are more socially tolerant and internationally aware.

It is these First Globals, he writes, who are shaping what he says is nothing short of a "fundamental reorientation of the American character away from wanton consumption and toward a new global citizenry in an age of limited resources."

Higher education, he said in the interview, needs to take notice and adapt. These days, he said, students are much more likely to have experienced other cultures firsthand, either as tourists or because they have immigrated from someplace else. Whether college for them is a traditional complex of buildings or an interactive online message board, said Mr. Zogby, "there is a different student on campus."

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education are at the following sites:

"How to Be an Online Student and Survive in the Attempt," by Maria José Viñas, Chronicle of Higher Education, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 11, 2008 --- Click Here

The lives of many online college students are not easy. They have to combine jobs, house chores, family life and, on top of all that, do some actual studying. To help online students cope with this burden, a blog sponsored by Western Governors University offers survival tips.

The Online Student Survival Guide, a program that kicked off in May, is meant to give online students tips on adjusting to online learning and staying motivated throughout the courses, while balancing life and school. Following the famous Latin maxim “mens sana in corpore sano”, the bloggers also write posts on healthy eating—not only for the online students, but for their families, too.

Once again, the link to the Survival Guide is

Competency-Based Learning (where teachers don't selectively assign grades) ---

Western Governors University (with an entire history of competency-based learning) ----
Especially note the Business Administration (including Accounting) degree programs

From a Chronicle of Higher Education Newsletter on November 3, 2016

Over the past 20 years, Western Governors University has grown into a formidable competency-based online education provider. It’s on just its second president, Scott D. Pulsipher, a former Silicon Valley executive, who stopped by our offices yesterday.

WGU has graduated more than 70,000 students, from all 50 states. But a key part of the institution’s growth strategy is local, using its affiliations with participating states (not that all the partnerships start smoothly, mind you). There are six of them, and more growth is on the way; Mr. Pulsipher says WGU is in serious discussions to expand into as many as five more states — he declines to name them — at a pace of one or two per year.

The university's main focus remains students, he says. One example is an effort to minimize student loans. Through better advising, students are borrowing, on average, about 20 percent less than they did three years ago, amounting to savings of about $3,200. “Humans make better decisions,” Mr. Pulsipher says, “when they have more information.” —Dan Berrett

2016 Bibliography on Competency-Based Education and Assessment ---

Bob Jensen's threads on competency-based learning ---


August 31, 2007 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


"Attrition rates for classes taught through distance education are 10- 20% higher than classes taught in a face-to-face setting. . . . Finding ways to decrease attrition in distance education classes and programs is critical both from an economical and quality viewpoint. High attrition rates have a negative economic impact on universities."

In "Strategies to Engage Online Students and Reduce Attrition Rates" (THE JOURNAL OF EDUCATORS ONLINE, vol. 4, no. 2, July 2007), the authors provide a review of the literature to determine methods for "engaging students with the goals of enhancing the learning process and reducing attrition rates." Their research identified four major strategies:

-- student integration and engagement

Includes "faculty-initiated contact via phone calls, pre-course orientations, informal online chats, and online student services."

-- learner-centered approach

Faculty "need to get to know their students and assess each student's pre-existing knowledge, cultural perspectives, and comfort level with technology."

-- learning communities

"[S]trong feelings of community may not only increase persistence in courses, but may also increase the flow of information among all learners, availability of support, commitment to group goals, cooperation among members and satisfaction with group efforts."

-- accessibility to online student services.

Services might include "assessments, educational counseling, administrative process such as registration, technical support, study skills assistance, career counseling, library services, students' rights and responsibilities, and governance."

The paper, written by Lorraine M. Angelino, Frankie Keels Williams, and Deborah Natvig, is available at Final.pdf

The Journal of Educators Online (JEO) [ISSN 1547-500X ]is an online, double-blind, refereed journal by and for instructors, administrators, policy-makers, staff, students, and those interested in the development, delivery, and management of online courses in the Arts, Business, Education, Engineering, Medicine, and Sciences. For more information, contact JEO, 500 University Drive, Dothan, Alabama 36303 USA; tel: 334-983-6556, ext. 1-356; fax: 334-983-6322; Web: .

Jensen Comment
Attrition rates are high because online students are often adults with heavy commitments to family and jobs. Initially they think they are going to have time for a course, but then the course becomes too demanding and/or unexpected things happen in their lives such as computer crashes, a change in job demands (such as more travel), family illness, marital troubles, etc. Sometimes online students initially believe the myth that online courses are easier than onsite courses and, therefore, take less time. About the only time saved is the logistical time waster of commuting to and from a classroom site.

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education are at the following sites:


The Dark Side of Education Technology and Online Learning ---

Updates 2007

What is the rate of growth in online enrollments in the U.S.?

"More Online Enrollments," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, October 23, 2007 ---

More students than ever are taking courses online, but that doesn’t mean the growth will continue indefinitely. That’s the takeaway from the Sloan Foundation’s latest survey, conducted with the Babson Survey Research Group, of colleges’ online course offerings.

With results from nearly 4,500 institutions of all types, the report, “Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning”, found that in fall 2006, nearly 3.5 million students — or 19.8 percent of total postsecondary enrollments — took at least one course online. That’s a 9.7-percent increase over the previous year, but growth has been slowing significantly: last year, the jump was 36.5 percent.

But compared to the growth rate for enrollment overall (1.3 percent), the report notes, the online sector is still rapidly expanding. Most of that expansion is happening where online classes are already being offered.

“The number of new institutions entering the online learning arena had definitely slowed [by last fall]; most institutions that plan to offer online education are now doing so,” the report’s authors wrote.

The institutions surveyed seem to believe that the most important reason for offering online courses is to improve student access, while the top cited obstacles to more widespread online offerings are student’ discipline or study habits, followed by faculty acceptance.

The survey focuses solely on what it classifies as “online” courses: those offering 80 percent or more of their content over the Internet. As a result, trends in so-called “blended” or “hybrid” courses, in which students occasionally meet in person with their professors while also receiving considerable instruction online, are not covered in the report.

The importance of online courses varies widely depending on the type of institution. Public universities, for example, view online education as much more critical to their long-term strategies than private or even for-profit institutions. And not surprisingly, two-year colleges have shown the most growth, accounting for a full half of online enrollments over the past five years:

Four-Year Growth in Students Taking at Least One Online Course

  Enrollment, Fall 2002 Enrollment, Fall 2006 Increase Compound Annual Growth Rate
Doctoral/Research 258,489 566,725 308,236 21.7%
Master’s 335,703 686,337 350,634 19.6%
Baccalaureate 130,677 170,754 40,077 6.9%
Community colleges 806,391 1,904,296 1,097,905 24.0%
Specialized 71,710 160,268 88,558 22.3%

The importance to online strategies is broken down in the following chart:

% Saying Online Education Is Critical to Their Institutions’ Long-Term Strategy

  Public Private Nonprofit Private For-Profit
Fall 2002 66.1% 34.0% 34.6%
Fall 2003 65.4% 36.6% 62.1%
Fall 2004 74.7% 43.8% 48.6%
Fall 2005 71.7% 46.9% 54.9%
Fall 2006 74.1% 48.6% 49.5%

Even if online growth can’t go on at this pace forever, most institutions still see room for increasing enrollments:

% Saying They Expect Online Enrollments to Increase

  Doctoral/Research Master’s Baccalaureate Associate’s Specialized
Expecting increase 87.5% 84.0% 75.6% 87.8% 75.3%

Tables From “Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning”

The study also found that most growth was expected at institutions that are the most “engaged” — that is, “currently have online offerings and believe that online is critical to the long-term strategy of their organization. These institutions, however, have not yet included online education in their formal strategic plan.”



In theory, distance education is supposed to open up an era when all students have a range of options not limited by geography. But a new report from Eduventures finds that most distance students enroll at distance programs run by institutions in their own geographic regions, and that more than a third of these students take online courses offered by an institution within a 50-mile radius.
Inside Higher Ed, March 28, 2007 ---

More and more prestigious universities are sharing course material and lecture videos ---

MIT now has most of its entire curriculum of course materials in all disciplines available free to the world as open courseware. This includes the Sloan School of Business Courses ---
Especially note the FAQs ---

By the end of the year all MIT's course materials will be available, which is probably the most extensive freely open knowledge initiative (OKI) in the entire world.

MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) has formally partnered with three organizations that are translating MIT OCW course materials into Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese ---

What is the most popular download course at MIT?
Answer: According to ABC News last week it's the Introduction to Electrical Engineering Course.

Other major universities now have huge portions of their curriculum materials available --- 

If you want to try something quite different, you might consider some online business and accounting courses from the University of Toyota ---  (These are not free).

Other online training and education programs are listed at

Bob Jensen

Education Balance: Even Resident Students Can Benefit for Life With Some Online Courses

"Latest Twist in Distance Ed," by Elia Powers, Inside Higher Ed, August 9, 2007 ---

Turns out, the American University online program is somewhat of a hybrid. While the university marketed that first course, about terrorism and the legal system, to all sorts of groups in an effort to gauge outside interest, all but two of the 27 students who took the class were its own. Many of the students were away from Washington for the summer, living abroad or at home

“The most important information we’ve gathered is that our distance learning courses are most attractive to our own students,” Ettle said. “Students know they can use credits toward a degree, whereas some students [outside] might be unsure how they could use the credits.”

As distance education continues to evolve, American’s model will likely become more common, according to Diana Oblinger, vice president for Educause, the nonprofit group that deals with technology issues in higher education.

“It makes absolute sense,” Oblinger said. “Both institutions and students are concerned about the time-to-degree. If you can take a course while you are away and when it’s convenient, that helps you progress toward graduation. From an institution’s perspective, why allow your student to take someone else’s course?”

This summer, American is offering 25 online courses, none of which are longer than seven weeks. The condensed schedule works well for students who are either amidst or have just finished study abroad programs or summer jobs and want to extend their stays away from campus while earning credits, Ettle said. It’s also popular with students who take on internships during the year and want to go to school in the summer without having a full course load.

American provides incentives for those who are part of the distance learning program. Starting several summers ago, the university began giving professors whose online course proposals were accepted a $2,500 course development grant. Summer teaching at American isn’t a substitute for teaching an academic year course, and the additional compensation is only monetary incentive to teach in the summer online. Students receive a discounted rate on summer distance courses, and the price hasn’t changed in four years. A three-credit course costs $2,200, which is about 30 percent cheaper than a graduate course and about 25 percent cheaper than an undergraduate course, Ettle said.

There are other obvious cost savings: Students don’t have to pay for campus housing, and the university frees up space for other uses. The overhead cost of running a distance education course is also significantly less than it is for a normal classroom-based course, Ettle said.

“We’re utilizing our facilities more efficiently,” she said. “We want repeat customers — it’s good for them and it’s good for us.”

Still, American limits students to two distance courses per summer to prevent those who are working or studying elsewhere from overloading their schedules. The university places no limits, though, on the number of summers a student can take an online course.

Oblinger said it’s becoming more common for a university to either require or strongly suggest that its students take an online course as a way to prepare them for how learning often takes place in the workplace.

Continued in article

Updates 2006

Open Sharing Catching on Outside the United States
Britain’s Open University today formally begins its effort to put its course materials and other content online for all the world to use. With its effort, OpenLearn, which is expected to cost $10.6 million and is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the university joins Massachusetts Institute of Technology and institutions in several other countries in trying to put tools for learning within the reach of otherwise difficult to reach populations.
Inside Higher Ed, October 25, 2006

Open2 Net Learning from Open University (the largest university in the U.K.) ---

Soaring Popularity of E-Learning Among Students But Not Faculty
How many U.S. students took at least on online course from a legitimate college in Fall 2005?

More students are taking online college courses than ever before, yet the majority of faculty still aren’t warming up to the concept of e-learning, according to a national survey from the country’s largest association of organizations and institutions focused on online education . . . ‘We didn’t become faculty to sit in front of a computer screen,’
Elia Powers, "Growing Popularity of E-Learning, Inside Higher Ed, November 10, 2006 ---

More students are taking online college courses than ever before, yet the majority of faculty still aren’t warming up to the concept of e-learning, according to a national survey from the country’s largest association of organizations and institutions focused on online education.

Roughly 3.2 million students took at least one online course from a degree-granting institution during the fall 2005 term, the Sloan Consortium said. That’s double the number who reported doing so in 2002, the first year the group collected data, and more than 800,000 above the 2004 total. While the number of online course participants has increased each year, the rate of growth slowed from 2003 to 2004.

The report, a joint partnership between the group and the College Board, defines online courses as those in which 80 percent of the content is delivered via the Internet.

The Sloan Survey of Online Learning, “Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006,” shows that 62 percent of chief academic officers say that the learning outcomes in online education are now “as good as or superior to face-to-face instruction,” and nearly 6 in 10 agree that e-learning is “critical to the long-term strategy of their institution.” Both numbers are up from a year ago.

Researchers at the Sloan Consortium, which is administered through Babson College and Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, received responses from officials at more than 2,200 colleges and universities across the country. (The report makes few references to for-profit colleges, a force in the online market, in part because of a lack of survey responses from those institutions.)

Much of the report is hardly surprising. The bulk of online students are adult or “nontraditional” learners, and more than 70 percent of those surveyed said online education reaches students not served by face-to-face programs.

What stands out is the number of faculty who still don’t see e-learning as a valuable tool. Only about one in four academic leaders said that their faculty members “accept the value and legitimacy of online education,” the survey shows. That number has remained steady throughout the four surveys. Private nonprofit colleges were the least accepting — about one in five faculty members reported seeing value in the programs.

Elaine Allen, co-author of the report and a Babson associate professor of statistics and entrepreneurship, said those numbers are striking.

“As a faculty member, I read that response as, ‘We didn’t become faculty to sit in front of a computer screen,’ ” Allen said. “It’s a very hard adjustment. We sat in lectures for an hour when we were students, but there’s a paradigm shift in how people learn.”

Barbara Macaulay, chief academic officer at UMass Online, which offers programs through the University of Massachusetts, said nearly all faculty members teaching the online classes there also teach face-to-face courses, enabling them to see where an online class could fill in the gap (for instance, serving a student who is hesitant to speak up in class).

She said she isn’t surprised to see data illustrating the growing popularity of online courses with students, because her program has seen rapid growth in the last year. Roughly 24,000 students are enrolled in online degree and certificate courses through the university this fall — a 23 percent increase from a year ago, she said.

“Undergraduates see it as a way to complete their degrees — it gives them more flexibility,” Macaulay said.

The Sloan report shows that about 80 percent of students taking online courses are at the undergraduate level. About half are taking online courses through community colleges and 13 percent through doctoral and research universities, according to the survey.

Nearly all institutions with total enrollments exceeding 15,000 students have some online offerings, and about two-thirds of them have fully online programs, compared with about one in six at the smallest institutions (those with 1,500 students or fewer), the report notes. Allen said private nonprofit colleges are often set in enrollment totals and not looking to expand into the online market.

The report indicates that two-year colleges are particularly willing to be involved in online learning.

“Our institutions tend to embrace changes a little more readily and try different pedagogical styles,” said Kent Phillippe, a senior research associate at the American Association of Community Colleges. The report cites a few barriers to what it calls the “widespread adoption of online learning,” chief among them the concern among college officials that some of their students lack the discipline to succeed in an online setting. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents defined that as a barrier.

Allen, the report’s co-author, said she thinks that issue arises mostly in classes in which work can be turned in at any time and lectures can be accessed at all hours. “If you are holding class in real time, there tends to be less attrition,” she said. The report doesn’t differentiate between the live and non-live online courses, but Allen said she plans to include that in next year’s edition.

Few survey respondents said acceptance of online degrees by potential employers was a critical barrier — although liberal arts college officials were more apt to see it as an issue.

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing and education technology are at

Bob Jensen's threads on online training and education alternatives are at

Motivations for Distance Learning ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of online learning and teaching are at

Update in 2005

Distant distance education
Ms. Salin is part of a new wave of outsourcing to India: the tutoring of American students. Twice a week for a month now, Ms. Salin, who grew up speaking the Indian language Malayalam at home, has been tutoring Daniela in English grammar, comprehension and writing. Using a simulated whiteboard on their computers, connected by the Internet, and a copy of Daniela's textbook in front of her, she guides the teenager through the intricacies of nouns, adjectives and verbs.
Saritha Rai, "A Tutor Half a World Away, but as Close as a Keyboard," The New York Times, September 7, 2005 ---

The Blackboard:  A tribute to a long-standing but fading teaching and learning tool
From the Museum of History and Science at Oxford University
Bye Bye Blackboard: From Einstein and others
Bob Jensen's threads on the tools of education technology are at

Controversies in Regulation of Distance Education

"All Over the Map," by Elia Powers, Inside Higher Ed, December 8, 2006 ---

As the distance learning market continues to grow, state agencies charged with regulating the industry continue to operate in a “fragmented environment,” according to a report presented Thursday at the 2006 Education Industry Finance & Investment Summit, in Washington.

One of the main questions these agencies must consider is what constitutes an institution having a “physical presence” in their state. In other words, what is an appropriate test to determine whether regulation is needed?

More than 80 percent of agencies that are included in the report said that they use some sort of “physical presence” test. But few agree on how to define the word “presence,” in part because there are so many elements to consider.

That’s clear in “The State of State Regulation of Cross-Border Postsecondary Education,” the report issued by Dow Lohnes, a firm with a sizable higher education practice. (The firm plans to release an updated report early next year after more responses arrive.)

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of education technology are at


Long-Term Future of Education 
and Education Technologies

A Serious New Commercial Advance for Online Training and Education

"Opening Up Online Learning," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, October 9, 2006 ---

This has not exactly been a season of peace, love and harmony on the higher education technology landscape. A patent fight has broken out among major developers of course management systems. Academic publishers and university officials are warring over open access to federally sponsored research. And textbook makers are taking a pounding for — among other things — the ways in which digital enhancements are running up the prices of their products.

In that context, many may be heartened by the announcement later today at the Educause meeting in Dallas that three dozen academic publishers, providers of learning management software, and others have agreed on a common, open standard that will make it possible to move digital content into and out of widely divergent online education systems without expensive and time consuming reengineering. The agreement by the diverse group of publishers and software companies, who compete intensely with one another, is being heralded as an important breakthrough that could expand the array of digital content available to professors and students and make it easier for colleges to switch among makers of learning systems.

Of course, that’s only if the new standard, known as the “Common Cartridge,” becomes widely adopted, which is always the question with developments deemed to be potential technological advances.

Many observers believe this one has promise, especially because so many of the key players have been involved in it. Working through the IMS Global Learning Consortium, leading publishers like Pearson Education and McGraw-Hill Education and course-management system makers such as Blackboard, ANGEL Learning and open-source Sakai have worked to develop the technical specifications for the common cartridge, and all of them have vowed to begin incorporating the new standard into their products by next spring — except Blackboard, which says it will do so eventually, but has not set a timeline for when.

What exactly is the Common Cartridge? In lay terms, it is a set of specifications and standards, commonly agreed to by an IMS working group, that would allow digitally produced content — supplements to textbooks such as assessments or secondary readings, say, or faculty-produced course add-ons like discussion groups — to “play,” or appear, the same in any course management system, from proprietary ones like Blackboard/WebCT and Desire2Learn to open source systems like Moodle and Sakai.

“It is essentially a common ‘container,’ so you can import it and load it and have it look similar when you get it inside” your local course system, says Ray Henderson, chief products officer at ANGEL, who helped conceive of the idea when he was president of the digital publishing unit at Pearson.

The Common Cartridge approach is designed to deal with two major issues: (1) the significant cost and time that publishers now must spend (or others, if the costs are passed along) to produce the material they produce for multiple, differing learning management systems, and (2) the inability to move courses produced in one course platform to another, which makes it difficult for professors to move their courses from one college to another and for campuses to consider switching course management providers.

The clearest and surest upside of the new standard, most observers agree, is that it could help lower publishers’ production costs and, in turn, allow them to focus their energies on producing more and better content. David O’Connor, senior vice president for product development at Pearson Education’s core technology group, says his company and other major publishers spend “many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year effectively moving content around” so that ancillary material for textbooks can work in multiple course management systems.

Because Blackboard and Web CT together own in the neighborhood of 75 percent of the course management market, Pearson and other publishers produce virtually all of their materials to work in those proprietary systems. Materials are typically produced on demand for smaller players like ANGEL, Desire2Learn and Sakai, and it is even harder to find usable materials for colleges’ homemade systems. While big publishers such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill have sizable media groups that can, when they choose to, spend what’s necessary to modify digital content for selected textbooks, “small publishers often have to say no,” O’Connor says. As a result, “there are just fewer options for people who aren’t using Blackboard and WebCT, and more hurdles to getting it.”

Supporters hope that adoption of the common cartridge will allow publishers to spend less time and money adapting one textbook’s digital content for multiple course platforms and more time producing more and better content. “This should have the result of broadening choice in content to institutions,” says Catherine Burdt, an analyst at Eduventures, an education research firm. “Colleges would no longer be limited to the content that’s supported by their LMS platform, but could now go out and choose the best content that aligns with what’s happening in their curriculum.”

Less clear is how successful the effort will be at improving the portability of course materials from one learning management system to another. If all the major providers introduce “export capability,” there is significant promise, says Michael Feldstein, who writes the blog e-Literate and is assistant director of the State University of New York Learning Network. “This has the potential to be one of the most important standards to come out in a while, particularly for faculty,” says Feldstein, who notes that his comments here represent his own views, not SUNY’s. “It would become much easier for them to take rich course content and course designs and migrate them from one system to another with far less pain.”

But while easier transferability would obviously benefit the smaller players in the course management market — and ANGEL and Sakai plan to announce today that their systems will soon allow professors to create Common Cartridges for export out of their systems — such a system would only take off if the dominant player in the market, the combined Blackboard/WebCT, eventually does the same. “I’m not sure how excited Blackboard would be about making it easier for faculty to migrate out of their product and into one of their competitors,” says Feldstein.

Chris Vento, senior vice president of technology and product development at Blackboard, was a leading proponent of the IMS Common Cartridge concept when he was a leading official at WebCT before last year’s merger. In an interview, he acknowledged the question lots of others are asking: “What’s in it for Blackboard? Why wouldn’t you just lock up the format and force everybody to use it?” His answer, he says, is that by helping the entire industry, he says, the project cannot help but benefit its biggest player, too.

“This will enable publishers to really do the best job of producing their content, making it richer and better for students and faculty, and more lucrative for publishers from the business perspective,” says Vento. “Anything we can do to enable that content to be built, and more of it and better quality, the more lucrative it is eventually for us.”

Blackboard is fully behind the project, Vento says. Having endorsed the Common Cartridge charter, Blackboard has also committed to incorporating the new standard into its products, and that Blackboard intends to make export of course materials possible out of its platform. “Exactly how that maps to our product roadmap has not been finalized,” he said, “but in the end, we’re all going to have to do this. It’s just a question of when.” There will, he says, “be a lot of pressures to do this.”

That pressure is likely to be intensified because of the public relations pounding Blackboard has taken among many in the academic technology world because of its attempt to patent technology that many people believe is fundamental to e-learning systems. O’Connor of Pearson says he believes Blackboard could benefit from its involvement in the Common Cartridge movement by being seen “as the dominant player, to be someone supporting openness in the community.” He adds: “There is an opportunity for them to mend some of the damage from the patent issue.”

Like virtually all technological advances — or would-be ones — Common Cartridge’s success will ultimately rise and fall, says Burdt of Eduventures, on whether Blackboard and others embrace it. “Everything comes down to adoption,” she says. “The challenge with every standard is the adoption model. Some are out the door too early. Some evolve too early and are eclipsed by substitutes. For others, suppliers decide not to support it for various reasons.”

Those behind the Common Cartridge believe it’s off to a good start with the large number of disparate parties not only involved in creating it, but already committing to incorporate it into their offerings.

Yet even as they launch this standard, some of them are already looking ahead to the next challenge. While the Common Cartridge, if widely adopted, will allow for easier movement of digital course materials into and out of course management systems, it does not ensure that users will be able to do the same thing with third-party e-learning tools (like subject-specific tutoring modules) that are not part of course management systems, or with the next generation of tools that may emerge down the road. For that, the same parties would have to reach a similar agreement on a standard for “tool interoperability,” which is next on the IMS agenda.

“This is only one step,” Pearson’s O’Connor says of the Common Cartridge. But it is, he says, an important one.

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology and distance education are linked at


The Global Technology Revolution 2020 ---

What are the most significant changes expected in higher education by the Year 2025? 
What major universities are now experimenting on the leading edge of such changes?

Answer 1  --- Cluster and Grid Computing!  The first test linked Caltech, Fermilab, 
                      UC San Diego, the University of Florida, and the University of Wisconsin

What's Microsoft been up to in grid/distributed computing? The company's not talking, but we've ferreted out some interesting details about the hush-hush "Bigtop" project. Our sources say it involves loosely coupled machines, and perhaps even a new version of Windows. Read our story for more details on what "Bigtop" could be, and when to expect it.
Jim Lauderback, What's New from Ziff Davis, December 30, 2004

From Syllabus News on September 24, 2002

Stanford Online Press Gets 'Clustering' Software

Stanford's HighWire Press, an online publisher of scientific and medical publications for researchers and institutions, has licensed "clustering" software that will allow it to organize its content into easy-to-navigate clusters for end-users. HighWire licensed the Clustering Engine and Enterprise Publisher from Vivisimo, Inc. to organize search results and publish larger document subsets on its master site. HighWire will offer the products to its own publishing customers for use on their journal websites. "HighWire Press now has 13 million online articles, so researchers need tools to reduce, refine, and tunnel into search results," said John Sack, director of HighWire. The new software, he added, "will help liberate readers from the need to make overly specific queries. Instead, they can recognize interesting topic clusters and drill down from there, in the `I know it when I see it' style."

For more information, visit: .


"What Is Grid Computing, Anyway?" by Tim McDonald, NewsFactor Network July 24, 2002 --- 

One good way to gauge a new technology's degree of acceptance is to observe whether it has moved out of the laboratory and onto store shelves -- from science to commerce. According to that measure, grid computing is just coming of age.

Often called the next big thing in global Internet technology, grid computing employs clusters of locally or remotely networked machines to work on specific computational projects.

One well-known example of grid computing -- sometimes called distributed or clustered computing -- is the ongoing SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project, in which thousands of users are sharing their unused processor cycles to help search for signs of "rational" signals from outer space.

From Science to Commerce

Grid computing traditionally has been useful to researchers working on scientific or technical problems -- much like the SETI project -- that require a great number of computer processing cycles or access to large amounts of data.

But while this technology was once exclusively the province of academics in fields like biomedicine and weather forecasting, it has recently been making a strong foray into potentially lucrative e-commerce sectors. Although clustering has been used for several years as a load-balancing technique by server Latest News about server hardware manufacturers, grid computing now seems to be coming of age for other applications as well.

"Grid computing has advanced to the point now that there are products out there like Sun's Grid Engine Enterprise Edition," Aberdeen Group analyst Bill Claybrook told NewsFactor.

Much like a load-balancing server cluster, Sun's Grid Engine software lets organizations create networked grids to share resources on a wider scale and to allocate processing resources according to department priorities.

Grid Computing Components

Essentially, grids are built from clusters of computer servers joined together over a local area network (LAN) or over the Internet.

While several grids that run over the Internet -- like the SETI project -- have been built with proprietary software, there are several development tools that can facilitate the growth and adoption of grid computing.

One of those tools is Globus, a research and development project focused on helping software developers apply the grid concept.

The Globus toolkit, the group's primary offering, is a set of components that can be used to develop grid applications. For each component in the toolkit, Globus provides an API (application programmer interface) for use by software developers.

Power to the People

Research scientists historically have been attracted to grid computing because it uses the power of idle computers to work on difficult computational problems.

Proponents of grid computing say the technology will enable universities and research institutions to share their supercomputers, servers and storage capacity, allowing them to perform massive calculations quickly and relatively cheaply.

In line with those expectations, HP recently announced that a 9.2-teraflop supercomputer Latest News about supercomputer soon will be connected to the Department of Energy's Science Grid. When installed, it will be the largest supercomputer attached to a grid anywhere in the world, according to the company.

Sharing Data

Until now, the problem with grid computing has been a lack of common software for developers to work with, largely because grids rely on Internet-based software.

In an effort to spur broader adoption of grids, the National Science Foundation established the US$12.1 million Middleware Initiative last year, and the agency has recently released software and other tools designed to make working on grids easier for scientists and engineers.

"Scientists are now sharing data and instrumentation on an unprecedented scale, and other geographically distributed groups are beginning to work together in ways that were previously impossible," according to the Grid Research Integration Deployment and Support Center.

First Gaming Grid

In a real-world example of grid computing, IBM (NYSE: IBM) Latest News about IBM and announced in May that they would soon release a computing grid for the video game industry. spent two years building the grid, which distributes games across a network of server farms using IBM e-business infrastructure technology.

Massively multiplayer games (MMGs) historically have been run on mirrored servers that essentially duplicate copies of the MMG universe to balance user loads.

While this technique is designed to reduce latency for all users -- so that each set of servers behaves responsively to user actions -- the mirroring technique limits the number of players who can participate at one time in the same game universe.

When load balances increase, the typical MMG response has been to add more servers, copy the game universe and spill the extra load into that new copy.

Now, however,'s grid technology provides "cross-server sentinels" that supports the interaction of millions of players in one world, with server boundaries invisible to players. According to the company, the extension of grid computing to the gaming world lets game developers support a limitless number of users in their MMGs.

'Taking Hold of an Industry'

Companies are lining up to jump on the Butterfly bandwagon. This week, for example, software development site CollabNet announced it will work with to develop an online environment that lets game developers test their games.

"IBM's been extremely busy on a number of fronts in grid, in terms of investing resources and winning new partners and customers," IBM spokesperson Jim Larkin told NewsFactor.

"Butterfly is one of the key examples thus far of how IBM has worked with another company to help develop a computing grid that is in the commercial arena," Larkin said. "It's a clear example of how grid is taking hold of an industry."

"Digipede to Showcase .NET Grid Computing Solutions at Securities Industry Association Technology Management Conference," PR Web, June 19, 2006 ---

"Grids Unleash the Power of Many," by John Gartner, MIT's Technology Review,  January 14, 2005 --- 

Computer scientists in three states -- West Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado -- are each combining their technology resources into separate computer grids that will give researchers, universities, private companies and citizens access to powerful supercomputers.

The project designers say these information aqueducts will encourage business development, accelerate scientific research, and improve the efficiency of government.

"Grid computing will provide 1,000 times more business opportunities than what we see over the Internet today," says Wolfgang Gentzsch, managing director of grid computing and networking services at MCNC in Research Triangle Park, NC.

MCNC is spearheading North Carolina's statewide grid development that currently includes seven universities including North Carolina State, Duke, and the University of North Carolina.

The North Carolina project -- which has a goal to link 180 institutions -- is encouraging business development through its Start Up Grid Initiative, which allows fledgling companies to plug into the grid for up to nine months free of charge and afterwards at discounted rates, Gentzsch says.

Because raising capital and acquiring technology takes up most of a new company's time, "Startups usually only get to spend 10 percent of their time executing their idea," says Gentzch, who has launched seven companies.

According to a 2003 report by Robert Cohen, a Fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, North Carolina's grid could create 24,000 jobs and boost the state's output by $10.1 billion by 2010 if effectively implemented.

Before statewide grids can become a realit, the software used to share and manage resources needs to be improved to include more standard communication protocols. Gentzsch says the expected release of version 4.0 of the open source Globus Toolkit, which he estimates is used by 90 percent of grid projects, will greatly simplify connecting computers to the grid.

Securing a location's computing resources so that only specified resources are made available for sharing is a significant challenge, Gentzsch says. To protect data files, institutions must "encrypt everything," and configure the grid network so that "the CPU cycles are separated from the disk resources."

Gentzsch estimates that advanced computing resource utilization is just 25 percent, and grid computing could increase the efficiency to 75 percent.

"Back to Basics and the Next Big Thing," by Phillip D. Long, Syllabus, August 2002, pp/ 10-11 --- 

Grid Computing: The Next Big Thing

The next big thing to transform the Internet is likely to come from work going on with the grid. The grid is an infrastructure that enables flexible, secure, coordinated resource sharing among dynamic collections of people, institutions, and resources.

It may be useful to recall that the birth of the Web came from a desire to share research papers among large numbers of particle physicists doing “big science” at CERN, the Swiss research center. Tim Berners-Lee’s vision has changed all our lives. In the world of international science, its impact has been staggering. Recognizing this, the Joint Information Systems Council (JISC), the UK analog of the National Science Foundation, has embarked on a £98 million project called the Core e-Science Programme, managed by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) on behalf of the UK Research Councils. The e-Science project proposes to connect scientists with expensive remote facilities, teraflop computers, and information resources stored in dedicated databases. Add to these resources higher level services such as workflow, transactions, data mining, and knowledge discovery, and you begin to glimpse what’s envisioned. The grid is the architecture proposed to make this a reality.

What kinds of research are we talking about? Everything from particle physics (what goes around comes around) to basic medical investigation. For example, our understanding of even basic human physiology remains terribly limited. We don’t know how multiple parameters interact over time in fundamental processes like heart rate, blood pressure, and other cardiovascular indicators. Imagine if 100,000 people volunteered to wear real-time monitoring devices so that their daily metabolic functions were recorded and analyzed in real time. The volume of data is enormous but that’s just the beginning. We would want to compare how the data relate to the activities of the people as they went about their daily lives. In the end, predicting the likelihood of an impending physical problem becomes a potential reality. Just like the work underway to provide predictive intervention for the replacement of computing hardware, you can imagine high risk heart patients wearing proactive monitors that page them to head for a cardiac care unit because the data indicate a potential problem in the next 24 hours. Today it may seem like science fiction, but with research using the grid, it’s emerging into possible science fact.

This may seem far a field from the classroom. How far it is remains to be seen of course, but there are people working today on applying the potential of the grid to learning management or virtual learning environments. Better descriptions about teaching processes and the learning objects needed, along with work on metadata for educational objects, are underway. So stay tuned for more about the “next big thing” in future columns.


Laurillard, D. The Changing University. 1996.

Metadata for Education Group

The full article is at


"Time to Hop on the Gridwagon," by Daithí Ó hAnluain, Wired News, July 26, 2002 ---,1377,54098,00.html 

"Grid computing was the reserve of 'big science' five years ago," says Catlett, "But in five years, it will be completely pedestrian. I was working on a Cray Supercomputer in 1985, and my laptop would blow it away now!"

That's for the future. In the meantime, Grids are currently deploying among Fortune 2000 companies to deal with everything from batch analysis of financial data, trend analysis of point-of-sale data, and design, engineering and manufacture automation. Oh, and collaboration as well.

This last may seem a surprising tangent to the pure processing power that grids typically deliver, but collaboration and data analysis are two sides of the same logistical coin. Engineers or scientists are increasingly collaborating on projects and testing their theories across the same grid. They are also dealing with terabytes of data.

It's one of the moves that makes integration with Web services so obvious to grid gurus, like IBM's Irving Wladawsky-Berger, VP of technology strategy.

"Grid computing is really the natural evolution of the Internet. This is really looking at the Internet, with all its promise of universal connectivity and reach, and making it work far better by bringing the qualities of service that people are used to in enterprise computing, and ... (what) we all have gotten used to in utilities like electricity (and the) telephone."

Ultimately, then, the grid could provide computing power on a utility model for consumers or one-off projects or simply as a means to outsource processing.

Nonetheless, big science will still be a major part of the grid's future. A case in point is the TeraGrid, which goes live next spring and is set to steal the No. 2 spot from IBM's ASCI White in the world supercomputer rankings.

"The Earth Simulator is essentially a big computer grid," Catlett says. "A bunch of computers put in a grid to get the power. It's a short step from putting supercomputers in a grid across the room to doing it across the country, or across the world."

When completed, the TeraGrid will include 13.6 teraflops of Linux Cluster computing power distributed at the four TeraGrid sites, capable of managing and storing more than 450 terabytes of data. It will be connected through a network 40 Gbps, which will become a 50 to 80 Gbps network or 16 times faster than today's fastest research network.

It will be used for National Science Foundation-sponsored projects and commercial applications.

So where will it all end? Nowhere in sight, that's for sure.

"We have the genome sequence and now we're working on the protein folding, and it won't be long before the life sciences are looking at whole life systems," Baird says. "The nature of grid computing is going to allow for bigger and bigger science applications. As long as we keep on putting out more power, people will design better applications for it."

There will be one paradigm shift that may be noticed only for what's missing: the end of technology.

"We're entering the post-technology age where users will be able to get on with what they want to do without worrying about making the technology work," IBM's Hawk says.

"It used to be cool to change your own oil. Now it's not. Soon people won't have to worry about the technology. Grid computing is what will make that happen."

The other parts of this article are at,1377,54098,00.html 

"The future of computing:  The next big thing?" The Economist, January 15, 2004 --- 

IT is increasingly painful to watch Carly Fiorina, the boss of Hewlett-Packard (HP), as she tries to explain to yet another conference audience what her new grand vision of “adaptive” information technology is about. It has something to do with “Darwinian reference architectures”, she suggests, and also with “modularising” and “integrating”, as well as with lots of “enabling” and “processes”. IBM, HP's arch rival, is trying even harder, with a marketing splurge for what it calls “on-demand computing”. Microsoft's Bill Gates talks of “seamless computing”. Other vendors prefer “ubiquitous”, “autonomous” or “utility” computing. Forrester Research, a consultancy, likes “organic”. Gartner, a rival, opts for “real-time”.

Clearly, something monumental must be going on in the world of computing for these technology titans simultaneously to discover something that is so profound and yet so hard to name. What is certainly monumental, reckons Pip Coburn, an analyst at UBS, is the hype, which concerns, he says, “stuff that doesn't work yet”. Frank Gens at IDC, another tech consultancy, quips that, in 2004 at least, “utility” computing is actually “futility” computing.

Yet as a long-term vision for computing, what the likes of IBM, Microsoft and HP (and Oracle, Sun, etc) are peddling is plausible. The question is, how long will it take? Some day, firms will indeed stop maintaining huge, complex and expensive computer systems that often sit idle and cannot communicate with the computers of suppliers and customers. Instead, they will outsource their computing to specialists (IBM, HP, etc) and pay for it as they use it, just as they now pay for their electricity, gas and water. As with such traditional utilities, the complexity of the supply-systems will be entirely hidden from users.

ER meets the Matrix The potential for a computing infrastructure such as this to boost efficiency—and even to save lives—is impressive. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, an in-house guru at IBM, pictures an ambulance delivering an unconscious patient to a random hospital. The doctors go online and get the patient's data (medical history, drug allergies, etc), which happens to be stored on the computer of a clinic on the other side of the world. They upload their scans of the patient on to the network and crunch the data with the processing power of thousands of remote computers—not just the little machine which is all that the hospital itself can nowadays afford.

For its nuts and bolts, this vision relies on two unglamorous technologies. The first is “web services”—software that resides in a big shared “server” computer and can be found and used by applications on other servers, even ones far away and belonging to different organisations. Mr Wladawsky-Berger's hospital would be getting the patient's info from his home clinic through such a web service.

The second technology is “grid computing”. This involves the sharing of processing power. The best-known example is a “search for extra-terrestrial intelligence” project called SETI@home, overseen by the University of California at Berkeley. Nearly 5m people in 226 countries have downloaded a screensaver that makes their computer available, whenever it is sitting idle, to process radio signals gathered from outer space. The aim is to find a pattern that may be from aliens. Mr Wladawsky-Berger's hospital would similarly crunch patient-data using the internet, or grid, as if it were a single, giant virtual microprocessor, but for a more earth-bound purpose.

Both technologies have made great strides recently. Web services, for instance, need common standards and protocols. Some basic standards already exist—awkward acronyms such as XML, SOAP and WSDL provide a rudimentary grammar to let computers talk to each other. But the sticking point, says Phillip Merrick, boss of webMethods, one of the pioneers in the field, has been the many other fiddly but necessary protocols for security, transaction certification, and so on. A breakthrough occurred in October, when the two superpowers, IBM and Microsoft, simply got up on a stage together and declared what protocols they will use. Dubbed “WS splat” by the geeks, this ought to speed up the adoption of web services.

Web services are currently most visible in the business model of so-called application service providers. These are firms that offer to host software applications and databases for customers for a monthly fee—an analogy would be for firms to do their e-mailing via Yahoo! or their buying via eBay. The most successful is, a San Francisco firm that, as the name says, specialises in software for managing customer information and marketing leads. It says that it was poaching so much business from a more traditional seller of customer-relations software, Siebel Systems, that Siebel had to adopt the model itself. In October, Siebel teamed up with IBM and now also offers its software as a service over the internet.

Nonetheless, this particular form of web services is overhyped, says Rahul Sood of Tech Strategy Partners, a consultancy in Silicon Valley. Such services appeal mostly to small businesses and firms that do not need to customise their applications very much. For the grander vision—the on-demand, adaptive, seamless, ubiquitous, organic sort—a lot more needs to happen.

At the core of the vision is flexibility—a firm must be able to make its operating costs, and therefore its computing and information costs, totally variable so that they go up and down with business volumes. Firms can improve cost flexibility today, says Mr Sood, but only if they stick with one vendor, such as IBM, or if they make only one of their many computing functions (data storage, say) flexible. But for computing to be bought and sold as a utility, firms must be able to switch vendors, to do it for all their computing functions, and with meter-based pricing. All of this will take a few more years to get right.

Continued in the article.

The Video Game Revolution (also available from PBS on videotape) --- 


This is the story of how a whimsical invention of the 1960s helped spawn the computer industry as we know it. Video games have influenced the way children live and play, forever altered the entertainment industry, and even affected the way wars are fought. See how it all began and find out what it means for the future.

When recruiting teens for college and/or particular careers such as accounting, here's one of the competitive tools that we have not successfully exploited.  This type of thing is also being successfully employed in recruiting and training, but does not seem to have widespread success in educational institutions.

What has become the most successful and most controversial recruiting tool of the U.S. Army? 


I viewed the answer to the first question of television.
I watched this while eating breakfast on March 31.
CBS News on March 30, 2004 proclaimed that an Internet game has become a major recruitment tool.  The game that is especially successful is called America's Army.  The official version of this game is at 

"Army Recruits Video Gamers," CBS News, March 30, 2004 --- 

The soldiers are real. But they're also actors, staging scenes for the Army's latest war game.

It's a video game created by the U.S. Army to win over the hearts and minds of American teenagers.

And, as CBS News Correspondent Jim Acosta reports, judging by these faces, mission accomplished.

Game player Rob Calcagni believes the game is going to work on a lot of guys his age.

"Definitely, because it's a fun game," says Calcagni.

The game, "America's Army" has become such an overnight hit, the Army staged a tournament in New York. Recruiters were waiting at the door.

"This is a fantastic recruiting opportunity," says Lt. Col. John Gillette. "We would like to sign up as many as possible. We are looking for five to ten."

One of these teens enlisted after playing the game, the other two are thinking about it, which is exactly what the creator of "America's Army" had in mind.

"We look at all the things that the Army is doing that is under the control of the Army that captures people's attention and the game is number one," says the game's creator Col. Casey Wardynksi.

America's Army has surpassed even the Pentagon's expectations. It's now the number one online action game in the country. The Army hasn't seen a recruiting tool this effective since "Be all that you can be."

But psychology professor Brad Bushman of the University of Michigan, a critic of violent video games, complains "America's Army" isn't real enough.

"War is not a game," he says.

"The video game does provide a sanitized view of violence," says Bushman. "For example, when you shoot someone or when you are shot you see a puff of blood; you don't see anyone suffering or writhing in pain."

"Kids aren't stupid," says Wardynski. "They know if they come into the army there is a reason that we have rifles and tanks and all that stuff."

The players insist they understand the meaning of "game over."

"If you are going to join the Army, you know the risk," says one gamer, Bart Koscinski. "In this game you might die like eight times in like 15 minutes. In real life people know what they are getting themselves into."

New editions of "America's Army" are now being developed for home video game systems -- a move that will deploy even more young cyber-soldiers to the military's virtual battlefield. --- 

Welcome to the web's largest resource of professionally-written articles and news about military combat simulations and strategy games. Our archives of news and articles span the golden age of this category of games from January of 1996 to February of 2003.


There have been many changes in the past twenty years in the implementation of simulation and computer games, including game development, usage in fixed locations, and event-based experiences both in the civilian and commercial spaces. This paper examines each of these three areas individually in order to predict their likely future developments. It then evaluates the dynamic potential for the military that lies at the crossroads where these trends are merging, and relates their interaction to the growing popularity of the online computer gaming experience.

Although far from a complete study, this paper aims to add to the discussion of these industry trends.

The paper proposes that there is a strong benefit to the military for recruiting, pre-training, and training of active duty members through the combination of :

· Choosing, building, or modifying effective combat simulation games for military use.

· Operating computer game competitions with significant military presence – similar to the air shows of

today – for event-based and location-based computer gaming competitions

· Using the combined venues of (a) online gaming competitions, (b) location-based game centers, and (c)

large scale gaming competitions

· Operating under the sports model of Leagues (by appropriate military warfare specialty for each League)

and further dividing the Leagues into competing Divisions.

By reaching out in this way to a wider spectrum of possibilities for including the cyber entertainment culture, the military will, we predict, experience benefits in recruiting, pre-training, and training, making further use of the compelling attraction of computer games that has been demonstrated by games’ recent rise to a predominant role for military age people in our society.

"Computer Games Liven Up Military Recruiting, Training," by Harold Kennedy, National Defense Magazine, November 2002 --- 

Computer games—which entertain millions of U.S. teenagers—are beginning to breathe fresh life into military recruiting and training.

Earlier this year, for example, the U.S. Army launched a new computer game—called “America’s Army”—over the Internet.

Aimed at encouraging teens to join up, it enables players to experience both basic and advanced training, join a combat unit and fight in a variety of environments, including arctic Alaska, upstate New York and a third-world city.

Players can fire on a rifle range, run an obstacle course, attend sniper school, train in urban combat and parachute from a C-17 transport.

The game accurately depicts military equipment, training and the real-life movements of soldiers, said Lt. Col. George Juntiff, Army liaison officer to the Modeling, Virtual Environment and Simulation (MOVES) Institute, at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., which developed the game.

“America’s Army” features sound effects by moviemaker George Lucas’ company, SkyWalker, and Dolby Digital Sound. In addition, sound effects from the movie “Terminator II” were provided at no charge.

The game is getting considerable attention. During its first two weeks, more than a million Americans downloaded the game for free, Juntiff said.

“That’s an enormous number,” he said. “It’s the largest release in computer game history.”

Even more people are likely to acquire the game starting in October, Juntiff said, when the Army was scheduled to begin distributing it as a free CD set to a target audience over the age of 13. The developers plan to upgrade the game every month to attract new players, he said.

Actually, “America’s Army” consists of two separate games—”Soldiers,” a role-player based on Army values, and “Operations,” a shooter game that takes players on combat missions. It was developed and distributed at a cost of $7.5 million by MOVES and the U.S. Military Academy’s Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis at West Point, N.Y.

The computer game is a “very cost-effective” way to reach potential recruits, especially compared to television advertising, said Maj. Chris Chambers, OEMA deputy director. “It is also a more detailed means of showing the American people what we do.”

The game also puts the Army in a positive light, said Juntiff. “It lets people know the Army is high-tech. It’s not what they see in the movies.”

The game, in addition, raises ethical issues, Juntiff said. “The game sets rules of engagement, and if you violate those rules, you pay the price.”

Once they enlist, recruits, these days, can expect to encounter computer games throughout their military training, said Michael R. Macedonia, senior scientist for the U.S. Army Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM), headquartered in Orlando, Fla. Even well-known commercial games have been adapted for military use, he told National Defense.

That process began, he said, in the 1980s, when the Army modified the Atari tank battle game, “Battlezone,” to let it have gunner controls similar to those of a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The idea, he explained, was to enhance the eye-hand coordination of armor crews.

Then, in the mid-1990s, the Marines edited the commercial version of the three-dimensional game “Doom” to create “Marine Doom,” to help train four-man fire teams in urban combat.

More recently, the Army’s Soldier Systems Center, in Natick, Mass., has commissioned the games developer, Novalogic, of Calabasas, Calif., to modify the popular Delta Force 2 game to help familiarize soldiers with the service’s experimental Land Warrior system.

The Land Warrior system includes a self-

contained computer and radio unit, a global-positioning receiver, a helmet-mounted liquid-

character display and a modular weapons array that adds thermal and video sights and laser ranging to the standard M-4 carbine and M-16A2 rifle.

A customized version of another computer game, Microsoft Flight Simulator, is issued to all Navy student pilots and undergraduates enrolled in Naval Reserve Officer Training Courses at 65 colleges around the nation. The office of the Chief of Naval Education and Training has installed the software at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas, and plans to install it at two other bases in Florida.

LB&B Associates, of Columbia, Md., has modified the game engine from author Tom Clancy’s best-selling computer game, “Rainbow Six Rogue Spear,” to train U.S. combat troops in urban warfare. The game—marketed by Ubi Soft Entertainment, of San Francisco—is based one of Clancy’s military novels.

The new version—which is still being developed—will not be used to improve marksmanship, but to sharpen decision-making skills at the small-unit level, said Michael S. Bradshaw, LB&B’s Systems Division manager. LB&B has completed a proof-of-concept version, which “worked brilliantly,” Bradshaw said. The project, he explained, has been turned over to the Institute for Creative Technology for final development.

Continued in the article

October 4, 2005 Message from Carolyn Kotlas []


EDUCAUSE is making available online, at no cost, THE INTERNET AND THE UNIVERSITY: FORUM 2004. The book is a collection of papers from the Forum's 2004 Aspen Symposium. The papers cover three areas: technology and globalization, technology and scholarship, and technology and the brain. The book is available in PDF format at .

The Forum on the Internet and the University "seeks to understand how the Internet and new learning media can improve the quality and condition of learning, as well as the opportunities and risks created by rapid technological innovation and economic change."

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. The current membership comprises more than 1,900 colleges, universities, and educational organizations, including 200 corporations, with 15,000 active members. EDUCAUSE has offices in Boulder, CO, and Washington, DC. Learn more about EDUCAUSE at



In August the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College launched the Academic Commons -- a website offering "a forum for investigating and defining the role that technology can play in liberal arts education." In addition to publishing essays and reviews and showcasing innovative projects, the site also offers the Developer's Kit, an area for sharing project descriptions and pieces of code, and LoLa Exchange, which shares high-quality learning objects. The Academic Commons is available at .

The mission of the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College is "to explore, test, and promote liberal arts education . . . [and] to ensure that the nature and value of liberal arts education is widely understood and to reestablish the central place of the liberal arts in higher education."

For more information about the Center: email: ; Web: .



The July 2005 issue of CIT Infobits presented a roundup of articles on computer games as learning tools ("Games Children Play," ). For more on this topic, see the special issue of INNOVATE (vol. 1, issue 6, August/September 2005) which is devoted to the "role of video game technology in current and future educational settings." Papers include:

"What Would a State of the Art Instructional Video Game Look Like?" by J. P. Gee, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Changing the Game: What Happens When Video Games Enter the Classroom?" by Kurt Squire, Assistant Professor of Educational Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Game-Informed Learning: Applying Computer Game Processes to Higher Education" by Michael Begg, David Dewhurst, and Hamish Macleod, University of Edinburgh

The entire issue is available online at . You may need to register on the Innovate website to access papers; there is no charge for registration and access.

Innovate [ISSN 1552-3233] is a bimonthly, peer-reviewed online periodical published by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University. The journal focuses on the creative use of information technology (IT) to enhance educational processes in academic, commercial, and government settings. Readers can comment on articles, share material with colleagues and friends, and participate in open forums. For more information, contact James L. Morrison, Editor-in-Chief, Innovate;
email: ; Web: .

Bob Jensen's threads on edutainment and learning games (including video games) are at 

Important Distance Education Site
The Sloan Consortium ---
The purpose of the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines.

January 25, 2005 message from News Update [

Internet Study Predicts Aptitude Will Drive Class Composition

A sweeping survey of nearly 1,300 technology experts and scholars on the future of the Internet has concluded - not surprisingly - that the Internet would reach into and influence every corner of American life over the next 10 years. The study, released under the auspices of Elon University and the Pew Internet & American Life Project, paints a picture of a digital future that enhances the lives of many but which also contains some worrisome notes.

For instance, over half of the respondents predicted the Internet would spawn "a new age of creativity" and that formal education would incorporate more online classes, with students grouped by interests and skills, rather than by age. At the same time, two-thirds predicted a devastating attack on the country's network infrastructure would occur or in the next 10 years, and that government and business surveillance would rise dramatically.

Full results of the survey can be found on the Web at 

TechKnowLogia --- 

TechKnowLogia is an international online journal that provides policy makers, strategists, practitioners and technologists at the local, national and global levels with a strategic forum to:

Explore the vital role of different information technologies (print, audio, visual and digital) in the development of human and knowledge capital;
Share policies, strategies, experiences and tools in harnessing technologies for knowledge dissemination, effective learning, and efficient education services;
Review the latest systems and products of technologies of today, and peek into the world of tomorrow; and
Exchange information about resources, knowledge networks and centers of expertise.
  • Do Technologies Enhance Learning?
  • Brain Research, Learning and Technology
  • Technologies at Work for: Critical Thinking, Science Instruction, Teaching Practices, etc...
  • Interactive TV as an Educational Tool
  • Complexity of Integrating ICTs into Curriculum & Exams
  • Use of Digital Cameras to Enhance Learning
  • Creating Affordable Universal Internet Access

Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at

Corporations are starting to salivate over grid computing's potential for massive storage and processing power. Its creators -- tech and science geeks -- look forward to a new era ---,1377,57231,00.html 

For years, connecting university and research-center supercomputers so they could share resources simply wasn't feasible. New standards are changing that and opening the door to new research possibilities ---,1377,57265,00.html 

Answer 2  --- The Intellectual Supermarket as Conceived Today by 
                      Fathom (Columbia University and its Fathom Partners)

"The Intellectual Supermarket," by Ada Demb, Educause Review, July/August 2002, pp. 12-22 --- 

Higher education requires a new model, one that can operate alongside the old model but that will expand the capacity and explode the boundaries of the industry with its new assumptions:

  1. Higher education can be accessed directly by any individual, without the intermediary of an institution.  Supported by technology, higher education can achieve society's long-term goal of population-wide, universal access.
  2. The demand for educational programming will far exceed the capacity of current institutions.  Designers of educational programs are unlikely to know the characteristics of the learners who will be accessing their material.
  3. Educational programming will be of a more general nature--modularized and accessible to a general audience, much as is television.
  4. In the context of lifelong learning, individuals will seek education intermittently, as somewhat unrelated "events," over a  much longer timeframe than is commonly associated even with part-time degree work.  The learner's objectives are likely to be situationally defined by personal or professional knowledge needs.
  5. Attracted by this potential market, and enabled by the lower barriers to entry, new providers will enter the market--providers from outside the current educational system.
  6. The value of a brand name will be determined by the value to the learner as much as it will be by a third party that seeks certification.
  7. As a result, radically new ways of assessing and "certifying" learning outcomes will be needed.

The Supermarket Analogy

By contrast with the assumptions of the current system--a very orderly context in which quality has been tightly controlled--the proposed assumptions for the new model may appear to lead to a chaotic mix of undisciplined entrepreneurial efforts.  To examine whether this new model might be a future worth pursuing, we need a radical analogy for the higher education industry.  The analogy should be consistent with the new assumptions and should also raise provocative questions about possible future scenarios.  An unlikely possibility can offer insights and images for exploring this new territory: the food-retailing industry--in particular, the supermarket.  Nine characteristics of the supermarket yield a provocative comparison with higher education:

  1. Most products in the supermarket can be characterized as commodities: there is a minimum standard of quality the product must meet in order to be fit for sale; beyond that minimum, competition occurs on the basis of price and of perceived differences in quality.  Profit margins on individual products are very small; profits are generated by volume of sales.
  2. The supermarket manager and the customer are always looking for better-tasting, cheaper, more-nutritious goods yielding larger profit margins.
  3. The supermarket represents the quintessential example of the movement from full-service to self-service.  The customer chooses the fruit, weighs the fruit, packages the fruit, and then takes the fruit to the check-out line to pay.
  4. The supermarket does not take responsibility for the quality of the customer's diet or overall physical or financial health.  The supermarket offers a fantastic array of goods, but it is up to the customer to make order from that array and to select items that form some sort of coherent diet or meal plan.
  5. The supermarket tailors its product line to the geographic area it serves, but generally it offers both low- and high-end products.
  6. The customer's safety and capacity for judgment are supported by related regulation and markets: (a) the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state departments of health, which oversee the food supply from point of origin through processing and packaging to store delivery and purchase; (b) labeling, which details the nutritional value of foods on packaged goods as required by law; and (c) nutrition, food, and diet consumer education, which is supplied through a variety of media, including schools, public programming, and private publishing groups such as hospitals and for-profit publications on diet and health.
  7. Consumers can turn to a range of services for more personalized attention, from health spas to personal nutritional advisors, books and magazines, or simply restaurants.
  8. Brand names, including supermarket brands, are related to quality and are supported by both research and advertising.  They are evaluated by independent consumer groups, although not systematically.
  9. Food producers and processors are, for the most part, independent of the distribution system in the United States.  The "system" that has brought Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup into supermarkets for almost one hundred years is held together by buyer-supplier market relationships.

The power of the supermarket analogy is revealed more fully when undergraduate education and lifelong learning skills are considered separately from graduate education or professional certification.  Undergraduate education as presently offered in the United States is a commodity.  The larger higher education institutions opened up access and kept costs (and therefore tuition) down by creating lecture courses that could accommodate many students at one time.  Even when these lecture courses are broken down into recitation sessions or when these institutions hire more faculty to offer smaller classes, the basic curriculum remains the same.  This is "mass education"--higher education in the manner of Henry Ford.  There are certain minimum standards that must be met; however, beyond those, students are choosing on the basis of price and perceived differences in brand names.  Separating undergraduate education into its two primary components--general education and the major--and then applying the perspective of the supermarket analogy leads to some startling conclusions about possible transformations of the production and distribution system for higher education at the undergraduate level.

Continued at 

To this I might add the increasing movement for colleges and universities to offer certificate programs in addition to traditional degree programs.  In Fall 2002, the graduate school of business at the University of Rochester commenced a six-course certificate program to complement its two-year MBA program.  Major universities such as Stanford University, Columbia University, and Carnegie-Mellon are now trading on their prestige names to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in training programs, especially in computer science, engineering, and information technology training courses.  Virtually all of the top business schools have executive development certificate programs both onsite and online.  

By the Year 2025, traditional degree programs may account for less than ten percent of the revenues of major universities who become part of the trend for education as well as training certificates.  The "traditional one-size fits all" bachelor, masters, and PhD degrees will fade in importance as resumes of the future will be built upon education achievement certificates in humanities, science, and the professions.

Top Ten Emerging Technologies According to CFO Magazine

2. Business Intelligence
3. Wireless Connectivity
4. Grid Computing
5. Multivariable Testing (MVT)
6. Digital Cryptography
7. Rich Media
8. Internet2
9. Biometrics
10. Small Technology

I used the following quotation in 1994 at 

No one has been more wrong about computerization than George Orwell in 1984. So far, nearly everything about the actual possibility-space that computers have created indicates they are not the beginning of authority but its end. In the process of connecting everything to everything, computers elevate the power of the small player. They make room for the different, and they reward small innovations. Instead of enforcing uniformity, they promote heterogeneity and autonomy. Instead of sucking the soul from human bodies, turning computer users into an army of dull colons, networked computers --- by reflecting the networked nature of our brains --- encourage the humanism of their users. Because they have taken on the flexibility, adaptability, and self-connecting governance of organic systems, we become more human, not less so, when we use them. 
                                                                                           Birkerts, S. (1994). “The electric hive: two views,” Readings, May, 17-25.

August 23, 2002 reply from Miklos Vasarhelyi [miklosv@ANDROMEDA.RUTGERS.EDU

Education and its future Prospects (Trends)


  • Consolidation of educational institutions (universities will merge) 
  • States will tend to bring its several university entities together · Super state consortia will emerge · There will be a “career university sector” with 
    • For profit universities 
    • Virtual Universities (associated or not with existing ones) · 
  • New copyright policies, royalties for distance learning a la the sale of a book 
    • Faculty that develop a course will have royalties rights to it 
    • Universities will have the right, without paying royalties, to use these courses either locally or in any extended activities 
  • Organizations will have to emerge to take education to the outer limits of current civilization 
    • The economics are such that the incremental cost of providing usage over broadband of highly sophisticated learning materials is very small 
    • Consequently once packages are assembled, and their production is very expensive, their marginal cost of utilization is close to zero 

    • Consequently model will emerge from free to free for ‘used materials’, to name your price, to pay over your professional career 

    • Content pricing models as currently evolving over the net and e commerce will also rule education 

    • Some states may decided to develop or acquire educational content and make it available for free 

  • Alternate professor’s career will emerge 
    • Tenure will become less common 
    • A  large number of faculty will emerge as supporting faculty for modules prepared and delivered from elsewhere


  • Extensive usage of distance methods to ‘extend the classroom’ even in traditional courses 
  • Usage of mixed extended medium with many tools 
  • Change in the nature of faculty control 
    • Less prep time 
    • Modularized content re-used in different modules 
    • Different delivery approaches 
  • Separation of content and delivery 
    • The best deliverers are not the best content preparers 
    • Substantive investment in packaging the modules (that will go into several courses) · 
  • Link between courses and content for courses will be broken 
    • Package and offer content resources in varying sizes and depths in unlimited combinations 
    • Publishers are moving now to build large databases of content on the Web 
    • These databases of content are attractive portals for discipline knowledge · 
  • The nature of assessment will substantially change from block tests to micro testing and learning diagnostic tools that dynamically change the students tasks based on the measurement of their progress thru the distance learning materials 
    •  There will be tremendous demand for the development of both intelligent learning assessment tools (e.g. devices that can read an open ended exam answer, comment on it and assess it) and information / knowledge structure along which atoms of knowledge can be measured and learning modules re-required for students.


  • Teaching and learning management software systems will be linked to their back office administrative systems 
    • Web course management tool 
    • Student tracking and collaboration tools 
  • An entire suite of learning aids, personal bots will emerge 
    •  Personal digital assistants 
    • Summarizers, finders, connectors, learners 
  • The wide gulf between students and practitioners will be narrowed by education coming to the desktop and practicing experts made available for testimonials, examples, actual observation of behavior through broadband methods 
    • For example a lesson about geology and oil exploration may bring students to visually observe man at work on oil platforms, or drilling, or analyzing data, etc. 
    • For example, while discussing strategy for companies the CEO’s of these companies can be brought in through broadband to state their views or video prepared showing facilities, products, customers buying, etc..
  •  Translation automation will allow for substantial expansion of content markets. 
    •  Language will continue to be a barrier for ubiquitous education · Physical libraries will be transformed into study areas for students in residential colleges (much reduced in number) while enormous digital libraries with most books also encompassing video and audio and collaboration settings will be made available for students everywhere


  • Highly more specialized researchers and content developers will complement each other
  • Subsidy for research thru blind funding of faculty salaries will become more difficult once legislators realize that much of the delivery will come form elsewhere


  • Tools for teaching and learning will become as portable and ubiquitous as papers and books are today 
    • Teaching and learning anywhere any time 
    • A larger percentage of content will age rapidly 
  • Alternate models for paying for education will evolve with less of government subsidies and more on the desk training paid by employers 
  • Students will be savvy consumers with substantive amount of choice 
    •  Increased level of student activism 
    • Degrees may be obtained with a much increased level of institutional mix (courses from multiple universities) 
    • Learning is moving off campus: to the home, the workplace, the field, or wherever the learner is 
    • Students will pick up and piece together certifications, skill sets, and knowledge sets


Answer 3 --- Podcasting and Blogs

Weblog (Blog) 

 Weblog = Blog = What?

Also see Podcasting at

Answer from ---

A Weblog (which is sometimes written as "web log" or "weblog") is a Web site of personal or non-commercial origin that uses a dated log format that is updated on a daily or very frequent basis with new information about a particular subject or range of subjects. The information can be written by the site owner, gleaned from other Web sites or other sources, or contributed by users. A 

Web log often has the quality of being a kind of "log of our times" from a particular point-of-view. Generally, Weblogs are devoted to one or several subjects or themes, usually of topical interest, and, in general, can be thought of as developing commentaries, individual or collective on their particular themes. A Weblog may consist of the recorded ideas of an individual (a sort of diary) or be a complex collaboration open to anyone. Most of the latter are moderated discussions.

Listing of Accounting Blogs
 Among the millions of Web logs permeating the Internet, there are some by and for accountants worth checking out. This article includes an Accounting Blog List that you can download, bookmark or print.
 Eva M. Lang, "Accountants Who Blog," SmartPros, July 2005 ---


Bloggers will love TagCloud
 Now, many bloggers are turning to a new service called TagCloud that lets them cherry-pick articles in RSS feeds by key words -- or tags -- that appear in those feeds. The blogger selects the RSS feeds he or she wants to use, and also selects tags. When a reader clicks on a tag, a list of links to articles from the feeds containing the chosen keyword appears. The larger the tag appears onscreen, the more articles are listed.
 Daniel Terdiman, "RSS Service Eases Bloggers' Pain," Wired News, June 27, 2005 ---,1282,67989,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_8

Weblog software use grows daily -- but bloggers abandon sites and launch new ones as frequently as J.Lo goes through boyfriends. Which makes taking an accurate blog count tricky ---,1284,54740,00.html 

Some eight million Americans now publish blogs and 32 million people read them, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. What began as a form of public diary-keeping has become an important supplement to a business's online strategy: Blogs can connect with consumers on a personal level -- and keep them visiting a company's Web site regularly.
Riva Richmond, "Blogs Keep Internet Customers Coming Back," The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2005; Page B8 ---,,SB110963746474866537,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 

Want to start your own blog?     BlogBridge --- 

What Blogs Cost American Business, Ad Age
 What Blogs Cost American Business In 2005, Employees Will Waste 551,000 Work Years Reading ThemBy Bradley Johnson LOS ANGELES ( -- Blog this: U.S. workers in 2005 will waste the equivalent of 551,000 years reading blogs. About 35 million workers -- one in four people in the labor force -- visit blogs and on average spend 3.5 hours, or 9%, of the work week engaged with them, according to Advertising Age's analysis. Time spent in the office on non-work blogs this year will take up the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs. Forget lunch breaks -- bloggers essentially take a daily...
 Bradley Johnson, "What Blogs Cost American Business, Ad Age, October 25, 2005 ---

Time Magazine's choice of the 50 Coolest Websites for 2005 ---

How do we come up with our 50 best? Short answer: we take your suggestions, probe friends and colleagues about their favorite online haunts and then surf like mad. This year's finalists are a mix of newcomers, new discoveries and veterans that have learned some new tricks

The List: Arts & Entertainment
The List: Blogs
The List: Lifestyle, Health & Hobbies
The List: News & Information
The List: Shopping


Does blogging hurt my chances for advancement?

See "Serious Bloggers," by Jeff Rice, Inside Higher Ed, February 20, 2006 ---


Blog Navigation Software
 Blog Navigator is a new program that makes it easy to read blogs on the Internet. It integrates into various blog search engines and can automatically determine RSS feeds from within properly coded websites.
 Blog Navigator 1.2

It's easy to start your own blog.  Jim Mahar's great blog was set up at
You too can set one up for free like Jim had done.
 There are many other alternatives other than for setting up a free blog.  See below.

BlogBridge --- 

Microsoft will open a free consumer blogging service, its latest attempt to attract more users to its MSN online service and away from rivals such as Google.

A four-letter term that came to symbolize the difference between old and new media during this year's presidential campaign tops U.S. dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster's list of the 10 words of the year.
What is that word?


The other nine top words are discussed at CNN, November 30, 2004 --- 

April 22, 2005 letter from Amy Dunbar [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]

I would like some advice on what news aggregator to use for RSS feeds.  I read the BusinessWeek Online article on blogs this morning, and it piqued my interest

 The BusinessWeek Online blog,  gave a link to various blog RSS feed in a side menu:

 Is anyone using blogs in classes?  Any advice on how to set up links to RSS feeds?

Amy Dunbar

Reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Amy,

I don’t use blogs in class and only find time to visit a few each week

For RSS feeds, look at the left hand column at  

 Bob Jensen 

"MBA Blogs," Business Week, September 12, 2005 --- 

You're invited you to join BW Online's new MBA Blog feature as a guest blogger

STORY TOOLS Printer-Friendly Version E-Mail This Story

Our upcoming MBA Blog feature is an online community where you can interact and share your pursuits of an MBA, job search, life as a grad student, and much more. Whether you want to create your own web log online, exchange advice, or launch a professional network - come join our MBA Blog ---


The innovation that sends blogs zinging into the mainstream is RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. Five years ago, a blogger named Dave Winer, working with software originally developed by Netscape, created an easy-to-use system to turn blogs, or even specific postings, into Web feeds. With this system, a user could subscribe to certain blogs, or to key words, and then have all the relevant items land at a single destination. These personalized Web pages bring together the music and video the user signs up for, in addition to news. They're called "aggregators." For now, only about 5% of Internet users have set them up. But that number's sure to rise as Yahoo and Microsoft plug them.
 Business Week, April 22, 2005 --- ,  

"Controversy at Warp Speed," by Jeffrey Selingo, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 29, 2005, Page A27

The deluge of messages left Mr. Corrigan wondering how so many people had found out about such a small skirmish on his campus.  So his assistant poked around on the Web and discovered that six days after the protest, a liberal blog ( run by the San Francisco Independent Media Center had posted an article headlined "Defend Free Speech Rights at San Francisco State University" that included Mr. Corrigan's e-mail address.

It was not the first time that Mr. Corrigan has been electronically inundated after a campus incident.  Three years ago he received 3,000 e-mail messages after a pro-Israel rally was held at the university.


Conflicts on campus are nothing new, of course.  But colleges today are no longer viewed as ivory towers.  Institutions of all sizes and types are under greater scrutiny than ever before from lawmakers, parents, taxpayers, students, alumni, and especially political partisans.  Empowered by their position or by the fact that they sign the tuition checks, they do not hesitate to use any available forum to complain about what is happening at a particular institution.

In this Internet age, information travels quickly and easily, and colleges have become more transparent, says Collin G. Brooke, an assistant professor of writing at Syracuse University, who studies the intersection between rhetoric and technology.  Many universities' Web sites list the e-mail addresses of every employee, from the president on down, enabling unencumbered access to all of them.

"That was not possible 10 years ago," Mr. Brooke says.  "Maybe I'd go to a library, find a college catalog, and get an address.  Then I'd have to write a letter.  Now it's easy to whip off a couple of sentences in an e-mail when it takes only a few seconds to find that person's address."
Continued in article


Student Blogs

"What Your College Kid Is Really Up To," by Steven Levy, Time Magazine, December 13, 2004, Page 12

Aaron Swartz was nervous when I went to interview him.  I know this is not because he told me, but because he said so on his student blog a few days afterward.  Swartz is one of millions of people who mainstream an Internet-based Weblog that allows one to punch in daily experiences as easily as banging out diary entries with a word processor.  Swartz says the blog is meant to help him remember his experiences during an important time for him --- freshman year at Stanford.  But this opens up a window to the rest of us.

Continued in the article.


"Microsoft Begins Free 'Blogging'," by Robert A. Guth, The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2004, Page D7 ---,,SB110194455538888633,00.html?mod=technology_main_whats_news 

Microsoft Corp. today will open a free consumer "blogging" service, its latest attempt to attract more users to its MSN online service and away from rivals such as Google Inc.

Called MSN Spaces, the service will allow consumers to create Web logs, or blogs, that include pictures, music and text. Blogs are personal Web sites and opinion journals that have gained popularity in recent years. Early blogs focused largely on technology and politics, but millions of computer users have now at least experimented with the form.

It's been said that newspapers write the first draft of history, but now there are blogs. These days, online scribes often get the news before it's fit to print ---,1284,56978,00.html 

Blogs Help You Cope With Data Overload -- If You Manage Them," by Thomas E. Weber, The Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2004, Page B1 ---,,personal_technology,00.html 

If you're an information junkie, you've probably discovered the appeal of reading weblogs, those online journals that mix commentary with links to related sites. Obsessive blog creators scour the Internet for interesting tidbits in news stories, announcements and even other blogs, culling the best and posting links. A good blog is like the friend who always points out the best stories in the newspaper.

More and more, though, the growth of blogs is increasing rather than reducing information overload. By some estimates, the number of blogs out there is nearing three million. It isn't just amateurs either: Start-up media companies are creating blogs, too. Gawker, for example, publishes the gadgets journal Gizmodo ( ) and Wonkette ( ), devoted to inside-the-Beltway gossip.

To help juggle all those blogs, I've started playing around with a relatively new phenomenon called a newsreader. Rather than forcing you to jump from one blog to another to keep up with new entries, newsreaders bring together the latest postings from your favorite blogs in a single place.

That's possible because many blogs now publish their entries as news "feeds." These are Web formats that make it easy for a newsreader program (or another Web site) to grab and manipulate individual postings. For a blog publisher, it's like sending out entries on a news wire service. To tell whether a site offers a news feed, look for a small icon labeled "RSS" or "Atom."

I've tested a number of popular newsreaders. At their best, they give you a customized online newspaper that tracks the blogs you're interested in. But using them is only worthwhile if you're willing to invest some time upfront getting organized.

Newsreaders come in several varieties. One is a stand-alone software program you install on your PC. In that category, FeedDemon ($29.95 from Bradbury Software) is especially powerful, with extensive options for customizing the way news feeds appear on your screen.

Other newsreaders integrate news feeds into your e-mail on the theory that mail has become the catchall information center for many users. NewsGator ($29 from NewsGator Technologies) pulls feeds into Microsoft Outlook, while Oddpost ( combines blog feeds with an excellent Web-based e-mail service for $30 a year. For Mac users, Apple just announced it will include newsreader functions in the next version of its Safari Web browser -- a sign of how important the news-feed approach is becoming.

Overall, I had the best experience with a service called Bloglines, and I recommend it, especially for beginners. Bloglines ( works as a Web service, which means there's no software to install and you can catch up with your blogs from any Web browser. You're no longer tied to the bookmarks on a particular PC, so you can check postings from home, work or on the road. The service is also free. Mark Fletcher, CEO of Trustic Inc., which operates Bloglines, tells me the site will use unobtrusive Google-style ads to bring in revenue.

After starting an account, you enter the blogs you want to track. When you visit Bloglines, your blog list will appear on the left side of the screen, along with a notation telling the number of new postings since your last visit; clicking on a blog pulls the new postings into a right-side window. The beauty of this is that you don't waste time visiting blogs that haven't posted new entries.

Of course, it's all pointless without interesting blogs to read. The best way to find great blogs is to follow your curiosity, tracking back links on blogs you visit. Here are a few to get you started:

GENERAL INTEREST: Boing Boing ( is one of the Web's most established blogs, and one of its most popular, too. By "general interest," I mean of general interest to your average Internet-obsessed technophile. The focus isn't explicitly on technology, but expect it to skew in that direction -- over a recent week, posting topics included robots, comic books and a cool-looking electric plug.

ECONOMICS: EconLog ( offers a thoughtful and eclectic diary of economics, tackling both newsy developments (the real-estate market, taxes) and theory. It also includes a list of other good economics blogs -- there are more than you might think.

GADGETS: Engadget ( can be counted on for a good half-dozen or more news morsels each day on digital cameras, MP3 players, cellphones and more. When it isn't the first to stumble across something good, it isn't shy about linking to another blog with an interesting post, so it's usually pretty up to date.

POLITICS: WatchBlog ( has stuck with an interesting concept for more than a year now. It's actually three blogs in one: separate side-by-side journals tracking news on the 2004 elections from the perspective of Democrats, Republicans and independents.

TECHNOLOGY: Lessig Blog ( OK, this one's about politics too. More specifically, it covers the intersection between regulation and technology. Its author, Stanford law professor and author Lawrence Lessig, weighs in on copyright, privacy and other challenging topics in high-tech society.

Blogging we will, blogging we will go!  In Iran?
So what would a really interesting and exciting piece of qualitative research on blogging look like? And how would it get around the problems of overfamiliarity with the phenomenon (on the one hand) and blogospheric navel-gazing (on the other)? To get an answer, it isn’t necessary to speculate. Just read “The Vulgar Spirit of Blogging: On Language, Culture, and Power in Persian Weblogestan,” by Alireza Doostdar, which appears in the current issue of American Anthropologist. A scanned copy is available here. The author is now working at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, where he will start work on his Ph.D. in social anthropology and Middle Eastern studies.  “Weblogestan” is an Iranian online slang term for the realm of Persian-language blogs. (The time has definitely come for it to be adapted, and adopted, into Anglophone usage.) Over the last two years, Western journalists have looked at blogging as part of the political and cultural ferment in Iran — treating it, predictably enough, as a simple manifestation of the yearning for a more open society. Doostdar complicates this picture by looking at what we might call the borders of Veblogestan (to employ a closer transliteration of the term, as used specifically to name Iranian blogging). In an unpublished manuscript he sent me last week, Doostdar provides a quick overview of the region’s population: “There are roughly 65,000 active blogs in Veblogestan,” he writes, “making Persian the fourth language for blogs after English, Portugese, and French. The topics for blog entries include everything from personal diaries, expressions of spirituality, and works of experimental poetry and fiction to film criticism, sports commentary, social critique, and of course political analysis. Some bloggers focus on only one of these topics throughout the life of their blogs, while others write about a different topic in every new entry, or even deal with multiple topics within a single entry.”
Scott McLemee , "Travels in Weblogestan," Inside Higher Ed, March 29, 2005 --- 


Top Executives Are Finding Great Advantages to Using and Running Blogs


"It's Hard to Manage if You Don't Blog Business embraces the new medium as executives read—and write—blogs,"  by David Kirkpatrick, Fortune Magazine, October 4, 2004 ---,15114,699971,00.html 


Jonathan Schwartz, president and COO of Sun Microsystems, has recently criticized statements by Intel executives, mused that IBM might buy Novell, and complained about a article—all by writing a blog on a Sun website.

Yep, blogs—which are a way to post text to a website—have found their way into business. Schwartz is the highest-ranking executive yet to embrace the new medium, which is burgeoning globally. About 35,000 people read his blog ( in a typical month, including customers, employees, and 

competitors. Schwartz encourages all Sun's 32,000 employees to blog, though only about 100 are doing it so far. But they include at least three senior managers other than Schwartz as well as development engineers and marketers.

The company's most popular blogger is a marketer known as MaryMaryQuiteContrary. Her blog ranges from rhapsodies about "proxy-based aspect-oriented programming" to musings about her desire to become a first-grade class mother. Says Schwartz: "I don't have the advertising budget to get our message to, for instance, Java developers working on handset applications for the medical industry. But one of our developers, just by taking time to write a blog, can do a great job getting our message out to a fanatic readership." He adds, "Blogs are no more mandated at Sun than e-mail. But I have a hard time seeing how a manager can be effective without both."

Over at Microsoft, some 1,000 employees blog, says a spokesman, though no top executives do. Robert Scoble, Microsoft's most prominent blogger, says via e-mail that "I often link to bloggers who are not friendly to Microsoft. They know I'm listening, and that alone improves relationships." Other tech companies with company blogs include Yahoo, Google, Intuit, and Even Maytag has a blog.

But businesses are learning—sometimes the hard way—that this new medium has pitfalls. David Farrell, Sun's chief compliance officer, notes that the company will soon require employees to agree to specific guidelines before starting blogs. Companies are also worried about unflattering portrayals and leaks. Last year a Microsoft contract employee posted a photo of the company receiving a dockful of Apple computers; he was promptly fired. A Harvard administrator and a software developer at Friendster were also recently fired after personal blog postings. (Microsoft, Harvard, and Friendster declined to comment.)

But some managers find that even more important than writing blogs is reading them. During a recent conference for Microsoft software developers, top company executives huddled backstage reading up-to-the-minute blogs written by the audience to get a sense of how their messages were being received.

While most people agree on Web logs' value for promoting student expression and critical thinking in schools, there's no consensus on the amount of control over access and content that educators should exercise.  Blogs may become more of an issue in college courses when and if students begin to keep Weblogs of day to day classes, teacher evaluations, and course content.

"Classroom Blogs Raise Issues of Access and Privacy," by Kevin J. Delaney, The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2004 ---,,SB109882944704656461,00.html?mod=technology%5Ffeatured%5Fstories%5Fhs 

First graders at Magnolia Elementary School used a Web log earlier this year to describe their dream playgrounds. Monkey bars were heartily endorsed, and live animals and bumper cars also made the cut.

Students in a handful of other classes at the Joppa, Md., school also used blogs, some trading riddles about book characters with peers at a school in Michigan.

Now, county administrators have frozen the use of blogs in the classroom amid concerns about oversight of what students might post online. Michael Lackner, a teacher who jump-started blog use at Magnolia last year, is optimistic that a technological fix will be found.

But the school's experience highlights some of the issues that educators and parents face as blogs -- simple Web sites that follow a diary-like format -- gain entry into the nation's classrooms. While most agree on blogs' value for promoting student expression, critical thinking and exchange, there's no consensus on the amount of control over access and content that educators should exercise. As blogging spreads, it could revive debates over student expression similar to those that have cropped up around school newspapers.

The issues surrounding blogging and related technology in the classroom are "pretty much uncharted," says Will Richardson, an educational-blogging advocate and supervisor of instructional technology and communications at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, N.J.

The use of blogs in schools remains limited but is growing, as scattered programs piloted by tech-savvy educators generate buzz and followers. Teachers are attracted to blogging for some of the same reasons blog use has exploded among techies, political commentators and would-be pundits. Blogs are cheap, thanks to free or inexpensive software packages and services -- Hunterdon, for example, pays just $499 a year for software to run hundreds of student blogs. And their simple format makes them easy to set up. Using tools from Six Apart Ltd., Google Inc. and others, consumers can create a blog in less than 10 minutes and post messages to it over the Web or by e-mail. By some estimates, five million or more Americans already have created their own blogs, with some prominent bloggers even influencing the news and political agendas.

Students in Mr. Richardson's high-school journalism classes, for example, never turn in hard copies of their homework. They post all assignments to individual blogs. Their blogs also notify them when other students complete writing assignments, so they can read and comment on them.

Meredith Fear, 17 years old, has created two blogs for classes taught by Mr. Richardson. The 12th grader says posting her work online for others to see motivated her to do better and increased her parents' involvement in her education. "I don't often get a chance to talk with her about school, so having the opportunity to check her blog and see what she was up to was a great way for me to keep up on things," says Jonathan Fear, Meredith's father. He adds that was one factor in overcoming his wife's original concerns that ill-intentioned outsiders could see Meredith's writings through the blog.

Recognizing such worries, some teachers at Hunterdon protect blogs with passwords so only they and their students can see them, particularly for creative-writing classes for which the subject matter is more likely to be personal. There are other blogging precautions: Parents have to sign releases giving permission, and only students' first names are used online. Mr. Richardson says the school has hosted more than 500 student blogs in the past three years without incident.

Mr. Richardson is planning a session with parents later this fall to teach them about the technology and set up blogs and Web-text feeds so they can gain access to a broader range of information from teachers and see what their children are up to. "Kids like it. And I can see more enhanced learning on their part," Mr. Richardson says.

At Magnolia, teachers were happy with their classroom blogging and had plans to expand it this school year. But Harford County public school officials notified them this summer that such projects appeared to fall afoul of policies regulating student communication. In particular, they were concerned that students and others could post comments to the blogs before they were reviewed by a teacher.

"What we want to see is a Web log where a teacher has final control, acts as a filter for any postings or comments," says Janey Mayo, technology coordinator for Harford County Public Schools. "We're trying to be very cautious with this because we're working with kids." School administrators also want to see further research on whether blogging has educational value at the elementary-school level, but so far haven't found any.

Mr. Lackner believes there is potentially a quick technical fix to the problem: A blogging service could add a function that would forward any online comments to a teacher for review before posting them.

Continued in the article


July 1, 2004 message from Carolyn Kotlas [


According to David Huffaker (in "The Educated Blogger: Using Weblogs to Promote Literacy in the Classroom," FIRST MONDAY, vol. 9, no. 6, June 2004), "blogs can be an important addition to educational technology initiatives because they promote literacy through storytelling, allow collaborative learning, provide anytime–anywhere access, and remain fungible across academic disciplines." In support of his position, Huffaker provides several examples of blogs being used in classroom settings. The paper is available online at

First Monday [ISSN 1396-0466] is an online, peer-reviewed journal whose aim is to publish original articles about the Internet and the global information infrastructure. It is published in cooperation with the University Library, University of Illinois at Chicago. For more information, contact: First Monday, c/o Edward Valauskas, Chief Editor, PO Box 87636, Chicago IL 60680-0636 USA; email:; Web:


Suzanne Cadwell and Chuck Gray of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill's Center for Instructional Technology have compiled two feature comparison tables that describe three blogging services and four blogging applications.

Blogging Services Feature Comparison

Using a blogging service generally doesn't require any software other than a web browser. Users have no administrative control over the software itself, but have some control over a blog's organization and appearance. Depending on the particular service, blogs can be hosted either on the service’s servers or on the server of one’s choice (e.g., Users purchasing a paid account with a service typically will have no banner ads on their blogs, more features at their disposal, and better customer support from the service. The Blogging Services Feature Comparison chart is available

Blogging Applications Comparison

Downloadable blogging applications require the user to have access to server space (e.g., Most of these applications are comprised of CGI scripts that must be installed and configured in a user’s cgi-bin folder. Although they are packaged with detailed instructions, applications can be difficult to install, prohibitively so for the novice. Blogging applications afford users fine-grained control over their blogs, and most applications are open-source or freeware. The Blogging Applications Comparison chart is available at


What services are available to help you create a blog?

Answer from Kevin Delaney

"Blogs Can Tie Families, And These Services Will Get You Started," by Kevin J. Delaney, The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2004, Page B1 ---,,personal_technology,00.html 

Online Web logs, or blogs, have long been a bastion of techy types, those prone to political rants, and assorted gossips. But now they're making inroads among families who want to keep up on each other's doings.

Blogs are personal Web sites where you can post things, including photos, stories and links to other cool stuff online. They resemble a journal, with information arranged chronologically based on when you post it. The simple form is a major virtue -- you don't have to think too hard about how to organize your blog.

I've used a variety of Web sites in recent years to share photos of my children with their grandparents and other family far way. Lately, I've wondered if it wouldn't be better to put photos, digital videos and other links I want to share with my family on one Web site, making it easier to manage and access them from afar.

With this in mind, I've been testing three of the most popular blogging services, which are available free or for a small monthly fee.

Blogger, a free service from Google at, promises you can create a blog in "three easy steps." After selecting a user name and password, I chose a name and a custom Web address. Then I selected a graphic look -- "Dots," a simple design with a touch of fun that seemed right for a family site -- from 12 attractive templates. After that, Blogger created my blog. Within a few minutes, I was able to put a short text message on the site and have Blogger send e-mails to alert my wife and father of the blog's existence.

Blogger, like the other services, lets you further customize the organization and look of your site and put several types of information on it. Sending text to the blog is as easy as sending an e-mail. (In fact, Blogger and the other services I tested even let me post text to my blog using standard e-mail.) A Blogger button on Google's toolbar software, which must be downloaded and activated separately, offers the useful option of posting links to other Web sites on your blog as you surf the Web. Another nice feature lets you designate friends or family members who can post to the main blog.

To put photos on any blog hosted by Blogger, you have to download another free software package from Picasa called Hello. Hello blocks connections to computers operating behind what's known as a proxy server, which is a pretty typical corporate configuration. As a result, I couldn't upload photos from my work PC, though I was able to do so from home.

Blogger lacks some advanced features other services offer. But its main shortcoming is that it doesn't let you protect your site by requiring visitors to use a password to enter. I don't want strangers to look at photos of my kids or search notes I'm writing for family members. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on any plans for such a feature, citing restrictions related to the company's planned initial public offering.

TypePad from Six Apart, at, provides a higher-powered service for creating blogs that does let you password protect your site. You can also upload a broader range of files, including video clips. But the tradeoff is a level of complexity that is unnecessarily frustrating.

The company offers three monthly subscription rates starting at $4.95. It costs $8.95 a month for the version that allows you to create photo albums, a feature that I consider essential for a family blog. Albums allow you to avoid filling up the main blog site with strings of photos. If you choose to password protect your blog, though, TypePad won't let you link your blog directly to photo albums. It's a surprising shortcoming, and Six Apart doesn't disclose it on its site. Its support staff gave me complicated instructions for another way to make such a link, but they never worked for me.

Six Apart Chief Executive Mena Trott says the photo-album-linking problem is a bug the company is working to fix. She acknowledges that parts of the service could be easier to use, and says improvements will be made. She also says that in practice Six Apart lets most users exceed the company's miserly limits on blog storage space, which are 100 megabytes for the $8.95-a-month plan.

AOL's Journals service, which requires an AOL subscription, is about as simple to use as Blogger. It allows you to restrict public access to your blog and provides nice albums for grouping photos. If you do decide to restrict access, your visitors will have to register with AOL. That registration is free, though, and many people already have an AOL "screen name" because they use the company's instant messaging service.

But other advanced features, such as the button in Blogger for easy linking to Web sites, are missing. In addition, the layout templates aren't nearly as attractive graphically as Blogger's and TypePad's. AOL says it's working on all of these issues, and expects to add a Web linking button and phase out the registration requirement later this year.

I'm not completely satisfied with Journals, and I would be happy to use Blogger or TypePad if they manage to work out their issues with photo albums and passwords. In the meantime, though, I've chosen AOL's Journals to create my family blog.

"WEBLOGS COME TO THE CLASSROOM," by Scott Carlson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 28, 2003, Page 33

They get used to supplement courses in writing, marketing, economics, and other subjects

Increasingly, private life is a public matter.  That seems especially true in the phenomenon known as blogging.  Weblogs, or blogs, are used by scores of online memoirists, editorialists, exhibitionists, and navel gazers, who post their daily thoughts on Web sites for all to read.

Now professors are starting to incorporate blogs into courses.  The potential for reaching an audience, they say, reshapes the way students approach writing assignments, journal entries, and online discussions.

Valerie M. Smith, an assistant professor of English at Quinnipiac University, is among the first faculty members there to use blogs.  She sets one up for each of her creative-writing students at the beginning of the semester.  The students are to add a new entry every Sunday at noon.  Then they read their peers' blogs and comment on them.  Parents or friends also occasionally read the blogs.

Blogging "raises issues with audience," Ms. Smith says, adding that the innovation has raised the quality of students' writing;

"They aren't just writing for me, which makes them think in terms of crafting their work for a bigger audience.  It gives them a bigger stake in what they are writing."

A Weblog can be public or available only to people selected by the blogger.  Many blogs serve as virtual loudspeakers or soapboxes.  Howard Dean, a Democratic presidential contender, has used a blog to debate and discuss issues with voters.  Some blogs have even earned their authors minor fame.  An Iraqi man--known only by a pseudonym, Salaam Pax--captured attention around the world when he used his blog to document daily life in Baghdad as American troops advanced on the city.

Continued in the article.

"Weblogs: a history and perspective," Rebecca Blood, Rebecca's Pocket, September 7, 2000 --- 

In 1998 there were just a handful of sites of the type that are now identified as weblogs (so named by Jorn Barger in December 1997). Jesse James Garrett, editor of Infosift, began compiling a list of "other sites like his" as he found them in his travels around the web. In November of that year, he sent that list to Cameron Barrett. Cameron published the list on Camworld, and others maintaining similar sites began sending their URLs to him for inclusion on the list. Jesse's 'page of only weblogs' lists the 23 known to be in existence at the beginning of 1999.

Suddenly a community sprang up. It was easy to read all of the weblogs on Cameron's list, and most interested people did. Peter Merholz announced in early 1999 that he was going to pronounce it 'wee-blog' and inevitably this was shortened to 'blog' with the weblog editor referred to as a 'blogger.'

At this point, the bandwagon jumping began. More and more people began publishing their own weblogs. I began mine in April of 1999. Suddenly it became difficult to read every weblog every day, or even to keep track of all the new ones that were appearing. Cameron's list grew so large that he began including only weblogs he actually followed himself. Other webloggers did the same. In early 1999 Brigitte Eaton compiled a list of every weblog she knew about and created the Eatonweb Portal. Brig evaluated all submissions by a simple criterion: that the site consist of dated entries. Webloggers debated what was and what was not a weblog, but since the Eatonweb Portal was the most complete listing of weblogs available, Brig's inclusive definition prevailed.

This rapid growth continued steadily until July 1999 when Pitas, the first free build-your-own-weblog tool launched, and suddenly there were hundreds. In August, Pyra released Blogger, and Groksoup launched, and with the ease that these web-based tools provided, the bandwagon-jumping turned into an explosion. Late in 1999 software developer Dave Winer introduced Edit This Page, and Jeff A. Campbell launched Velocinews. All of these services are free, and all of them are designed to enable individuals to publish their own weblogs quickly and easily.

The original weblogs were link-driven sites. Each was a mixture in unique proportions of links, commentary, and personal thoughts and essays. Weblogs could only be created by people who already knew how to make a website. A weblog editor had either taught herself to code HTML for fun, or, after working all day creating commercial websites, spent several off-work hours every day surfing the web and posting to her site. These were web enthusiasts.

Many current weblogs follow this original style. Their editors present links both to little-known corners of the web and to current news articles they feel are worthy of note. Such links are nearly always accompanied by the editor's commentary. An editor with some expertise in a field might demonstrate the accuracy or inaccuracy of a highlighted article or certain facts therein; provide additional facts he feels are pertinent to the issue at hand; or simply add an opinion or differing viewpoint from the one in the piece he has linked. Typically this commentary is characterized by an irreverent, sometimes sarcastic tone. More skillful editors manage to convey all of these things in the sentence or two with which they introduce the link (making them, as Halcyon pointed out to me, pioneers in the art and craft of microcontent). Indeed, the format of the typical weblog, providing only a very short space in which to write an entry, encourages pithiness on the part of the writer; longer commentary is often given its own space as a separate essay.

These weblogs provide a valuable filtering function for their readers. The web has been, in effect, pre-surfed for them. Out of the myriad web pages slung through cyberspace, weblog editors pick out the most mind-boggling, the most stupid, the most compelling.

But this type of weblog is important for another reason, I think. In Douglas Rushkoff's Media Virus, Greg Ruggerio of the Immediast Underground is quoted as saying, "Media is a corporate possession...You cannot participate in the media. Bringing that into the foreground is the first step. The second step is to define the difference between public and audience. An audience is passive; a public is participatory. We need a definition of media that is public in its orientation."

By highlighting articles that may easily be passed over by the typical web user too busy to do more than scan corporate news sites, by searching out articles from lesser-known sources, and by providing additional facts, alternative views, and thoughtful commentary, weblog editors participate in the dissemination and interpretation of the news that is fed to us every day. Their sarcasm and fearless commentary reminds us to question the vested interests of our sources of information and the expertise of individual reporters as they file news stories about subjects they may not fully understand.

Weblog editors sometimes contextualize an article by juxtaposing it with an article on a related subject; each article, considered in the light of the other, may take on additional meaning, or even draw the reader to conclusions contrary to the implicit aim of each. It would be too much to call this type of weblog "independent media," but clearly their editors, engaged in seeking out and evaluating the "facts" that are presented to us each day, resemble the public that Ruggerio speaks of. By writing a few lines each day, weblog editors begin to redefine media as a public, participatory endeavor

Continued at 

 The Weblog Tool Roundup, by Joshual Allen, Webmonkey, May 2, 2002 --- 

But then personal sites went from being static collections of bad poetry and award banners to constantly updated snippets of commentary, photography, sounds, bad poetry, and links. The popularity of this format grew (for a good primer on where weblogs came from and how they evolved, try Rebecca Blood's Weblogs: A History and Perspective), and people started building applications to simplify the process of maintaining a content-heavy personal site.

These applications have grown in number and sophistication over the years, and with some major upgrades appearing over the past few months (Blogger Pro, Movable Type 2.0, Radio UserLand 8.0), I thought the time was nigh to talk about what they do, why you might care, which one would best suit your needs, and how they can keep you company on those long, lonely nights, so empty since you were abandoned for someone who could write Perl scripts.

Continued at 

"Will the Blogs Kill Old Media?" by Steven Levy, Newsweek, May 20, 2002, Page 52

From Yahoo Picks of the Week on December 3, 2002 

Weblogs continue to grow in popularity, no doubt in part to their immediacy. Denizens of the Internet enjoy the opportunity to drop by and catch an up-to-the-minute account on their favorite blog. However, nothing is more frustrating than encountering a cobwebbed blog that hasn't been updated in weeks. To remedy such situations, this site offers a minute-by-minute account of over 50,000 weblogs. It doesn't get fresher than this! For utility's sake, the site offers a tiny java applet that sits on your desktop and continually refreshes, keeping the weblogs whirring. You can also stop by the most popular blogs to see what kind of content is piquing the interest of others. Whether you're a neophyte or veteran blogger, you're sure to find an intriguing site or two to scour.

Some time ago, Glenn Reynolds hardly qualified as plankton on the punditry food chain.  The 41-year-old law professor at the University of Tennessee would pen the occasional op-ed for the L.A. Times, but his name was unfamiliar to even the most fanatical news junkie.  All that began to change on Aug. 5 of last year, when Reynolds acquired the software to create a "Weblog," or "blog."  A blog is an easily updated Web site that works as an online daybook, consisting of links to interesting items on the Web, spur-of-the-moment observations and real-time reports on whatever captures the blogger's attention.  Reynold's original goal was to post witty observations on news events, but after September 11, he began providing links to fascinating articles and accounts of the crisis, and soon his site, called InstaPundit, drew thousands of readers--and kept growing.  He now gets more than 70,000 page views a day (he figures this means 23,000 real people).  Working at his two-year-old $400 computer, he posts dozens of items and links a day, and answers hundreds of e-mails.  PR flacks call him to cadge coverage.  And he's living a pundit's dream by being frequently cited--not just by fellow bloggers, but by media bigfeet.  He's blogged his way into the game.

Some say the game itself has changed.  InstaPundit is a pivotal site in what is known as the Blogosphere, a burgeoning samizdat of self-starters who attempt to provide in the aggregate an alternate media universe.  The putative advantage is that this one is run not by editors paid by corporate giants, but unbespoken outsiders--impassioned lefties and righties, fine-print-reading wonks, indignant cranks and salt-'o-the-earth eyewitnesses to the "real" life that the self-absorbed media often miss.  Hard-core bloggers, with a giddy fever not heard of since the Internet bubble popped, are even predicting that the Blogosphere is on a trajectory to eclipse the death-star-like dome of Big Media.  One blog avatar, Dave Winer (who probably would be saying this even if he didn't run a company that sold blogging software), has formally wagered that by 2007, more readers will get news from blogs than from The New York Times.  Taking him up on the bet is Martin Nisenholtz, head of the  Time's digital operations.

My guess is that Nisenholtz wins.  Blogs are a terrific addition to the media universe.  But they pose no threat to the established order.

Mobile weblogging, or moblogging, is the latest trend in the world of blogs. New software allows users to update their weblogs remotely with cell phones and other handheld devices ---,1382,57431,00.html 

The meteoric rise of weblogging is one of the most unexpected technology stories of the past year, and much like the commentary that populates these ever-changing digital diaries, the story of blogging keeps evolving.

One recent trend is "moblogging," or mobile weblogging. New tools like Manywhere Moblogger, Wapblog and FoneBlog allow bloggers to post information about the minutiae of their lives from anywhere, not just from a PC.

The newest of these tools, Kablog, lets users update their weblogs remotely with cell phones and other handheld devices like wireless PDAs.

Kablog works on any device running Java 2 Platform Micro Edition, or J2ME, a version of Java for mobile devices. Those devices include cell phones running the Symbian operating system, many Sprint PCS phones, the Blackberry from RIM, and many Palm handhelds running OS 3.5, such as Handspring's Treo.

Todd Courtois, creator of Kablog, offers the program for free as shareware and says that word-of-mouth has already generated several thousand downloads in the short time it has been available.

What distinguishes Kablog from other moblogging software is that it does not use e-mail or text messaging for updating weblogs. Other programs such as FoneBlog enable users to e-mail posts from a cell phone or PDA to a server, which uploads the entry onto a site. Kablog lets those who use Movable Type as their weblogging software log directly onto their sites for updating.

Continued in the article.

September 2, 2004 message from Carolyn Kotlas [


The Department of Rhetoric at the University of Minnesota has created "Into the Blogsphere," a website to explore the "discursive, visual, social, and other communicative features of weblogs." Educators and faculty can post, comment upon, and critique essays covering such areas as mass communication, pedagogy, and virtual community. The website is located at 

For more information on weblogs in academe, see also:

"Educational Blogging" By Stephen Downes EDUCAUSE REVIEW, vol. 9, no. 5, September/October 2004, pp. 14-16, 18, 20-22, 24, 26 

"The Educated Blogger" CIT INFOBITS, June 2004 

January 2005 Update on Blogs

Eric Rasmusen (Economics, Indiana University) has a homepage at 
His business and economics blog is at 
In particular he focuses on conservative versus liberal economics and politics

Gerald (Jerry) Trites (Accounting, AIS) has a homepage at 
He runs an e-Business blog at 
His site is a great source for updates on research studies in e-Business

Some Blog Directories

categorized directory of blogs and journals. - 17k - Cached - More from this site

a blog directory where users can submit and find blogs. - 23k - Cached - More from this site

... Weird is our choice blog this week, straight out of ... Blogwise often find a blog that stands out for its ... be featuring a new blog every week in this slot ... - More from this site

... Download the Blog Search Engine Toolbar. The blog Search Engine is a web search resource for finding ... Free Video Game and Online Game Directory Web Conferencing Small Business Forum ... - 15k - Cached - More from this site

blog search engine and directory. - 7k - Cached - More from this site - Your local blog directory! ... is an international online blog directory and community where members from around the world gather here ... site to our directory, search our blog directory or join us for ... - 64k - Cached - More from this site

features a directory of political blogs covering all viewpoints. - 9k - Cached - More from this site

... My Subscriptions Search The Web Subscribe To URL. Directory. Share. Home > Feed Directory. See Also: Most Popular Feeds | Most Popular Links ... View: Feed Directory | User Directory ... - 19k - Cached - More from this site

... and trackback services, and a Blog O the Week feature. Blog Universe. Blog directory categorized by genre ... like you. British Blog Directory - BritBlog. A directory of blogs written ... directories.html - 16k - Cached - More from this site

The BLOG page at Marketing - Internet Marketing Reference. ... Blog. weblog. ---------------------------- (Requires JavaScript ... - blog directory and portal. ...


"The Bottom Line on Business Blogs:, August 9, 2004 ---,4621,316638,00.html 
They've moved beyond the realm of diarists and techies to benefit mainstream businesses.  

Anybody can go slogging, but it is most common among teenagers
Thomas Claburn discusses the new concept of "slogging," or slanderous blogging, about someone you know or wish you didn't. In my youth, we used to call this "gossip," and the cardinal rule was never to put anything in writing for fear our ill-tempered musings would be forever etched in stone and, worse, overheard or seen by the person being dissed. But getting "caught" by the subject is apparently the entire point of slogging, as I understand it. I would have thought in our overlitigated society that the voice of reason (if not politeness and/or basic human decency) would trump that of nastiness, but I would have been wrong.
 InformationWeek Newsletter, August 31, 2005


June 1, 2006 message form Carolyn Kotlas []


"Presence, a sense of 'being there,' is critical to the success of designing, teaching, and learning at a distance using both synchronous and asynchronous (blended) technologies. Emotions, behavior, and cognition are components of the way presence is perceived and experienced and are essential for explaining the ways we consciously and unconsciously perceive and experience distance education." Rosemary Lehman, Distance Education Specialist Manager at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, explores the idea that understanding the part emotion plays in teaching and learning "can help instruct us in effective teaching, instructional design, and learning via technology." Her paper, "The Role of Emotion in Creating Instructor and Learner Presence in the Distance Education Experience" (JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE AFFECTIVE LEARNING, vol. 2, no. 2, 2006), is available online at

Journal of Cognitive Affective Learning (JCAL) [ISSN: 1549-6953] is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published twice a year by Oxford College of Emory University. To access current and back issues go to . For more information, contact: Journal of Cognitive Affective Learning, c/o Prof. Ken Carter, Oxford College of Emory University, 100 Hamill Street, Oxford, GA 30054 USA; tel: 770-784-8439; fax: 770-784-8408;


In "Using Blogger to Get Teachers Started with E-Learning" (FORTNIGHTLY MAILING, May 25, 2006), Keith Burnett discusses how "[s]imple class blogs can be used to post summaries of key points, exercises, links to Web pages of value, and to provide a sense of continuity and encourage engagement with the material." He includes a link to an online blogging tutorial and to examples of how some instructors are using blogs in their classes. The article is online at 

Fortnightly Mailing, focused on online learning, is published every two weeks by Seb Schmoller, an e-learning consultant. Current and back issues are available at For more information, contact: Seb Schmoller 312 Albert Road, Sheffield, S8 9RD, UK; tel: 0114 2586899; fax: 0709 2208443;



"Why would I write a book and wait a year or more to see my writing in print, when I can blog and get my words out there immediately?" In "Books, Blogs & Style" (CITES & INSIGHTS, vol. 6, no. 7, May 2006), Walt Crawford, both a book author and a blogger, considers the different niches and purposes of the two communication media. The essay is online at 

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large [ISSN 1534-0937], a free online journal of libraries, policy, technology, and media, is self-published monthly by Walt Crawford, a senior analyst at the Research Libraries Group, Inc. Current and back issues are at available on the Web at . For more information contact: Walt Crawford, The Research Libraries Group, Inc., 2029 Stierlin Ct., Suite 100, Mountain View, CA 94043-4684 USA; tel: 650-691-2227;


Podcasting at

Video Games

Answer 4 --- Serious Learning Applications of Video Games

Have video game technologies changed learning styles?  I might add that this may also be true of women past their teens since there is now a larger target market for these women vis-à-vis young males who are often thought of in relation to game addiction.

In the next edition of New Bookmarks, I address how serious educators are predicting that video-style games will become a leading pedagogy for learning in the near future.

A new industry poll reveals that more women than teen boys are behind video game consoles. The poll also finds that lacking a better alternative, adult women prefer war themes over the light 'n' fluffy doll games now offered.
Wired News, August 27, 2003 ---,2101,60204,00.html 

August 28, 2003 message from Carolyn Kotlas [


In "Next-Generation: Educational Technology versus the Lecture" (EDUCAUSE REVIEW, vol. 38, no. 4, July/August 2003, pp. 12-16, 18, 20-2), Joel Foreman, professor in George Mason University English Department, proposes a "fringe idea" with the potential to revolutionize the educational system. He believes that "large lecture courses may someday be replaced by the kind of immersive digital environments that have been popularized by the videogame industry. Viewed in this light the advanced videogame appears to be a next-generation educational technology waiting to take its place in academe."

Foreman illustrates his idea with a hypothetical Psychology 101 course that uses an immersive environment to engage students in "learning through performance." Using the videogame model, students would progress through several "levels" of the course as they build upon their knowledge of the material and meet the course's learning goals. The article is online at

EDUCAUSE Review [ISSN 1527-6619], a bimonthly print magazine that explores developments in information technology and education, is published by EDUCAUSE, 1150 18th Street, NW, Suite 1010, Washington, DC 20036 USA; tel: 202-872-4200; fax: 202-872-4318; email:; Web: Articles from current and back issues of EDUCAUSE Review are available on the Web at

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education technologies are linked at 

NEXT-Generation:  Educational Technology versus the Lecture, by Joel Foreman, EDUCAUSE Review, July/August 2003, pp. 14-22 ---

Chris Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies at Harvard University, predicts that "shared graphical environments like those in the multi-user Internet games Everques or Asheron's Call" will be the learning environments of the future.  Henry Jenkins, Director of MIT's Games to Teach Project, leads an effort to "demonstrate gaming's still largely unrealized pedagogical potentials" and to explore "how games might enrich the the advanced placement high school and early college levels."  And Randy Hinrichs, Group Program Manager for Learning Science and Technology at Microsoft Research, claims that game technology (among other innovations) "will move us away from classrooms, lectures, test taking, and note taking into fun, immersive interactive learning environments."

These pronouncements are based on some incontestable facts.  First, the world is now populated by hundreds of millions of game-playing devices.  Second, the videogame market, approximately $10 billion in 2002, continues to grow rapidly and to motivate the push for increasingly sophisticated and powerful interactive technologies.  As in other areas of IT development, these technologies are maturing and converging in novel and unexpected ways.  Text-based MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons) and MOOs (MUDs Object-Oriented) have evolved into massive multiplayer online communities such as Ultima and The Sims On-line, in which hundreds of thousands of players can simultaneously interact in graphically rendered immersive worlds.  And previously standalone game devices, such as Sony PlayStation2 and Microsoft X box, are now Web-enabled for geo-distributed multiplayer engagements.  Imagine that all of these networked "play stations" are "learning stations," and you can begin to sense an instructional revolution waiting to happen.

Still, some might argue that higher education students already have networked learning stations in the form of the Web-enabled PC.  What value is added by a game-based "learning station"?  The major difference is that game technologies routinely provide visualizations whose pictorial dynamism and sophistication previously required a supercomputer to produce.  These visualizations, best referred to as immersive worlds, can bring a student into and through any environment that can be imagined.  Instead of learning about a subject by listening to a lecture or by processing page-based alphanumerics (i.e., reading), students can enter and explore a screen-based simulated world that is the next-best thing to reality.

Continued in the article.

"Can Grand Theft Auto Inspire Professors?" by Scott Carson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 15, 2003, Page A31
Educators say the virtual worlds of video games help students think more broadly.

"People ought to use Grand Theft Auto in the classroom to think about values and ideology," James Gee a distinguished professor of education at the University of Wisconsin at Madison says.  "There are lots of things people could learn from games."

This isn't the talk of a hobbyist or an eccentric, but of a serious scholar who is taking a lead in an emerging field.  Mr. Gee thinks that video games--even those like Return to Castle Wolfenstein, in which players run around and blast Nazis--hold the key to salvaging American education.  His argument was recently delivered in a compact book: What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (Palgrave Macmillan).

Although Mr. Gee's colleagues suggested that he was wasting his time when he started looking into video games, in the past two years he has found that he is part of a new and growing academic field.  "In the time that I was writing my book, the interest in games in academe went way up," Mr. Gee says.  "It's clear that by accident, I had entered an area where a wave of interest was coming up--and is still coming up."

New conferences and essays dedicated to games appear all the time.  Respected scholars, like Henry Jenkins, a professor of media studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discuss the cultural value of video games in the popular press.  And graduate students and professors are designing games for use in the classroom.

Despite the swell of interest, Mr. Gee and others say the academic study of video games is still controversial.  While some scholars embrace research on the games, others are recoiling.

Celia Pearce is the associate director of the Game Culture and Technology Lab at the University of California at Irvine, where two years ago the faculty rejected a proposal for a minor in game design.  A professor on the committee that made the decision called the idea of a video-games minor "prurient," she says.

She finds it "baffling" that schools these days use a "pre-information-society model" in teaching.  "Kids are playing games when they are not in school.  They are going from this digital environment into the classroom, and they're suddenly in Dickens."  Teachers and professors don't know what games are, or how to use them to their own advantage, she says.  "At the worst they fear games, and at the best they are completely ignorant of them."

Until a few years ago, Mr. Gee was himself clueless about video games.  He became interested in the subject as he watched his son, then 6 years old, play a game called Pajama Sam.  Mr. Gee wondered what a game for adults would be like.  So he bought a game called The New Adventures of the Time Machine, which was loosely based on the work of H. G. Wells.

"I was floored by how long and how difficult it was," he says, sitting in his office, one wall of which is now covered with posters of video-game characters.  He realized that the gaming industry makes more money than Hollywood, which means that millions of people are plunking down substantial amounts for games that take on average 50 to 100 hours to complete--roughly the amount of time spent in semester of college courses.  "Some young person is going to spend $50 on this, yet they won't take 50 minutes to learn algebra," he says.  "I wanted to know why."

He says that game manufacturers deal with compelling paradox from which educators can learn.

Games have to be challenging enough to entertain, yet easy enough to solve--or at least easy enough for the player to feel like he or she is making progress.  "To me, that was the challenge schools face," he says.  "I wanted to see why these game designers are better at that."

September 8, 2003 message from Jon Entine

-----Original Message-----
From: Jon Entine [
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2003 11:11 AM
Subject: Research audit on "Body Shop" available

For anyone studying or teaching The Body Shop, I've posted on my website my internal 48-page audit of the company, which I've previously only provided by email.

It's an extremely detailed account of the practices of this company. It analyzes Body Shop over a range of areas including its environmental practices, its marketing and ethics, its franchise relations, corporate governance, product quality, etc. It's based on more than 100 interviews, most of them recorded (and available for fact checking).

It was first written in 1996 and has been updated slightly. A lot of it deals with the historical practices of the company, such as Anita Roddick's brazen stealing of the concept, name, logo, and products from the original Body Shop, the one founded in Berkeley and San Francisco in 1970 that Roddick visited, then ripped off without attribution, then lied about. The report is very revealing about the character of Roddick and the sad, dysfunctional, ethically-challenged multi-national corporation she has created and continues to oversee.

The backgrounder was prepared when Body Shop's lawyers (Lovell White Durrant...Robert Maxwell's ex corporate swat team) and its PR team (Hill & Knowlton ... The tobacco lobbyist PR firm) were hired to counter articles by me, New Consumer in England, In These Times, Stephen Corry of Survival International, and other progressives who published fact-based accounts of the ethical dysfunctionality of this company.

Please feel free to use it in your research.


-- Jon Entine
Miami University
6255 So. Clippinger Dr.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45243 (
513) 527-4385 [FAX] 527-4386

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education technologies are linked at 

Answer 4  --- Distance Education Becomes Mainstream 
                      Both Off Campus and In Courses On Campus

Distance Education Soared in the Latter Part of the 1990s

Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2000-2001, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), July 2003 --- 

This report presents data on distance education at postsecondary institutions. NCES used the Postsecondary Education Quick Information System (PEQIS) to provide current national estimates on distance education at 2-year and 4-year Title IV-eligible, degree-granting institutions. Distance education was defined for this study as education or training courses delivered to remote (off-campus) sites via audio, video (live or prerecorded), or computer technologies, including both synchronous (i.e., simultaneous) and asynchronous (i.e., not simultaneous) instruction. Data were collected on a variety of topics related to distance education, including the number and proportion of institutions offering distance education courses during the 2000–2001 12-month academic year, distance education enrollments and course offerings, distance education degree and certificate programs, distance education technologies, participation in distance education consortia, accommodations in distance education courses for students with disabilities, distance education program goals, and factors that keep institutions from starting or expanding distance education offerings.


This study, conducted through the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Postsecondary Education Quick Information System (PEQIS), was designed to provide current national estimates on distance education at 2-year and 4-year Title IV-eligible, degree-granting institutions. Distance education was defined for this study as education or training courses delivered to remote (off-campus) sites via audio, video (live or prerecorded), or computer technologies, including both synchronous (i.e., simultaneous) and asynchronous (i.e., not simultaneous) instruction.

Key Findings

The PEQIS survey provides national estimates for the 2000–2001 academic year on the number and proportion of institutions offering distance education courses, distance education enrollments and course offerings, degree and certificate programs, distance education technologies, participation in distance education consortia, accommodations for students wit h disabilities, distance education program goals, and factors institutions identify as keeping them from starting or expanding distance education offerings.

The report's summary is continued at 

October 31, 2003 message from Carolyn Kotlas [


The American Federation of Teachers publication, AFT ON CAMPUS, is running a series of articles on distance education trends.

In "Trends in Distance Education" (September 2003, ) Thomas J. Kriger, State University of New York, writes about how "critics of asynchronous courses and programs within higher education have recently found unexpected support in the corporate sector." Learners in corporations are increasingly expressing dissatisfaction with online-only classes. This is leading to the creation of "blended learning" -- courses that combine "face-to-face teaching with software and Web-based teaching." Such courses also allow faculty to retain greater control in their distance classes.

The October 2003 issue continues the theme with "Making the Pedagogical Case for Blended Learning" by Cynthia Villanti, assistant professor of humanities at Mohawk Valley Community College, New York ( ). She presents five primary pedagogical arguments for blended, or hybrid, courses. These arguments include: -- enabling a balance between faculty-centered and student-centered models; -- enabling faculty and students to develop a strong sense of classroom community both online and in person; -- allowing for both the "reflectiveness of asynchronous communication and the immediacy of spoken communication;" -- helping to alleviate faculty concerns about academic dishonesty and plagiarism.

AFT On Campus is published eight times a year by the American Federation of Teachers, 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001 USA; tel: 202-879-4400; email: ; Web:  Current and back issues are available at no cost at



This month, SYLLABUS magazine began a new, free email publication, CMS REVIEW: A RESOURCE ON ELEARNING AND COURSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS. This bi-monthly newsletter will provide information, analysis, case studies, and technical tips on course management systems (CMS) in higher education. To subscribe, go to 

Syllabus [ISSN 1089-5914] is published monthly by 101communications, LLC, 9121 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 USA; tel: 650-941-1765; fax: 650-941-1785; email:; Web: . Annual subscriptions are free to individuals who work in colleges, universities, and high schools in the U.S.; go to  for more information.

Bob Jensen's links on online training and education programs can be found at 

Other documents related to this topic are linked at 


Answer 5 --- The Future of Textbooks

The future of text books?
From Jim Mahar's blog on June 16, 2005 ---

The future of text books?
Megginson and Smart
Introdcution to Corporate Finance--Companion Site

I think we may have a glimpse into the future of text books with this one. It is the new Introduction to Corporate Finance by William Megginson and Scott Smart.

From videos for most topics, to interviews, to powerpoint, to a student study guide, to excel help...just a total integration of a text and a web site! Well done!

At St. Bonaventure we have adopted the text for the fall semester and the book actually has made me excited to be teaching an introductory course! It is that good!!

BTW Before I get accused of selling out, let me say I get zero for this plug. I have met each author at conferences but do not really know either of them. And like any first edition book there may be some errors, but that said, this is the future of college text books!

Check out some of the online material here. More material is available with book purchase.

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at



Motivations for Distance Education 

Little Red Hen Motivations
(Those professors who go it alone without much institutional support.)
June 29, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


Each year the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) conducts an annual survey on the state of U.S. higher education online learning. This year, the Consortium published its first annual special edition, "Growing by Degrees: Online Education in the United States, 2005 - Southern Edition." Some of the findings reported include:

"Online learning is thriving in the southern states. The patterns of growth and acceptance of online education among the 16 southern states in this report are very similar to that observed for the national sample, with one clear difference: online learning has made greater inroads in the southern states than in the nation as a whole."

"[S]chools are offering a large number of online courses, and there is great diversity in the courses and programs being offered:

-- Sixty-two percent of southern schools offering graduate face-to-face courses also offer graduate courses online.

-- Sixty-eight percent of southern schools offering undergraduate face-to-face courses also offer undergraduate courses online."

"Staffing for online courses does not come at the expense of core faculty. Institutions use about the same mixture of core and adjunct faculty to staff their online courses as they do for their face-to-face courses. Instead of more adjunct faculty teaching online courses, the opposite is found; overall, there is a slightly greater use of core faculty for teaching online than for face-to-face."

You can download the complete report at 

Sloan-C is a consortium of institutions and organizations committed "to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth of their online programs according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines." Sloan-C is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. For more information go to

Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives for online training and education are at

Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at


Online Education Effectiveness and Testing

Barbara gave me permission to post the following message on March 15, 2006
My reply follows her message.

Professor Jensen:

I need your help in working with regulators who are uncomfortable with online education.

I am currently on the faculty at the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas and I abruptly learned yesterday that the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy distinguishes online and on campus offering of ethics courses that it approves as counting for students to meet CPA candidacy requirements. Since my school offers its ethics course in both modes, I am suddenly faced with making a case to the TSBPA in one week's time to avoid rejection of the online version of the University of Dallas course.

I have included in this email the "story" as I understand it that explains my situation. It isn't a story about accounting or ethics, it is a story about online education.

I would like to talk to you tomorrow because of your expertise in distance education and involvement in the profession. In addition, I am building a portfolio of materials this week for the Board meeting in Austin March 22-23 to make a case for their approval (or at least not rejection) of the online version of the ethics course that the Board already accepts in its on campus version. I want to include compelling research-based material demonstrating the value of online learning, and I don't have time to begin that literature survey myself. In addition, I want to be able to present preliminary results from reviewers of the University of Dallas course about the course's merit in presentation of the content in an online delivery.

Thank you for any assistance that you can give me.

Barbara W. Scofield
Associate Professor of Accounting
University of Dallas
1845 E Northgate Irving, TX 75062

A statement of the University of Dallas and Texas State Board of Public Accountancy and Online Learning

The TSBPA approved the University of Dallas ethics program in 2004. The course that was approved was a long-standing course, required in several different graduate programs, called Business Ethics. The course was regularly taught on campus (since 1995) and online (since 2001).

The application for approval of the ethics course did not ask for information about whether the class was on campus or online and the syllabus that was submitted happened to be the syllabus of an on campus section. The TSBPA's position (via Donna Hiller) is that the Board intended to approve only the on campus version of the course, and that the Board inferred it was an on campus course because the sample syllabus that was submitted was an on campus course.

Therefore the TSBPA (via Donna Hiller) is requiring that University of Dallas students who took the online version of the ethics course retake the exact same course in its on campus format. While the TSBPA (via Donna Hiller) has indicated that the online course cannot at this time be approved and its scheduled offering in the summer will not provide students with an approved course, Donna Hiller, at my request, has indicated that she will take this issue to the Board for their decision next week at the Executive Board Meeting on March 22 and the Board Meeting on March 23.

There are two issues:

1. Treatment of students who were relying on communication from the Board at the time they took the class that could reasonably have been interpreted to confer approval of both the online and on campus sections of the ethics course.

2. Status of the upcoming summer online ethics class.

My priority is establishing the status of the upcoming summer online ethics class. The Board has indicated through its pilot program with the University of Texas at Dallas that there is a place for online ethics classes in the preparation of CPA candidates. The University of Dallas is interested in providing the TSBPA with any information or assessment necessary to meet the needs of the Board to understand the online ethics class at the University of Dallas. Although not currently privy to the Board specific concerns about online courses, the University of Dallas believes that it can demonstrate sufficient credibility for the course because of the following factors:

A. The content of the online course is the same as the on campus course. Content comparison can be provided. B. The instructional methods of the online course involve intense student-to-student, instructor-to-student, and student-to-content interaction at a level equivalent to an on campus course. Empirical information about interaction in the course can be provided.

C. The instructor for the course is superbly qualified and a long-standing ethics instructor and distance learning instructor. The vita of the instructor can be provided.

D. There are processes for course assessment in place that regularly prompt the review of this course and these assessments can be provided to the board along with comparisons with the on campus assessments.

E. The University of Dallas will seek to coordinate with the work done by the University of Texas at Dallas to provide information at least equivalent to that provided by the University of Texas at Dallas and to meet at a minimum the tentative criteria for online learning that UT Dallas has been empowered to recommend to the TSBPA. Contact with the University of Texas at Dallas has been initiated.

When the online ethics course is granted a path to approval by the Board, I am also interested in addressing the issue of TSBPA approval of students who took the class between the original ethics course approval date and March 13, 2006, the date that the University of Dallas became aware of the TSBPA intent (through Donna Hiller) that the TSBPA distinguished online and on campus ethics classes.

The University of Dallas believes that the online class in fact provided these students with a course that completely fulfilled the general intent of the Board for education in ethics, since it is the same course as the approved on campus course (see above). The decision on the extent of commitment of the Board to students who relied on the Board's approval letter may be a legal issue of some sort that is outside of the current decision-making of the Board, but I want the Board take the opportunity to consider that the reasonableness of the students' position and the students' actual preparation in ethics suggest that there should also be a path created to approval of online ethics courses taken at the University of Dallas during this prior time period. The currently proposed remedy of a requirement for students to retake the very same course on campus that students have already taken online appears excessively costly to Texans and the profession of accounting by delaying the entry of otherwise qualified individuals into public accountancy. High cost is justified when the concomitant benefits are also high. However, the benefit to Texans and the accounting profession from students who retake the ethics course seems to exist only in meeting the requirements of regulations that all parties diligently sought to meet in the first place and not in producing any actual additional learning experiences.

A reply to her from Bob Jensen

Hi Barbara,

May I share your questions and my responses in the next edition of New Bookmarks? This might be helpful to your efforts when others become informed. I will be in my office every day except for March 17. My phone number is 210-999-7347. However, I can probably be more helpful via email.

As discouraging as it may seem, if students know what is expected of them and must demonstrate what they have learned, pedagogy does not seem to matter. It can be online or onsite. It can be lecture or cases. It can be no teaching at all if there are talented and motivated students who are given great learning materials. This is called the well-known “No Significant Difference” phenomenon ---

I think you should stress that insisting upon onsite courses is discriminatory against potential students whose life circumstances make it difficult or impossible to attend regular classes on campus.

I think you should make the case that online education is just like onsite education in the sense that learning depends on the quality and motivations of the students, faculty, and university that sets the employment and curriculum standards for quality. The issue is not onsite versus online. The issue is quality of effort.

The most prestigious schools like Harvard and Stanford and Notre Dame have a large number of credit and non-credit courses online. Entire accounting undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available online from such quality schools as the University of Wisconsin and the University of Maryland.  See my guide to online training and education programs is at

My main introductory document on the future of distance education is at

Anticipate and deal with the main arguments against online education. The typical argument is that onsite students have more learning interactions with themselves and with the instructor. This is absolutely false if the distance education course is designed to promote online interactions that do a better job of getting into each others’ heads.  Online courses become superior to onsite courses.

Amy Dunbar teaches intensely interactive online courses with Instant Messaging. See Dunbar, A. 2004. “Genesis of an Online Course.” Issues in Accounting Education (2004),19 (3):321-343.

ABSTRACT: This paper presents a descriptive and evaluative analysis of the transformation of a face-to-face graduate tax accounting course to an online course. One hundred fifteen students completed the compressed six-week class in 2001 and 2002 using WebCT, classroom environment software that facilitates the creation of web-based educational environments. The paper provides a description of the required technology tools and the class conduct. The students used a combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning methods that allowed them to complete the coursework on a self-determined schedule, subject to semi-weekly quiz constraints. The course material was presented in content pages with links to Excel® problems, Flash examples, audio and video files, and self-tests. Students worked the quizzes and then met in their groups in a chat room to resolve differences in answers. Student surveys indicated satisfaction with the learning methods.

I might add that Amy is a veteran world class instructor both onsite and online. She’s achieved all-university awards for onsite teaching in at least three major universities. This gives her the credentials to judge how well her online courses compare with her outstanding onsite courses.

A free audio download of a presentation by Amy Dunbar is available at   

The argument that students cannot be properly assessed for learning online is more problematic. Clearly it is easier to prevent cheating with onsite examinations. But there are ways of dealing with this problem.  My best example of an online graduate program that is extremely difficult is the Chartered Accountant School of Business (CASB) masters program for all of Western Canada. Students are required to take some onsite testing even though this is an online degree program. And CASB does a great job with ethics online. I was engaged to formally assess this program and came away extremely impressed. My main contact there is Don Carter  .  If you are really serious about this, I would invite Don to come down and make a presentation to the Board. Don will convince them of the superiority of online education.

You can read some about the CASB degree program at

You can read more about assessment issues at

I think a lot of the argument against distance education comes from faculty fearful of one day having to teach online. First there is the fear of change. Second there is the genuine fear that is entirely justified --- if online teaching is done well it is more work and strain than onsite teaching. The strain comes from increased hours of communication with each and every student.

Probably the most general argument in favor of onsite education is that students living on campus have the social interactions and maturity development outside of class. This is most certainly a valid argument. However, when it comes to issues of learning of course content, online education can be as good as or generally better than onsite classes. Students in online programs are often older and more mature such that the on-campus advantages decline in their situations. Online students generally have more life, love, and work experiences already under their belts. And besides, you’re only talking about ethics courses rather than an entire undergraduate or graduate education.

I think if you deal with the learning interaction and assessment issues that you can make a strong case for distance education. There are some “dark side” arguments that you should probably avoid. But if you care to read about them, go to

Bob Jensen

March 15, 2006 reply from Bruce Lubich [BLubich@UMUC.EDU]

Bob, as a director and teacher in a graduate accounting program that is exclusively online, I want to thank you for your support and eloquent defense of online education. Unfortunately, Texas's predisposition against online teaching also shows up in its education requirements for sitting for the CPA exam. Of the 30 required upper division accounting credits, at least 15 must "result from physical attendance at classes meeting regularly on the campus" (quote from the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy website at

Cynically speaking, it seems the state of Texas wants to be sure its classrooms are occupied.

Barbara, best of luck with your testimony.

Bruce Lubich
Program Director,
Accounting Graduate School of Management and Technology
University of Maryland University College

March 15, 2006 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

At my school, Bowling Green, student credits for on-line accounting majors classes are never approved by the department chair. He says that you can't trust the schools that are offering these. When told that some very reputable schools are offering the courses, he still says no because when the testing process is done on-line or not in the physical presence of the professor the grades simply can't be trusted.

David Albrecht

March 16, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

One tack against a luddites like that is to propose a compromise that virtually accepts all transfer credits from AACSB-accredited universities. It's difficult to argue that standards vary between online and onsite courses in a given program accredited by the AACSB. I seriously doubt that the faculty in that program would allow a double academic standard.

In fact, on transcripts it is often impossible to distinguish online from onsite credits from a respected universities, especially when the same course is offered online and onsite (i.e., merely in different sections).

You might explain to your department chair that he's probably been accepting online transfer credits for some time. The University of North Texas and other major universities now offer online courses to full-time resident students who live on campus. Some students and instructors find this to be a better approach to learning.

And you ask him why Bowling Green's assessment rigor is not widely known to be vastly superior to online courses from nearly all major universities that now offer distance education courses and even total degree programs, including schools like the Fuqua Graduate School at Duke, Stanford University (especially computer science and engineering online courses that bring in over $100 million per year), the University of Maryland, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Texas, Texas Tech, and even, gasp, The Ohio State University.

You might tell your department chair that by not offering some online alternatives, Bowling Green is not getting the most out of its students. The University of Illinois conducted a major study that found that students performed better in online versus onsite courses when matched pair sections took the same examinations.

And then you might top it off by asking your department chair how he justifies denying credit for Bowling Green's own distance education courses --- 
The following is a quotation from the above Bowling Green site:

The advancement of computer technology has provided a wealth of new opportunities for learning. Distance education is one example of technology’s ability to expand our horizons and gain from new experiences. BGSU offers many distance education courses and two baccalaureate degree completion programs online.

The Advanced Technological Education Degree Program is designed for individuals who have completed a two-year applied associate’s degree. The Bachelor of Liberal Studies Degree Program is ideal for students with previous college credit who would like flexibility in course selection while completing a liberal education program.

Distance Education Courses and Programs ---  ***************************

Bob Jensen

March 16, 2006 reply from Amy Dunbar [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]

Count me in the camp that just isn't that concerned about online cheating. Perhaps that is because my students are graduate students and my online exams are open-book, timed exams, and a different version is presented to each student (much like a driver's license exam). In my end-of-semester survey, I ask whether students are concerned about cheating, and on occasion, I get one who is. But generally the response is no.

The UConn accounting department was just reviewed by the AACSB, and they were impressed by our MSA online program. They commented that they now believed that an online MSA program was possible. I am convinced that the people who are opposed to online education are unwilling to invest the time to see how online education is implemented. Sure there will be bad examples, but there are bad examples of face to face (FTF) teaching. How many profs do you know who simply read powerpoint slides to a sleeping class?! Last semester, I received the School of Business graduate teaching award even though I teach only online classes. I believe that the factor that really matters is that the students know you care about whether they are learning. A prof who cares interacts with students. You can do that online as well as FTF.

Do I miss FTF teaching -- you bet I do. But once I focused on what the student really needs to learn, I realized, much to my dismay, interacting FTF with Dunbar was not a necessary condition.

Amy Dunbar

March 16, 2006 message from Carol Flowers [cflowers@OCC.CCCD.EDU]

To resolve this issue and make me more comfortable with the grade a student earns, I have all my online exams proctored. I schedule weekends (placing them in the schedule of classes) and it is mandatory that they take the exams during this weekend period (Fir/Sat) at our computing center. It is my policy that if they can't take the paced exams during those periods, then the class is not one that they can participate in. This is no different from having different times that courses are offered. They have to make a choice in that situation, also, as to which time will best serve their needs.

March 16, 2006 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

Our model is similar to Carol Flowers. Our on-line MBA program requires an in-person meeting for four hours at the beginning of every semester, to let the students and professor get to know each other personally, followed by the distance-ed portion, concluding with another four-hour in- person session for the final examination or other assessment. The students all congregate at the Sheraton at Dulles airport, have dinner together Friday night, spend Saturday morning taking the final for their previous class, and spend Saturday afternoon being introduced to their next class. They do this between every semester. So far, the on- line group has outperformed (very slightly, and not statistically significant due to small sample sizes) the face-to-face counterparts being used as our control groups. We believe the outperformance might have an inherent self- selection bias since the distance-learners are usually professionals, whereas many of our face-to-face students are full-time students and generally a bit younger and more immature.

My personal on-line course consists of exactly the same readings as my F2F class, and exactly the same lectures (recorded using Tegrity) provided on CD and watched asynchronously, followed by on-line synchronous discussion sessions (2-3 hours per week) where I call on random students asking questions about the readings, lectures, etc., and engaging in lively discussion. I prepare some interesting cases and application dilemmas (mostly adapted from real world scenarios) and introduce dilemmas, gray areas, controversy (you expected maybe peace and quiet from David Fordham?!), and other thought-provoking issues for discussion. I have almost perfect attendance in the on-line synchronous because the students really find the discussions engaging. Surprisingly, I have no problem with freeloaders who don't read or watch the recorded lectures. My major student assessment vehicle is an individual policy manual, supplemented by the in-person exam. Since each student's manual organization, layout, approach, and perspective is so very different from the others, cheating is almost out of the question. And the in-person exam is conducted almost like the CISP or old CPA exams... total quiet, no talking, no leaving the room, nothing but a pencil, etc.

And finally, no, you can't tell the difference on our student's transcript as to whether they took the on-line or in-person MBA. They look identical on the transcript.

We've not yet had any problem with anyone "rejecting" our credential that I'm aware of.

Regarding our own acceptance of transfer credit, we make the student provide evidence of the quality of each course (not the degree) before we exempt or accept credit. We do not distinguish between on-line or F2F -- nor do we automatically accept a course based on institution reputation. We have on many occasions rejected AACSB- accredited institution courses (on a course-by-course basis) because our investigation showed that the course coverage or rigor was not up to the standard we required. (The only "blanket" exception that we make is for certain familiar Virginia community college courses in the liberal studies where history has shown that the college and coursework reliably meets the standards -- every other course has to be accepted on a course-by-course basis.)

Just our $0.02 worth.

David Fordham
James Madison University


Example 1
Amy Dunbar's Online Tax Courses

I think all educators should read at least the first 15 pages of "Genesis of an Online Course," by Amy Dunbar at 

You Can Listen to a Live Performance on How Amy Wows Her Online Students!
A free audio download of a presentation by Amy Dunbar is available at 

I just shared a platform with Amy Dunbar in a workshop presented at Mercer University on November 9, 2001.  I am amazed at what both Amy and her husband (John) are accomplishing with online teaching of income tax and tax research.  

  • Although they are teaching as full-time faculty at the University of Connecticut, both Amy and her husband, John,  teach online courses from their house.  In practice, they don't have to go to the campus except to check mail, perform service activities, and work face-to-face with colleagues and students when needed.  In theory, they could move to a California beach house or a cabin on top of a Colorado mountain and still teach all their courses for the University of Connecticut.  I should note that the students in this online University of Connecticut program are adult learners who almost all have current jobs in the Hartford community.  Amy teaches all her courses online, and John teaches a summer course online.  Both professors teach taxation.

  • Amy won an all-university teaching technology award from the University of Connecticut.  This is just another of her many all-university teaching awards from the University of Texas in San Antonio, the University of Iowa, and the University of Connecticut.  She has this rare ability of being rated perfect by virtually any student no matter what grade she assigns, even a failing grade.  Amy's homepage is at 

  • I don't have John's teaching evaluation scores (I'm told they're excellent), but you can read Amy's teaching evaluation scores on the last page (Exhibit 5) of the document at 
    (Note that the highest possible rating is 10.00 in this University of Connecticut evaluation form.

  • I especially urge you to read the student evaluation narratives at 

  • Amy developed all her own online course materials and relies heavily on a question and answer pedagogy using instant messaging.
  • Amy's workshop presentations and war stories about online education are AWESOME!


So what are Amy's highly controversial conclusions from her online courses?   Go to Page 13 in "Genesis of an Online Course," by Amy Dunbar at 

One of the fastest growing segments of the communication industry is the area of Instant Messaging, where people can set up "buddy lists" on their computer and have real time text conversations with friends or colleagues. The problem until now has been how to capture the corporate benefits of Instant Messaging without spending the resources to ensure the security of the communication. Enter Microsoft. 

You can listen to Amy Dunbar discuss the use of instant messaging in her distance education tax courses at 


Example 2
An Innovative Online International Accounting Course on Six Campuses Around the World 

A highlight for me at the November 6-7, 1998 AICPA Accounting Educators Conference was a presentation by Sharon Lightner from San Diego State University and Linard Nadig from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.  This presentation followed a ceremony presenting Professors Lightner and Nadig with the $1,000 AICPA Collaboration Award prize.

The course syllabus is located at 

Bob Jensen's Web Link --- 

"Surveying the Digital Landscape: Evolving Technologies 2004," Educause Review, vol. 39, no. 6 (November/December 2004): 78–92. --- 

Each year, the members of the EDUCAUSE Evolving Technologies Committee identify and research the evolving technologies that are having the most direct impact on higher education institutions. The committee members choose the relevant topics, write white papers, and present their findings at the EDUCAUSE annual conference.

"Long Tails in Higher Education," by Saul Fisher, Inside Higher Ed, May 27, 2005 ---

Education experts often wonder whether bestseller status among college courses might provide lessons about educational markets and planning, just as popularity shapes entertainment and cultural products. Such speculation has grown with the advent of online education. Some argue that by making the most popular courses virtual, colleges can slash costs, helping to pay for low enrollment courses.

The alternative has been to raise revenues for low-enrollment courses by adding enrollment. This “add seats” approach has become more attractive in the new world of online education. Which alternative makes more sense for colleges considering online versions of some courses?

Cost-cutting advocates suggest that great efficiencies may result from delivering online a small set of popular undergraduate courses. Courses such as Chemistry 101 or Introduction to European History would have large enrollments and “basic” curricula. These popular courses illustrate the “80-20 rule” — 20 percent of a resource typically generates 80 percent of the possible benefits. Popular courses may not even constitute 20 percent of the catalogue’s contents, yet they often represent 80 percent of enrollments. If that 80 percent can be served through automated, virtual means, that should release tremendous savings, offsetting the cost of courses that don’t lend themselves as easily or cheaply to virtual delivery.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education program costs are at

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education alternatives are at

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at





Learning Experimentation Motivations
Example 1 --- The SCALE Experiments --- 

Quotes from Professor Burks Oakley II, 
Sloan Center for Asynchronous Learning Environments,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Asynchronous Learning Networking Promotes Greater Communication

  • 51% of students reported increased communication with instructor
  • 43% of students reported increased communication with other students
  • 40% reported increase in quality of interactions with instructor

Asynchronous Learning Networking Enhances the Learning Environment

  • 75% of students rated their overall experience good, very good, or excellent
  • ALN enables students 
         to "be more prepared for class,"
         gives them "a lot of time to learn out of class," and
         allows them "to work at their own pace."

Impact on Course Grades in ECE 270, Fall 1994, 2 traditional sections versus 3 ALN sections

Course Grade


Computer Based



For an August 2000 update, download Dan Stone's audio file and PowerPoint file from 

Message from Richard Reams on May 8, 2002  (NPR = National Public Radio)

Hi Bob.

The May 7 “Soundprint” program on NPR was about technology in education, including a story about on-line education with a focus on Phoenix University and Temple.

The second segment was on Training College faculty in using technology. 

Richard Reams, Ph.D. 
Senior Staff Psychologist Counseling Services 
Trinity University 715 Stadium Drive #85 San Antonio, TX 78212-7200

Voice: (210) 999-7411 Fax: (210) 999-7848

You can read the following at 

Online University
Just recently the world was abuzz with the possibilities of the internet in education. On one end the classroom became a technology lab, with veteran teachers scrambling to learn new fangled tools. On the other end, soothsayers touted the age of the virtual classroom. No longer would one need to trudge to a distant classroom, the web would bring it to you. Smoke and mirrors or reality? Find out on Soundprint.

Click Here for College 
Remember the dot-com craze? Then perhaps you recollect the mad dash by universities and others to ring in the virtual university. The bubble may have burst but is the online university just another bad idea? Some say yes but others say no. But before you sign up for that virtual course, click along with Producer Richard Paul as he investigates the state of the online university.

Classroom Cool: Training Teachers in Using Technology 
Faced with the challenge of improving student performance, many schools turned to the widespread use of computers and the Internet. The trend has caught many veteran teachers unawares. Now they have to make use of the latest technology, while in their hearts they remain uncomfortable with the new wave. Though hard data is lacking on whether classroom high tech helps students learn, teachers feel the hot breath of urgency to adapt. Veteran teacher and producer Bill Drummond explores the rush to get America's teachers wired.

Top K12's 100 Wired Schools --- 
The winners are listed at 

Why (Some) Kids Love School --- 

Dropout rates are down and test scores are up. Students are engaged in learning and their self-esteem is soaring. So what's really going on within the classroom walls of the country's top wired schools? By Leslie Bennetts

Linda Peters provides a frank overview of the various factors underlying student perceptions of online learning. Such perceptions, she observes, are not only informed by the student's individual situation (varying levels of computer access, for instance) but also by the student's individual characteristics: the student's proficiency with computers, the student's desire for interpersonal contact, or the student's ability to remain self-motivated --- 

Technology Source, a free, refereed, e-journal at 

The Problem of Attrition in Online MBA Programs

We expect higher attrition rates from both learners in taking degrees in commuting programs and most online programs.  The major reason is that prior to enrolling for a course or program, people tend to me more optimistic about how they can manage their time between a full-time job and family obligations.  After enrolling, unforseen disasters do arise such as family illnesses, job assignments out of town, car breakdowns, computer breakdowns, job loss or change, etc.

The problem of online MBA attrition at West Texas A&M University is discussed in "Assessing Enrollment and Attrition Rates for the Online MBA," by Neil Terry, T.H.E. Journal, February 2001, pp. 65-69 --- 

Follow-up experiments also showed that West Texas A&M's online students did not perform as well as onsite students on examinations.

Important Distance Education Site
The Sloan Consortium ---
The purpose of the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines.

Assessment Issues, Case Studies, and Research --- Detail File

The Dark Side of the 21st Century: Concerns About Technologies in Education --- Detail File



New and Expanding Market Motivations
Example 1 --- Stanford University --- 

Probably the most successful use of video is the Adept program at Stanford University where engineering students can get an entire Masters of Engineering degree almost entirely from video courses

Stanford University shook up the stuffy Ivy League and other prestigious schools such as Oxford and Cambridge when it demonstrated to the world that its online training programs and its online Masters of Engineering (ADEPT) asynchronous learning degree program became enormous cash cows with nearly infinite growth potentials relative to relatively fixed-size onsite programs.  In a few short years, revenues from online programs in engineering and computer science exploded to over $100 million per year.

The combined present value of the Stanford University logo and the logos of other highly prestigious universities are worth trillions.  Any prestigious university that ignores online growth opportunities is probably wasting billions of dollars of potential cash flow from its logo.  

Virtually all universities of highest prestige and name recognition are realizing this and now offer a vast array of online training and education courses directly or in partnership with corporations and government agencies seeking the mark of distinction on diplomas.


Example 2 --- University of Wisconsin --- 
Over 100,000 Registered Online Students in The University of Wisconsin System of State-Supported Universities

Having a long history of extension programs largely aimed at part-time adult learners, it made a lot of sense for the UW System to try to train and educate adult learners and other learners who were not likely to become onsite students.

The UW System is typical of many other large state-supported universities that have an established adult learning infrastructure and a long history of interactive television courses delivered to remote sites within the state.  Online Internet courses were a logical extension and in many instances a cost-efficient extension relative to televised delivery.

Also check out Iowa State University Extension ---

Example 3 --- Harvard University

In light of new online learning technologies, Harvard University changed its long-standing residency requirement in anticipation of expanding markets for "mid-career professionals" according to Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers, EDUCAUSE Review, May/June 2002, Page 4.  Harvard has various distance education programs, including those in the Harvard Business School that currently cost over $4 million per year to maintain.

Example 4
From Syllabus News, Resources, and Trends on July 2, 2002

Babson Blends Online, Onsite MBA Program

Babson College said it will launch in Jan. a "fast track" MBA program that integrates traditional onsite classroom instruction with distance learning components. The program will enable students to obtain an MBA in 27 months, and is designed for executives struggling to balance work and personal demands in an economic recession. Intel Corp. sponsored the program as a complement to its corporate education package, and has modeled it with 33 employees. The blended MBA program calls for students to attend monthly two and-a-half days of face-to-face sessions with Babson's faculty on campus in Wellesley. During the rest of the time, students will take part in Internet-based distance learning sessions with their professors and access interactive multimedia course content.

For more information, visit:

Example 5 --- Texas A&M Online MBA Program in Mexico --- 

Some universities view online technologies as a tremendous opportunity to expand training and education courses into foreign countries.  One such effort was undertaken by the College of Business Administration at Texas A&M University in partnership with Monterrey Tech in Mexico.  For example, Professor John Parnell at Texas A&M has been delivering a course for several semesters in which students in Mexico City take the online course in their homes.  However, once each month the students meet face-to-face on a weekend when Dr. Parnell travels to Mexico City to hold live classes and administer examinations.

You probably won't have much difficulty making a guess as to what many students say is the major reason they prefer online courses to onsite courses in Mexico City?

Example 6 --- The University of Phoenix --- 

The University of Phoenix became the largest private university in the world.  Growth came largely from adult learning onsite programs in urban centers across the U.S. and Canada.  

The popular CBS television show called Sixty Minutes ran a feature on the growth and future of the newer online training and education programs at the University of Phoenix. You can download this video from 

The University of Phoenix contends that online success in education depends upon intense communications day-to-day between instructors and students.  This, in turn, means that online classes must be relatively small and synchronized in terms of assignments and projects.

What's Online Learning Really Like in a Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting Class?

The Chronicle's Goldie Blumenstyk has covered distance education for more than a decade, and during that time she's written stories about the economics of for-profit education, the ways that online institutions market themselves, and the demise of the 50-percent rule. About the only thing she hadn't done, it seemed, was to take a course from an online university. But this spring she finally took the plunge, and now she has completed a class in government and nonprofit accounting through the University of Phoenix. She shares tales from the cy ber-classroom -- and her final grade -- in a podcast with Paul Fain, a Chronicle reporter.
Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2008 (Audio) ---

  • All course materials (including textbooks) online; No additional textbooks to purchase

  • $1,600 fee for the course and materials

  • Woman instructor with respectable academic credentials and experience in course content

  • Instructor had good communications with students and between students

  • Total of 14 quite dedicated online students in course, most of whom were mature with full-time day jobs

  • 30% of grade from team projects

  • Many unassigned online helper tutorials that were not fully utilized by Goldie

  • Goldie earned a 92 (A-)

  • She gave a positive evaluation to the course and would gladly take other courses if she had the time

  • She considered the course to have a heavy workload

Jensen Added Comment
It wasn't mentioned, but I think Goldie took the ACC 460 course --- Click Here

ACC 460 Government and Non-Profit Accounting

Course Description

This course covers fund accounting, budget and control issues, revenue and expense recognition, and issues of reporting for both government and non-profit entities.

Topics and Objectives

Environment of Government/Non-Profit Accounting

  • Compare and contrast governmental and proprietary accounting.
  • Analyze the relationship between GASB and FASB.
  • Analyze the relationship between a budget and a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
  • Determine when and how to use the modified accrual accounting method.

Fund Accounting Part I

  • Distinguish between expenses and expenditures.
  • Explain the effect of encumbrances on a budget.
  • Apply the principles of fund accounting.
  • Determine the closing process for the fund accounting cycle.
  • Explain the reconciliation of government-wide financial statements with the fund statements.

Fund Accounting Part II

  • Apply accounting procedures for recognizing revenues and other financial resources.
  • Record interfund transfers.
  • Prepare fund and non-governmental accounting entries.
  • Prepare a financial statement for a governmental agency.

Overview of Not-for-Profit Accounting

  • Examine the funds for different types of not-for-profit organizations.
  • Compare and contrast reporting by governmental, not-for-profit, and proprietary organizations.

Current Issues in Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting

  • Analyze current issues in government and not-for-profit accounting.

Bob Jensen's threads on asynchronous learning ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free online video courses and course materials from leading universities ---

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side ---

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---

Example 7 --- Partnerships 
Lucrative partnerships between universities and corporations seeking to train and educate employees.

The highly successful Global Executive MBA Program at Duke University (formerly called GEMBA) where corporations from around the world pay nearly $100,000 for one or two employees to earn a prestigious online MBA degree ---

UNext Corporation has an exclusive partnership with General Motors Corporation that provides online executive training and education programs to 88,000 GM managers.  GM pays the fees.  See 

Army University Access Online --- 
This five-year $453 million initiative was completed by the consulting division of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).  Twenty-four colleges are delivering training and education courses online through the U.S. Army's e-learning portal.  There are programs for varying levels of accomplishment, including specialty certificates, associates degrees, bachelor's degrees, and masters degrees.  All courses are free to soldiers.  By 2003, there is planned capacity is for 80,000 online students.   The PwC Program Director is Jill Kidwell --- 

Army Online University attracted 12,000 students during its first year of operation.  It plans to double its capacity and add 10,000 more students in 2002.  It is funded by the U.S. Army for all full time soldiers to take non-credit and credit courses from selected major universities.  The consulting arm of the accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers manages the entire system. 

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has a program for online training and education for all IRS employees.  The IRS pays the fees for all employees.  The IRS online accounting classes will be served up from Florida State University and Florida Community College at Jacksonville --- 

Deere & Company has an exclusive partnership with Indiana University to provide an online MBA program for Deere employees.  Deere pays the fees.  See "Deere & Company Turns to Indiana University's Kelley School of Business For Online MBA Degrees in Finance," Yahoo Press Release, October 8, 2001 --- 

The University of Georgia partnered with the consulting division of PwC to deliver a totally online MBA degree.  The program is only taken by PwC employees.  PwC paid the development and delivery fees.  See 

New Markets for Colleges and Universities

Will the most prestigious universities in the world commence to offer more onsite non-credit and certificate programs that (possibly) accompany their distance training, certificate, and preparatory programs?

What's new at the University of Rochester in terms of onsite revenue-generating programs?

In previous editions of New Bookmarks, I have stressed that the most profitable distance education programs are those non-credit or certificate courses.  Degree programs often struggle for a number of reasons, not the least of which are as follows:

  • Difficulty obtaining a sufficient number of fully qualified applicants for a degree program, especially in costly private colleges and corporate programs.

  • Difficulty in attracting and keeping degree program students online due to the long-term time commitment for part-time students in a complete degree program.

  • Difficulty in maintaining academic standards (grading) online.

  • Difficulty of attracting instructors in online degree programs due to intensive online communications with students and the need for online students to communicate outside the working day, especially at night and on a Saturday or Sunday.  Students bent on getting “A” grades can hound instructors to death. 

  • Difficulty in getting online degree programs accredited.

Five specialists, especially Amy Dunbar, will address these issues on August 13 in San Antonio --- 

Many non-credit and certificate training distance education programs, including those in top universities, around the world are linked at 

Now it appears that in order to expand into more profitable markets, colleges and universities will be moving into onsite as well as online non-credit and certificate courses and programs.

News Flash (received July 24, 2002 by mail) from The William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester 
(one of the top graduate schools in the United States) --- 

Rochester, New York--July 17, 2002--In fall 2002, the University of Rochester's William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration will introduce a Certificate Program with five areas of concentration: Financial Analysis, Electronic Commerce Strategies, Health Sciences Management, Service Management and The Design of Effective Organizations.  The program will offer busy professionals who want to broaden their knowledge or retool their skills the opportunity to study at a world-class business school without committing to a full M.B.A. program.

According to the Simon School, participants will take courses from the existing M.B.A. curriculum, taught by the School's internationally renowned faculty, and learn alongside top business students from around the world.  The programs, which can be completed in as little as one year of part-time study, are targeted at professionals who want to enhance their current performance or gain cutting-edge knowledge to change or advance their careers.

"This certificate is going to give you knowledge that you can put to work right away," said Stacey R. Kole, Simon's associate dean for M.B.A. Programs and associate professor of economics and management.  "From a perspective of time and money, it's a relatively inexpensive way to get very high-quality training of a targeted nature."

If a Certificate Program participant decides to go on and earn an M.B.A. or M.S. degree at Simon, the credits are fully transferable.  "That's one of the big pluses of this program," said Kole.  "If you want to continue with an M.B.A. and your grades are good enough, you're a quarter of the way done."

Participants in Simon's Certificate Program must complete five or six designated M.B.A. courses, each of which are offered one night a week over a 10-week period.  The curriculum can be spread out over as long as three years.

The Certificate Program differs from the Simon School's Part-Time M.B.A. Program by allowing students to take fewer courses (five or six courses compared to 20 courses for part-time M.B.A. students), while focusing on a specific area of interest rather than pursuing a broader M.B.A. management degree.  Students who wish to continue their education upon completing the Certificate Program will have the option to matriculate into the part-time or full-time M.B.A. or M.S. program, provided they maintain a 3.0 cumulative average and meet other admissions criteria.

Certificate Programs --- 
All 5 Certificate Programs 
   Application Procedure
   E-Commerce Strategy
   Health Sciences Management
   Service Management
   Financial Analysis (Capital Markets and Investments)
   The Design of Effective Organizations (Organizational Design)

Some Parts of the Corporate Online Distance Learning Business Model Are Thriving
The LRN Center's business model is to provide legal and ethics training courses online to corporations, law firms, and other organizations who generally pay for employees to take courses in law and ethics.  For example, Dow Chemical contracted with LRN to train 50,000 employees.  LRN has similar contracts with many other corporations around the world.  I learned about the LRN Center from W. Michael Hoffman, the Director of the Bentley College Center for Ethics.  Dr. Hoffman writes course modules for LRN in the field of ethics.  After the recent corporate scandals, LRN's prospects for the future are very bright indeed.

LRN Legal Compliance and Ethics Center (LCEC)™ --- 

LRN Legal Compliance and Ethics Center (LCEC)™ is the Web-based system that sets the standard for workplace ethics, legal and compliance education. With innovative technology, a powerful learning management system and a curriculum of more than 140 courses, LCEC offers your enterprise a complete workforce education solution.

Backed by a global network of 1,700 legal experts, LRN®, The Legal Knowledge Company™ offers an integrated legal knowledge management system that encompasses Expert Legal Research and Analysis, LRN KnowledgeBank®, proactive law services and much more. See how LRN is redefining the practice of law with innovation, efficiency and unparalleled expertise.

LRN® , The Legal Knowledge Company TM has been the country's leading purveyor of expert legal knowledge since 1994, with products that include sophisticated legal research and analysis for lawyers, databases of legal memoranda and other materials for corporate law departments and law firms, Web-based ethics and legal compliance education for corporate employees, ethics and compliance consulting, and proactive law services.

The LRN mission is to bring expertise and innovation to the creation, management and dissemination of knowledge that helps make a critical difference to businesses, lawyers and their clients. To accomplish this, LRN has built itself on a firm foundation of expertise. We feature a network of more than 1,700 of the world's finest legal minds, organized into more than 3,000 substantive areas of the law and expertly managed by our own team of highly experienced lawyers. Together, our research network and management team bring expertise to every step in the creation, capture and distribution of legal knowledge products. Our services include:

  • LRN KnowledgeEnvironment — an integrated platform for sharing and disseminating knowledge on an enterprise-wide basis. Fully customizable for our clients, this resource facilitates communications within the legal department and helps provide the entire enterprise with the legal and ethics knowledge it needs.
  • LRN Legal Compliance and Ethics Center (LCEC) — the first entirely Web-based platform designed to deliver customized legal education and training in workplace ethics and legal compliance to employees' desktops
  • LRN Ethics and Consulting Services — by combining LRN expertise with a network of ethics professionals, we help our customers develop, refine and maximize the value in their ethics and compliance programs.
  • LRN Expert Legal Research and Analysis — focused, fixed-price research and analysis performed by seasoned legal professionals
  • LRN Knowledge Platform — the solution for bringing the entire legal team, including outside counsel, together on one platform for sharing critical legal knowledge. Every team member can access research, contracts and every other document from any computer with Internet access.
  • LRN KnowledgeBank — the legal knowledge management system that combines LRN's expert legal research and analysis, the resources of in-house attorneys and the work product of outside counsel into a single, integrated and searchable database

Successful companies all over the world have grasped the power of LRN's expert-driven approach and used it to their advantage. Contact us to learn about how we can put our resources to work to meet your company's business challenges.

UNext also seems to be adopting the online business training model in a big way.  One of the first major contracts obtained by UNext was a contract to educate and train over 90,000 employees of General Motors Corporation.  You can read more about what is happening at UNext at 

Thomson Enterprise Learning Takes Cardean University to Large Businesses Worldwide

Exclusive Agreement with Thomson Brings Cardean University's Award-Winning Online Courses and M.B.A. to Large Businesses

American Marketing Association Partners with Cardean University

Special Offer Provides Professional Business Education Online to 38,000 Members

I had two speakers from UNext in my Atlanta workshop last year.  You can listen to their presentation and view their PowerPoint show at 

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education can be found at 



Expanded Alumni Relations
Many of the top colleges and universities are experimenting with various new programs for alumni.  For example, Stanford University's Graduate School of Business Alumni have the following new options:



Cost Savings Motivations 
Example 1 --- Stanford University --- 

It is possible to save enormous amounts of money using online versus onsite education delivery.  But to save enormous amounts of money, the circumstances probably must be highly unique in which students can succeed with very little communication and human interaction in every course.  

One such unique situation is the ADEPT online Masters of Engineering degree program at Stanford University.  The students are mature and are all graduates in engineering or science from top colleges in the world.  The students are generally highly motivated since a Stanford masters degree greatly improves their career opportunities, especially in economic downturns where competition for jobs becomes more intense.  Most importantly, the students are all extremely intelligent since Stanford can be highly selective regarding admittance into the ADEPT program.

The unique type of student described above allows ADEPT program to rely upon a video pedagogy where students to proceed at their own paces with very little demanded in the way of instructor supervision and communication.  It's the day-to-day instructional communication and supervision that comprise most of the cost of online training and education.  Online programs that minimize this cost will probably make money as long as sufficient numbers of students are willing to pay the fees for the online course materials and the prestige of the course transcripts.

Example 2 --- UNext Corporation --- 

UNext Corporation is not a low-cost training and education venture and is not yet a profitable venture.  However, UNext adopted a strategy that seeks to combine education prestige with lower cost delivery.  One of its headline programs entailed partnering with five prestigious universities (Stanford, Chicago, Carnegie-Mellon, Columbia, and the London School of Economics) to develop and continue to own and monitor 15 courses for an Executive MBA degree.  Each course's transcripts will carry the logo of the university that "owns" that course.  However, each course will be delivered by specially-trained instructors who hire out at much lower rates than faculty from prestigious schools that developed the courses.  In some cases the UNext instructors have doctoral degrees, but in many cases these instructors are highly trained specialists who do not have doctorates.  These instructors perform the labor intensive day-to-day communication and supervision duties.  The prestigious universities who "own" the courses, however, must monitor education standards in the courses since the names of those universities will appear on the course transcripts.

You can listen to UNext faculty and the course designer for Columbia University's accounting course at 

The Dark Side

All that glitters is not gold in terms of cost savings and profits from distance education.  Many of the startup ventures are having difficulty changing faculty attitudes and attracting paying students.  To me this is not surprising since faculty by nature are suspicious beings, and most potential customers of distance education are not yet adequately connected to the Web.  David Noble, however, sees the early failings of many ventures as ominous warnings that distance education is by nature inferior and over-hyped by profit mongers.

And now, in the year 2001, these latest academic entrepreneurs of distance education have begun to encounter the same sobering reality earlier confronted by UCLA and THEN, namely, that all that glitters is not gold. Columbia University's high-profile, for-profit venture Fathom is reported to be "having difficulty attracting both customers and outside investors" compelling the institution to put up an additional $10 million - on top of its original investment of $18.7 million - just to keep the thing afloat. According to Sarah Carr's report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Columbia's administrators remain behind the venture whether or not it makes money.

Howevermuch it might enable administrators to restructure the institutions of higher education to their advantage vis a vis the professoriate, the investment in online education is no guarantee of increased revenues. "Reality is setting in among many distance education administrators", Carr reports. "They are realizing that putting programs online doesn't necessarily bring riches". Ironically, among those now preaching this new-found wisdom is none other than John Kobara, the UCLA vice chancellor who left the university to run Arkatov's company, which was founded upon the expectation of such riches. "The expectations were that online courses would be a new revenue source and something that colleges had to look into", Kobara remembered. "Today", he told Carr, "[chancellors and presidents] are going back and asking some important and tough questions, such as: 'Are we making any money off of it?' 'Can we even pay for it?' 'Have we estimated the full costs?'" Barely eight years after Lapiner and his UCLA colleagues first caught the fool's gold fever, Kobara mused aloud, "I don't think anybody has wild notions that it is going to be the most important revenue source".
David F. Noble, "Fools Gold" --- 

Distance Education Websites --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives for distance education and training are at 

Bob Jensen's threads on technology in education are at 



Learning Curve and Left-in-the Dust Motivations
Example 1 --- Railroad Companies Versus Transportation Companies

In the middle of the 20th Century, just after World War II, the railroad industry was in pretty good shape.  Passenger trains were nearly always full going from coast-to-coast.  The freight business was highly lucrative.  

New opportunities arose (especially airplanes and freight trucks) into which railroad companies could have diversified.  But the railroads decided that they were in the business of hauling people and freight on steel rails rather than in newer 'transportation" alternatives.

And what happened?  Airlines, automobiles, and buses stole the entire passenger market from the railroads in the United States (except for urban commuter lines) and about the only long-haul passenger service had to be subsidized and run by the Federal Government.  Even the commuter lines lost huge market shares to automobiles.

Many colleges and universities are now facing the question of whether they are to remain only onsite (railroad) educational institutions or whether they will enter into distance education (transportation) missions.  Some colleges that have quality living accommodations and reputations as onsite campuses for full-time students will probably survive long into the future just like some railroad companies continue to hall freight and make money.  However, those colleges have minimal growth potential vis-a-vis colleges that expand into distance education.

Example 2 --- The Learning Curve Thing

Even colleges currently resisting all opportunities for expanding into distance education nevertheless find it utterly stupid not to embrace newer educational technologies.  Their new students are arriving on campus with technology skills that they want to expand upon while in college.  College graduates must have technology skills for admissions to graduate schools and employment careers.  

Faculty must have technology skills if they are to help their students improve in technology skills.  And faculty soon discover that technology skills do not come easily.  They increasingly are making demands upon their institutions to provide hardware, software, and technicians who can help in education technologies.

Colleges behind in the technology learning curve are now scrambling to catch up in terms of electronic classrooms, instructional support services, course delivery shells such as Blackboard and WebCT, laptop computers for students and faculty, wireless networking, etc.

Having progressed upward on the learning curve, taking on a mission of distance education becomes more of a possibility.  Faculty who increasingly rely upon chat rooms, discussion boards, virtual classrooms and other utilities in WebCT or Blackboard catch on to the fact that they could be doing the same things for distant students that they are doing for campus residents.  The opportunities for grant money and/or release time to develop a distance education course are no longer as frightening when faculty progress further and further along the technology learning curve.  Improved performances of technology-savvy students add more incentives.



Motivations to Show the World How To Do It Right
(Duke University Decides to Be in the Education Business Rather Than Merely the Classroom Business)
"THE HOTTEST CAMPUS ON THE INTERNET Duke's pricey online B-school program is winning raves from students and rivals," Business Week, October 27, 1997 --- 

Update:  The Duke MBA --- Global Executive MBA Program (formerly called GEMBA) --- 
As of Fall Semester 2001, there have been over 600 graduates from over 38 nations.  In terms of enthusiasm and alumni giving, this program is a real winner for Duke University.

The Duke MBA - Global Executive is every bit as academically demanding as Duke's other two MBA programs. Global Executive uses the same faculty base, the same rigorous grading standards, and provides the same Duke degree. However, the content has been adjusted to include more global issues and strategies to serve a participant population that has far more global management experience.

  • Like most other Executive MBA programs, the Global Executive program is a lock-step curriculum, meaning that all students take all courses. The courses are targeted at general managers who have or will soon assume global responsibilities. The program is designed for those who want to enhance their career path within their existing company. 
  • International Residencies: International residencies are an important ingredient in a global MBA program as they add to the value and richness of the classroom component by providing various lenses (social, economic, cultural, etc.) through which to view various economies and systems. Instead of simply studying about an economy, Fuqua provides an experiential component which adds value to the learning experience ... 
  • Global Student body: Unlike traditional Executive MBA programs which usually have a regional draw, the flexibility of Global Executive accommodates a student body from around the globe. Not only are the students diverse geographically, but they are also diverse in the types of global management experiences that they bring to the classroom.

For the class entering in May 2001, tuition is $95,000. Tuition includes all educational expenses, a state-of-the-art laptop computer, portable printer, academic books and other class materials, and lodging and meals during the five residential sessions. The tuition does not include travel to and from the residential sites.

You can learn a great deal about the extend of distance education in this program by looking at the academic calendar at 

Update:  Duke's Online Cross-Continent  MBA --- 
In Fall Semester 2001, there were 220 students tied into two distance education centers (in Durham, N.C. and in Frankfurt) for the Cross-Continent MBA program.

While in Germany in the Summer of 2001, I had dinner with Tom Keller, former Dean of Duke's Fuqua School of Business and Dean of Duke's Cross-Continent MBA Program.  Tom spent two years in the Frankfort headquarters of Duke's Cross-Continent MBA Program.  This program is quite different from the online Global Executive MBA Program, although both are asynchronous online programs and used some overlapping course materials.  

The Duke MBA - Cross Continent program allows high-potential managers to earn an internationally-focused MBA degree from Duke University in less than two years, utilizing a format that minimizes the disruption of careers and family life. It is designed for individuals with three to nine years professional work experience.

The Duke MBA - Cross Continent program will contain course work with a global emphasis in the subject areas of Management, Marketing, Operations, Economics, Finance, Accounting, Strategy and Decision Sciences.

Students will complete 11 core courses, four elective courses and one integrative capstone course to earn their MBA degree. Two courses will be completed during each of the eight terms of the program. Depending upon their choice of electives, students may choose to complete the one-week residency requirements for their sixth and seventh terms at either Fuqua School of Business location in North America or Europe.

The two classes - one on each continent - will be brought even closer together through a transfer requirement built into the program. During the third term, half of the class from Europe will attend the North American residential session and vice versa. In the fourth term, the other half of each class trades locations for one week of residential learning. After the transfer residencies, the students resume their coursework using the same Internet mediated learning methods as before, but with global virtual teams that have now met in a face-to-face setting

World-Class Resources 
When you're linked to Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, you're connected to a world of resources residing on a network with robust bandwidth capabilities. Duke MBA students have secure access to the Duke and Fuqua business library databases as well as a network of Duke faculty and outside experts.

World-Wide Content Delivery 
The virtual classroom can take on many different forms. Here, a faculty member prepares a macroeconomics lecture for distribution via CD ROM and/or the Internet. Students will download this lecture in a given week of study and follow up with discussion and team projects.

Bulletin Board Discussion 
Rich threads of conversation occur during this asynchronous mode of communication. Professors and guest lecturers can moderate the discussion to keep learning focused.

Real-Time Chat Session 
Occurs between students and classmates as well as faculty. Here, a student in Europe discusses an assignment with a professor in the United States


Because It is the Thing to Do for the Betterment of All People on Earth
Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) of MIT and Other Leading Universities


The Magnificence of Mentoring

The Magnificence of Global Outreach

From Syllabus, May 2002, pp. 41-42 --- 

Linking to Mexico: Connectivity Without Borders

Like  other members of the Internet2 initiative, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) wanted to enhance its research and educational power by joining the consortium of U.S. universities linked to the ultra-high-speed network. But as a major university just miles from the Mexican border, it also wanted to play a role in linking Internet2 to a similar effort in Mexico and, from there, to Central America.
      UTEP is one of only 30 Internet2 gigaPOP sites, which allows it to serve as an Internet2 host for other institutions. To encourage scholarly and cultural exchanges with Mexico, as well as to provide access to the latest technology in both countries, UTEP built a high-speed, point-to-point wireless network. The network spans about five miles from El Paso to Mexico’s Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez (UACJ). UACJ is a member of a Mexican initiative to develop a high-speed network compatible with Internet2.

Continued at 

Technology Aids for the Handicapped and Learning Challenged

"Seeing-Eye Computer Guides for the Blind," by Louise Knapp, Wired News, March 30, 2004 ---,1452,62810,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html 

"Computer algorithms process the images and extract information from them to give the user information about what they are looking at," said Nikolaos Bourbakis, professor at Wright State University's College of Engineering and Computer Science in Dayton, Ohio.

Users can program iCare to feed them information continuously or only when prompted by a question, such as "What is directly in front of me?" or "Who just walked into the room?"

So far, iCare's greatest talent is its ability to translate type into spoken words. The iCare-Reader translates text into a synthesized voice using optical character recognition software and other software that compensates for different lighting conditions and orientations.

David Paul, one of two blind computer science students at Arizona State University, or ASU, who tested the system, said speed is one of the system's greatest assets. "It's as fast as a sighted person could read a book -- this is one of the phenomenal things about it."

The iCare-Reader not only enables blind people to choose any book from the library shelf, but also allows them to check out a restaurant menu, the size marked on a shirt tag or the label on a soup can.

The reader doesn't translate handwritten text well yet, but the team is still working on it.

ICare also lets the blind or visually impaired persons navigate websites previously only accessible with a mouse.

Screen-reader software, such as Jaws, can translate information on a computer screen to spoken word. But this is only useful if users are able to get to the pages they are interested in.

"The way a blind person navigates around the screen is with the keyboard, but there are some sites that don't work so well with keyboard alone and have some mouse-driven applications," said Terri Hedgpeth, disability research specialist at ASU. "But a blind person can't tell where the mouse cursor is, so (he or she) can't access these sites."

To overcome this problem, the ASU team developed another facet of the system, called the iCare-Assistant, that works with Blackboard, software designed to manage university course material.

"We have developed a software interface that bridges the screen-reader software and Blackboard through keyboard shortcuts that get you into these areas," Hedgpeth said.


Learning-challenged students in Ohio are using wearable computers that are helping the kids be more independent and confident.

"A Wearable Aid for Special Kids," by Katie Dean, Wired News, May 10, 2002 ---,1383,52148,00.html 

Jeremy Rossiter was not able to speak when he first entered Lisa Zverloff's class for the multiple-handicapped. The third-grader, who is autistic, communicated by hitting and biting. But with the help of a wearable computer, Jeremy learned to mimic, then utter, words and small phrases.

His success story propelled Xybernaut, the manufacturer of the wearable computer, into a new market.

Xybernaut is more known for supplying computers to telecommunications companies and the military. The devices are used for maintenance purposes in locations where carrying a laptop is not possible, such as manholes and the tops of telephone poles.

Credit Zverloff, a teacher at Erwine Middle School in Akron, Ohio, with bringing wearables into the classroom. Her experience led to the product launch of the XyberKids wearable computers in March.

Zverloff says the durable, touch-screen portable computers have made her students more independent and confident. Some kids use it all day; others use it for specific activities. Several students are able to fully participate in mainstream classrooms while using the devices.

It all started with a cold call to Xybernaut.

Zverloff's fiance, Eric Van Raepenbusch, a special education teacher at Turkeyfoot Elementary, owned stock in the company and suggested she call them.

On the phone, she convinced a nearby sales representative to meet with her and Jeremy -- even though the company's initial response was along the lines of, "But ma'am, we don't use (the computers) for people with disabilities," Zverloff said.

Jeremy eventually tried the device and "he wouldn't put it down," Zverloff said. "That's the only proof I need. He didn't bite me, scratch me, pinch me –- this is a positive thing."

The device cost $9,000, but the company agreed to loan the device to Zverloff, a first-year teacher at the time, to see how Jeremy progressed.

She replaced the belt –- made for an adult -- with a bookbag so Jeremy would be able to carry the 6-pound, 8.4-inch touch screen, hard drive and battery. The device runs on the Windows operating system.

When Jeremy touched different pictures on the screen, a computer-generated voice dictated what the item was. He responded better to the digitized voice because the output is the same volume and tone every time, she said.

"After repeated mimicking of the computer, he then started mimicking the teacher, then he started putting utterances together," Zverloff said. "A three-word utterance is an amazing thing for someone who's only been speaking for two months."

Zverloff also discovered that Jeremy was learning to spell and read.

When she showed him pictures of different animals, he started typing the words and used the voice output. He regularly took the wearable to lunch and on field trips to help him communicate outside the classroom.

"At the end of the year, he was reading words and sentences on a first-grade level," she said.

Researchers are developing similar devices at Stanford University's Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI).

Continued at,1383,52148,00.html 

Susan Spencer is designing online economics courses for San Antonio College (SAC). All online courses at SAC must be accessible by hearing and sight impaired students. Susan will discuss her innovative ideas in designing economics courses that can be delivered online to blind students.

Susan is an associate professor of Economics at San Antonio College. She has an MA from Washington University, a BA in Economics from the University of Missouri at Columbia and has worked at the Federal Reserve Board and Bureau of Labor and Statistics in Washington, DC. In San Antonio, she has taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio and owned and managed Flexware Systems, Inc. a computer software/consulting company.

Susan Spencer's Presentation File Download: 

Susan's presentation file is not yet available.  It will be here soon.

Susan Spencer's MP3 Audio File Download

You may download Susan's MP3 file from the list of fMP3 files at






The Dark Side Versus the Bright Side

The Dark Side

In spite of the successes noted above, most attempts to offer online training and education programs by corporations, private universities, and state-supported colleges and universities have either failed or struggle on with negative net cash flows from the online operations.

Aside from the success story at the University of Phoenix, it appears that reputation and prestige of a university are necessary but not sufficient conditions for high success in online programs.  Online programs at Carnegie-Mellon University, Columbia University, Stanford University, Harvard University, University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, and other top-name schools have attracted students who want those logos on their transcripts.  The is the main reason why many corporations partner with those particular schools for training and education courses.  This "prestige criterion" makes it very difficult for startup education companies or colleges with less prestigious names to expand markets with Internet courses.

Many new online programs have failed to attract sufficient numbers of tuition-paying students to break even on the cost of developing and delivering those programs.  

  • Some like the online teacher education program at McGill University have ceased operations.   California Virtual University never got off the ground.   National Technologica University fell on hard times with poor timing and sold out to Sylvan Learning Systems.

  • Some programs struggle on with miniscule classes while supporting operations with outside funding or funding diverted from onsite training and education programs.

  • Monterrey Tech (which is to Mexico what MIT is to the US), has a multimillion dollar distance education program.  The main campus has a 12-story glass tower (a beautiful building indeed) equipped with production and delivery equipment that constitutes one of two main transmitting facilities of the Monterrey Tech Virtual University ---  the University that delivers courses daily to 29 campuses, 1,272 sites in Mexico, and 159 sites in 10 Latin and South American Countries.  Although this is one of the most successful distance education programs in the world, the number one problem still remains in finding more qualified students who are both willing and able to pay the fees.  See 

Even in established universities that offer fully-accredited degree programs, expanding the market through online programs has been a hard struggle.  The University of Washington found that even free-course promotions did not attract large numbers of students. 

The Fathom program largely run by Columbia University finds that many of its free courses have sparse enrollments.  See 

Links to ventures that became financial disasters are given in the following document:

The Dark Side of the 21st Century: Concerns About Technologies in Education --- Detail File

The Bright Side 

The bottom line seems to be that for many universities seeking to expand markets with online programs, the best solution to date entails partnering with corporations or government agencies who both pay the fees and promote the programs among their employees.

For urban areas such as Mexico City locked in traffic jams, online education appears to have glowing prospects.

Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, it will probably be more difficult for some foreign students to become students on campuses of developed nations such as the U.S. and the U.K.  Online education has bright prospects of reaching those students.

Open share initiatives such as the new open share program in which MIT will make learning materials from virtually all of its courses available for free online, will greatly expand learning opportunities for nearly all people in the world.



Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States
by James Koch ---

The relevant public policy question is this---Does distance learning "work" in the sense that students experience as least as much success when they utilize distance learning modes as compared to when they pursue conventional bricks and mortar education? The answer to this question is a critical in determining whether burgeoning distance learning programs are cost-effective investments, either for students, or for governments.

Of course, it is difficult to measure the "learning" in distance learning, not the least because distance learning courses now span nearly every academic discipline. Hence, most large sample evaluative studies utilize students’ grades as an imperfect proxy for learning. That approach is followed in the study reported here, as well.

A recent review of research in distance education reported that 1,419 articles and abstracts appeared in major distance education journals and as dissertations during the 1990-1999 period (Berge and Mrozowski, 2001). More than one hundred of these studies focused upon various measures of student success (such as grades, subsequent academic success, and persistence) in distance learning courses. Several asked the specific question addressed in this paper: Why do some students do better than others, at least as measured by the grade they receive in their distance learning course? A profusion of contradictory answers has emanated from these studies (Berge and Mrozowski, 2001; Machtmes and Asher, 2000). It is not yet clear how important to individual student success are factors such as the student’s characteristics (age, ethnic background, gender, academic background, etc.). However, other than knowing that experienced faculty are more effective than less experienced faculty (Machtmes and Asher, 2000), we know even less about how important the characteristics of distance learning faculty are to student success, particularly where televised, interactive distance learning is concerned.

Perhaps the only truly strong conclusion emerging from previous empirical studies of distance learning is the oft cited "no significant difference" finding (Saba, 2000). Indeed, an entire web site,, exists that reports 355 such "no significant difference" studies. Yet, without quarreling with such studies, they do not tell us why some students achieve better grades than others when they utilize distance learning.

Several studies have suggested that student learning styles and receptivity to distance learning influence student success (see Taplin and Jegede, 2001, for a short survey). Unfortunately, as Maushak et. al. (2001) point out, these intuitively sensible findings are not yet highly useful, because they are not based upon large sample, control group evidence that relates recognizable student learning styles to student performance. Studies that rely upon "conversation and discourse analysis" (Chen and Willits, 1999, provide a representative example) and interviews with students are helpful, yet are sufficiently anecdotal that they are unlikely to lead us to scientifically based conclusions about what works and what does not.

This paper moves us several steps forward in terms of our knowledge by means of a very large distance education sample (76,866 individual student observations) and an invaluable control group of students who took the identical course at the same time from the same instructor, but did so "in person" in a conventional "bricks and mortar" location. The results indicate that gender, age, ethnic background, distance learning experience, experience with the institution providing the instruction, and measures of academic aptitude and previous academic success are statistically significant determinants of student success. Similarly, faculty characteristics such as gender, age, ethnic background, and educational background are statistically significant predictors of student success, though not necessarily in the manner one might hypothesize.

Continued in this working paper

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education and training alternatives are at

"Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004," The Sloan Consortium --- 

Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004 represents the second annual study of the state of online education in U.S. Higher Education. This year’s study, like last year’s, is aimed at answering some of the fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education. Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and based on responses from over 1,100 colleges and universities, this year’s study addresses the following key questions:

-- Will online enrollments continue their rapid growth?

Last year’s study, Sizing the Opportunity: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2002 and 2003 found that over 1.6 million students were studying online in the fall of 2002, and that schools expected that number to grow substantially by the fall of 2003. The nearly 20% growth rate expected in online enrollments far exceeds the overall rate of growth for the entire higher education student population. Would this very optimistic projection be realized, or would schools begin to see a plateau in their online enrollments?

The evidence
The online enrollment projections have been realized, and there is no evidence that enrollments have reached a plateau. Online enrollments continue to grow at rates faster than for the overall student body, and schools expect the rate of growth to further increase:

Over 1.9 million students were studying online in the fall of 2003. Schools expect the number of online students to grow to over 2.6 million by the fall of 2004. Schools expect online enrollment growth to accelerate — the expected average growth rate for online students for 2004 is 24.8%, up from 19.8% in 2003. Overall, schools were pretty accurate in predicting enrollment growth — last year’s predicted online enrollment for 2003 was 1,920,734; this year’s number from the survey is 1,971,397.

-- Are students as satisfied with online courses as they are with face-to-face instruction?

Schools face the “if you build it will they come?” question: If they offer online courses and students are not satisfied with them, they will not enroll. Do academic leaders, those responsible for the institutions meeting their enrollment goals, believe that students are as satisfied with their online offerings as with their face-to-face instruction?

The evidence: 
Schools that offer online courses believe that their online students are at least as satisfied as those taking their face-to-face offerings:

40.7% of schools offering online courses agree that “students are at least as satisfied” with their online courses, 56.2% are neutral and only 3.1% disagree. Medium and large schools strongly agree (with less than 3% disagreeing). The smallest schools (under 1,500 enrollments) are the least positive, but even they have only 5.4% disagreeing compared to 32.9% agreeing. Doctoral/Research, Masters, and Associates schools are very positive, Specialized and Baccalaureate schools only slightly less so.

-- What role do schools see online learning playing in their long-term strategy?

In order for online learning to enter the mainstream of American higher education, schools must believe in its importance and be willing to embrace it as part of their long-term institutional strategies. Will online learning be seen as a niche among higher education, or will schools see it as an important component of their future evolution?

The evidence: 
Schools believe that online learning is critical to their long term strategy. We asked if “Online education is critical to the long-term strategy” of the school. Every group with the exception of Baccalaureate schools agrees with this statement. Public and large schools were extremely strong in their opinions (only 3% disagreeing):

The majority of all schools (53.6%) agree that online education is critical to their long-term strategy. Among public and private for-profit institutions almost two-thirds (over 65% in both cases) agree. The larger the institution, the more likely it believes that online education is critical. Doctoral/Research, Masters, and Associates schools are very positive, Specialized schools slightly less positive, and Baccalaureate schools slightly negative.

-- What about the quality of online offerings: do schools continue to believe that it measures up?

One of the earliest perceptions about online learning was that it was of lower quality than face-to-face instruction. The evidence from last year’s study showed academic leaders did not agree with this assessment. When asked to compare learning outcomes in online courses with those for face-to-face instruction, academic leaders put the two on very close terms, and expected the online offerings to continue to get better relative to the face-to-face option. Given the continued growth in the number of students online and the pressure that this growth brings in maintaining quality, do academic leaders still believe in the quality of online offerings?

The evidence: 
Schools continue to believe that online learning is just as good as being there:

A majority of academic leaders believe that online learning quality is already equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction. Three quarters of academic leaders at public colleges and universities believe that online learning quality is equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction. The larger the school, the more positive the view of the relative quality of online learning compared to face-to-face instruction. Three quarters of all academic leaders believe that online learning quality will be equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction in three years.

Distance Education Websites --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives for distance education and training are at 

Bob Jensen's threads on technology in education are at 





April 4, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


"Just when we thought we had e-learning all figured out, it's changing again. After years of experimentation and the irrational exuberance that characterized the late 1990s, we find our views of e-learning more sober and realistic." In "What Lies Beyond E-Learning?" (LEARNING CIRCUITS, March 2006), Marc J. Rosenberg suggests that over the next few years we will see six transformations in the field of e-learning:

1. E-learning will become more than "e-training."

2. E-learning will move to the workplace.

3. Blended learning will be redefined.

4. E-learning will be less course-centric and more knowledge-centric.

5. E-learning will adapt differently to different levels of mastery.

6. Technology will become a secondary issue.

This article, online at, is based on Rosenberg's book, BEYOND E-LEARNING: APPROACHES AND TECHNOLOGIES TO ENHANCE ORGANIZATIONAL KNOWLEDGE, LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE. (Pfeiffer, 2005; ISBN: 0787977578). For more information about the book and a sample chapter, go to

From U.K.'s Institute for Learning and Research Technology at the University of Bristol
Social Science Information Gateway

Browse by Subject Map of the SOSIG sections

Business and Management



Environmental Science

European Studies


Government Policy




Research Tools and Methods

Social Welfare



Women's Studies

March 3, 2005 message from Carolyn Kotlas [


"Achieving Success in Internet-Supported Learning in Higher Education," released February 1, 2005, reports on the study of distance education conducted by the Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness (A-HEC). A-HEC surveyed 21 colleges and universities to "uncover best practices in achieving success with the use of the Internet in higher education." Some of the questions asked by the study included:

"Why do institutions move online? Are there particular conditions under which e-Learning will be successful?"

"What is the role of leadership and by whom? What level of investment or commitment is necessary for success?"

"How do institutions evaluate and measure success?"

"What are the most important and successful factors for student support and faculty support?"

"Where do institutions get stuck? What are the key challenges?"

The complete report is available online, at no cost, at

The "core focus" of the nonprofit Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness (A-HEC) "is on communicating how higher education leaders are creating positive change by crystallizing their mission, offering more effective academic programs, defining their role in society, and putting in place balanced accountability measures." For more information, go to . Individual membership in A-HEC is free.

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at 

April 1, 2005 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


In "PCs in the Classroom & Open Book Exams" (UBIQUITY, vol. 6, issue 9, March 15-22, 2005), Evan Golub asks and supplies some answers to questions regarding open-book/open-note exams. When classroom computer use is allowed and encouraged, how can instructors secure the open-book exam environment? How can cheating be minimized when students are allowed Internet access during open-book exams? Golub's suggested solutions are available online at

Ubiquity is a free, Web-based publication of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), "dedicated to fostering critical analysis and in-depth commentary on issues relating to the nature, constitution, structure, science, engineering, technology, practices, and paradigms of the IT profession." For more information, contact: Ubiquity, email: ; Web: 

For more information on the ACM, contact: ACM, One Astor Plaza, 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, USA; tel: 800-342-6626 or 212-626-0500; Web:


EDUCATING THE NET GENERATION, a new EDUCAUSE e-book of essays edited by Diana G. Oblinger and James L. Oblinger, "explores the Net Gen and the implications for institutions in areas such as teaching, service, learning space design, faculty development, and curriculum." Essays include: "Technology and Learning Expectations of the Net Generation;" "Using Technology as a Learning Tool, Not Just the Cool New Thing;" "Curricula Designed to Meet 21st-Century Expectations;" "Faculty Development for the Net Generation;" and "Net Generation Students and Libraries." The entire book is available online at no cost at .

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. For more information, contact: Educause, 4772 Walnut Street, Suite 206, Boulder, CO 80301-2538 USA; tel: 303-449-4430; fax: 303-440-0461; email:;  Web:

See also:

GROWING UP DIGITAL: THE RISE OF THE NET GENERATION by Don Tapscott McGraw-Hill, 1999; ISBN: 0-07-063361-4


"The unpredictability of the student context and the mediated relationship with the student require careful attention by the educational designer to details which might otherwise be managed by the teacher at the time of instruction." In "Elements of Effective e-Learning Design" (INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF RESEARCH IN OPEN AND DISTANCE LEARNING, March 2005) Andrew R. Brown and Bradley D. Voltz cover six elements of effective design that can help create effective e-learning delivery. Drawing upon examples from The Le@rning Federation, an initiative of state and federal governments of Australia and New Zealand, they discuss lesson planning, instructional design, creative writing, and software specification. The paper is available online at 

International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) [ISSN 1492-3831] is a free, refereed ejournal published by Athabasca University - Canada's Open University. For more information, contact Paula Smith, IRRODL Managing Editor; tel: 780-675-6810; fax: 780-675-672; email: ; Web:

The Le@rning Federation (TLF) is an "initiative designed to create online curriculum materials and the necessary infrastructure to ensure that teachers and students in Australia and New Zealand can use these materials to widen and enhance their learning experiences in the classroom." For more information, see


"Recommended Reading" lists items that have been recommended to me or that Infobits readers have found particularly interesting and/or useful, including books, articles, and websites published by Infobits subscribers. Send your recommendations to carolyn_kotlas@unc.ed u for possible inclusion in this column.

Author Clark Aldrich recommends his new book:


Description from Wiley website:

"Designed for learning professionals and drawing on both game creators and instructional designers, Learning by Doing explains how to select, research, build, sell, deploy, and measure the right type of educational simulation for the right situation. It covers simple approaches that use basic or no technology through projects on the scale of computer games and flight simulators. The book role models content as well, written accessibly with humor, precision, interactivity, and lots of pictures. Many will also find it a useful tool to improve communication between themselves and their customers, employees, sponsors, and colleagues."

The table of contents and some excerpts are available at

Aldrich is also author of SIMULATIONS AND THE FUTURE OF LEARNING: AN INNOVATIVE (AND PERHAPS REVOLUTIONARY) APPROACH TO E-LEARNING. See  for more information or to request an evaluation copy of this title.

Bob Jensen's documents on education technology are at

Ideas for Teaching Online (including Distance Education via Centra Symposium and Webex) ---

What is Hybrid Distance Learning

"Putting a Faculty on Distance Education Programs, by William H. Riffee, Syllabus, February 2003, Page 13


At a Glance: Hybrid Distance Learning
  • Hybrid Distance Learning: A distance learning program using both electronic delivery and local facilitators or mentors to coach, counsel, and support students

  • Ideal Student/Facilitator Ratio: Approximately 12:1

  • Facilitator Traits: Teaching skills, clinical experience, time availability, compatible philosophy

  • Facilitator Training: Training at host university, shadowing current faculty member, telephone conferences, annual training updates

  • Compensation: Level based on current salary for such a professional in the region where they are located

  • Quote: "Traditionally, distance education has been developed as stand-alone Web-based programs with little interaction between faculty and students other than through electronic means. The University of Florida has found that the addition of the facilitator/mentor faculty has brought a new dimension to distance-based programs, one that has improved overall quality. The additional academic experiences available to our distance education students have put a now-familiar face on our distance education programs."—Bill Riffee

"The B-School at Company X," by: Sharon Shinn, BizEd from the AACSB, May/June 2004, pp. 32-37 (not free online)

Corporate universities are focused, committed to employee education, and here to stay.  Traditional business schools must learn how to work with them in creative and productive partnerships.

About ten years ago, when corporate universities were exploding onto the scene, sentiment was deeply divided between fear that such institutions would rob business schools of all their students and conviction that corporate universities would be a brief and passing phase.  It turns out that neither expectation was true.  Today's corporate university is an entrenched part of the business landscape, working hard to satisfy both its students and the CEOs of its parent organizations by providing targeted education that can demonstrably improve performance in the workplace.  Today's corporate university also draws heavily on the expertise of traditional four-year universities--and some people believe that broader and stronger partnerships between schools and businesses will shape the future of company-based education.

While the phrase "corporate university" has been used to mean everything from a revamped training department to a degree-granting branch of a major corporation, it's possible to come up with a more exact description.  One good definition comes courtesy of Mark Allen, director of executive education at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University, Culver City, California, and co-author of The Corporate University Handbook.  He believes a corporate  university must be a strategic tool that helps the parent organization achieve its mission through educational activities.  What's key, he stresses, is that whatever training or learning is involved be tied directly to the strategic mission of the company.

In other words, nobody goes to Corporate U just to kill a few hours.  Such a school offers learning with a purpose--improving a specific employee's performance in a specific area of the job in a way that's measurable.


Corporate universities exist to fulfill four main goals: to teach topics like leadership and communication to executives; to standardize skills and knowledge for certain jobs within the company; to help the company as a whole develop a unified culture; and to develop strong networks among employees.

Developing "soft skills" is something corporate universities do very well, says Mike Morrison, dean of associate education and development at University of Toyota in Torrance, California.  "Part of it is, we have to," he says.  "Once people are in the work environment, they see that the work world is very relational.  Problem-solving skills, creativity and innovation are in much higher demand, and the ability to self-design work is critical."

Also critical is the ability to provide mission-specific education with instant relevance.  Tom Doyle, director of Menlo Worldwide's Menlo University in Dayton, Ohio, says, "Each of our courses is aligned with the strategic products, services, or value propositions that we take to the marketplace.  There are no electives.  You don't have to have a physical education unit to get through."

Just as important to many corporations is that their universities help them create a single image of the company or a standardized protocol.  Sometimes, as with Menlo University, the school is a consolidation of a disparate collection of training programs that used to be centered in different departments or physical locations.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on education are at 


"Principles for Building Success in Online Education, by Jacqueline Moloney and Steven Tello, Syllabus, February 2003, pp. 15-17 --- 

As higher education adminstrators, we faced numerous challenges beginning in 1996 when we launched our online efforts at UMass-Lowell. Which courses or programs to migrate, what faculty to involve, and which platform to use are just a few of the many complex decisions that institutions must confront in building online programs. To help others, we've created a rubric that covers five strategic areas of decision making:

A set of four operating principles that evolved with the success of our program exist as important guides:

Principles in Action
Consistent with the principles above, UMass-Lowell's online education program started very small, with a handful of pioneering faculty. Like many public universities, we were trying to identify new markets that could bring needed revenues to the campus and expand access to our programs. Therefore, the online program was initiated through the Division of Continuing, Corporate and Distance Education (CCDE) to address those campus needs. As a self-supporting organization, CCDE was to identify strategies that would generate sufficient revenues to cover program development and delivery costs. Working through decisions by employing the principles previously outlined, we were able to overcome the obstacles that often inhibit the growth of online education.

The online program at UMass-Lowell now offers six full degree programs and enrolls approximately 6,000 per year. It is one of the largest online programs in New England and is a major contributor to UMassOnline, the University of Massachusetts system-wide effort to provide online education. The program at Lowell is entirely self-supporting and returns significant revenues to the campus that seed continuous growth. Below, we examine some of our formative decisions in the five strategic areas, and consider the operating principles that guided our choices.

Selection of Courses and Programs
Continued at  


October 8, 2003 message from Laurie Padgett [padgett8@BELLSOUTH.NET]


Yes it was live chat (synchronous) using voice (which also had a text chat box). In s particular class we would meet every other week in the evening around 7/8. I think they lasted 1 hr to 1 1/2 hr (I can not recall exactly). I took two classes a semester so I would attend two live chats for every two weeks. The instructors would coordinate to ensure they would not plan the class for the same evening. In addition to the live chat, we also used another program that I just can not remember the name of it (I think it might have been called Placeware). It was really neat because it looked like an auditorium and you were a little character (or may I say a colored dot). You could raise your hand, ask a question, type text, etc. We would use the chat program where he would talk as he conducted the presentation in the other program. If you had a question you would raise your hand & then use the live chat to talk. The program was starting to get more advanced as I graduated.

The Master's of Accounting program that I went through (as I understand it from the professor I had) was one of the first to go online for this particular program. I was in the first graduating class which started April of 2000 and completed September 2001. I attended Nova Southeastern University in Florida. ( )

I know that some feel that live chat (synchronous) might not work due to time zones and some feel that the text works just as well. From my personal experience and opinion I feel that a Master's program in "Accounting" needs more than just text written but interaction between your fellow classmates too. I feel it was more productive because it is like you are sitting in a class listening to the instructor and you have the opportunity to ask a question by typing in the box & then the instructor sees it & answers it with his voice. Additionally, you cover much more subject area than you can with a text chat. It really worked well.

Again, these are my opinions and each person has his own. This is what makes us unique.


-----Original Message-----
Subject: Re: peer evaluation of a web-based course


When you say "live" chat, are you referring to the chats in which all students come together at the same time (synchronous)? I tried to initiate this type of chat in my online class and found students's schedules to be an issue.

Has anyone tried putting students into groups to do synchronous chatting about assignments? How did this work for your class?

Lauretta A. Cooper, MBA, CPA
Delaware Technical & Community College Terry Campus

In September 2003, Bonnie B. Mullinix and David McCurry provide a helpful road map for online education—-in the form of an annotated "webliography" of resource centers, professional organizations, and other sites that promote the discussion and development of technology-enhanced teaching and learning environments --- 

Bonk, C. J. (2003). Welcome. Retrieved August 30, 2003, from 

Bonk, C. J., Cummings, J. A., Hara, N., Fischler, R. B., & Lee, S. M. (2000). A ten level web integration continuum for higher education: New resources, activities, partners, courses, and markets. Retrieved August 30, 2003, from 

Carlén, U. (2002, November). Typology of online learning communities. Paper presented at the NetLearning2002 conference, Ronneby, Sweden. Retrieved August 30, 2003, from 

Carroll, T. G. (2000). If we didn't have the schools we have today, would we create the schools we have today? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 1(1). Retrieved August 30, 2003, from 

Chickering, A. W., & Ehrmann, S. C. (1996, October). Implementing the seven principles: Technology as lever. American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, 3-6. Retrieved August 30, 2003, from 

Lago, M. E. (2000, November). The hybrid experience: How sweet it is! Converge. Retrieved August 30, 2003, from 

McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media: The extensions of man. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Stammen, R. M. (2001, January). Basic understandings for developing learning media for the classroom and beyond. Learning Technology, 3(1). Retrieved August 30, 2003, from 

Testa, A. M. (2000). Seven principles for good practice in teaching and technology. In R. Cole (Ed.), Issues in web-based pedagogy: A critical primer (pp. 237-245). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Vest, C. M. (2003). MIT OpenCourseWare: A message from the president. Retrieved August 30, 2003, from 

"The Changing Landscape of Distance Education: What micro-market segment is right for you?" by Judith Boettcher, Syllabus, July 2002, pp.22-27 --- 

What Micro-Market Segment is Right for Your Institution?

What is the state of distance learning and online learning in higher education today? It is in a state of evolution and development. The best strategy for traditional non-profit institutions may be to develop a “micro-market segment” in distance learning that is right for your institution. A possible strategy follows:

Education, and particularly e-learning, is a huge growth market for the foreseeable future. Depending on where you want to be, you and your institution will be a part of it. Online and distance learning may not be a silver bullet, but it might be one way for your institution to be reach out and provide valuable learning experiences, enriching your on-campus students as well as serving more remote and part-time students. “Focus and Extend”—focus on your expertise and extend out to similar students who can now reach you via the Internet.


Distance Education Websites --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives for distance education and training are at 

Bob Jensen's threads on technology in education are at 

Types of Institutions, Degrees, and Applications of Distance and Online Learning
Types of Institutions Degrees, Programs, Certificates, Modules Distance and eLearning Applications Target Market: Ages Target Market: Work Commitments
Traditional Research and Four-Year Comprehensive
  Traditional undergraduate, Master’s, Doctoral degrees Primarily campus-based w/online components, Web-enhanced courses 18-45 Working part-time
  Professional academic degrees, i.e, Medicine, Law, Engineering, Business, etc. Primarily campus-based w/online components, Web-enhanced courses 25-55 Working part-time
Community College
  Associate degrees
Primarily campus-based 18-45 Working part- or full-time
  Specialty trade education
Primarily campus-based 24-50 Working part- or full-time
  Ad-hoc skills training Primarily campus-based 16-70+ Working part- or full-time
Partnerships of Academe and Education Companies, (plus Continuing Ed divisions of traditional campus providers)
  Completion degrees, Bachelors, Master’s, etc. Primarily online w/some face-to-face meetings 24-60 Working full-time
  Specialty career degrees
Primarily online w/some face-to-face meetings 24-60 Working full-time
  Career updating, refreshing of professional degrees, continuing education modules Primarily online w/some face-to-face meetings 24-60 Working full-time
  Product and service training Either online or face-to-face or mix 24-60 Working full-time
For-Profit Education Companies
  Completion degrees, Bachelors, Master’s, etc. Primarily online w/some face-to-face meetings 24-60 Working full-time
  Specialty career degrees
Primarily online w/some face-to-face meetings 24-60 Working full-time
  Career updating, refreshing of professional degrees, continuing education modules Either online or face-to-face or mix 24-60 Working full-time

The introductory block of this article is at

Models for Distributed/Distance Education
  Training Credential/Certification Degree Credits Undergraduate Degree Graduate Degree
Established College or University

U.S and International Distance Education Course Finders

Virtually all major college extension programs:

U.S. Army
Open University
U. of Wisconsin
Michigan Virtual UCLA Online
U. of Texas

Iowa State University

American School and Univ. --- CLU

Microsoft Certifications at many colleges

Nearly all colleges that have training programs, especially computer training programs and teacher certificate programs  --- Clearninghouse

Over half of all colleges offer courses for credit

Open University
Harvard Univ..
Oxford Univ. 
Stanford Online
Penn State
UCLA Online
U. of Texas
Open University
U. of Wisconsin
Michigan Virtual UCLA Online
U. of Texas

Over a third of all colleges offer selected undergraduate degrees

U.S. Army
Open University

Oxford University
UCLA Online

U. of Texas
Open University
U. of Wisconsin
Michigan Virtual UCLA Online
U. of Texas

Use great care in selecting online graduate degrees.  Many are frauds.  Some are legitimate, especially is selected areas of study such as masters and doctorates in education, information technology, and business

Stanford's ADEPT
Duke's Global MBA
Open University

  Training Credential/Certification Degree Credits Undergraduate  Degree Graduate Degree
Corporate-Brokered College Delivery

U.S and International Distance Education Course Finders

National Technlogical University'

California's CVU


Christian University Global Net

Hungry Minds University

California's CVU
Hungry Minds University
California's CVU
Hungry Minds University
California's CVU
Hungry Minds University
National Technlogical University'

California's CVU


Hungry Minds Uniiversityv


College Content
Corp. Delivery
Most colleges using the following: 
Campus Pipeline
DeVry Inc.
Sylvan Learning Systems

UC Berkeley/AOL

UNext/Stanford et al.

Most colleges using the following: 
Campus Pipeline
DeVry Inc.
Sylvan Learning Systems

Most colleges using the following: 
Campus Pipeline
DeVry Inc.
Sylvan Learning Systems
University Alliance
Some colleges using the following: 
Campus Pipeline
DeVry Inc.
Sylvan Learning Systems
University Alliance
Selected colleges using the following: 
Campus Pipeline
DeVry Inc.
Sylvan Learning Systems
University Alliance


  Training Credential/Certification Degree Credits Undergraduate Degrees Graduate Degrees
Corp. Content
College Delivery
Most all college training courses dealing with corporate products and services Most all colleges teaching certification courses such as Microsoft Certification training courses Sometimes colleges outsource parts (but not all) of course content for their own courses.

UNC's Pre-MBA Courses Used Quisc

  Sometimes colleges outsource parts (but not all) of course content for their own courses.

UNC's Online MBA Used Quisc

Sylvan's video content  for the  Wharton School, , Johns Hopkins University (medical), and the USC  Marshall School of Business,

  Training Credential/Certification Degree Credits Undergraduate Degrees Graduate Degrees
Multiple University Partnerships Sometimes these partnerships are for dedicated programs.  For example Florida State University and the Jacksonville Community College partnered to deliver training and education courses for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service   The Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan Business School, and the Darden School at the University of Virginia will offer each other's students online classes specializing in e-business. Example:
Virtually all universities in the University of Wisconsin system are cooperating of delivery on selected online degree programs.

Florida State University contracted to develop courses for Open University

JEBNET: Jesuit colleges team up to offer onsite and online programs  (Includes an MBA program in China.)
College-Owned For-Profit Corporations Examples:
University of Maryland University College

New York University Online

Columbia U. et al. Fathom

Duke Education Corp

Maryland University College

New York University Online

Columbia U. et al. Fathom

Duke Education Corp

Columbia Univ.
Morningside Ventures

Maryland University College

New York University Online


University of Maryland University College

New York University Online


  Training Credential/Certification Degree Credits Undergraduate Degrees Graduate Degree
Other For-Profit Corporations


U.S and International Distance Education Course Finders

Univ. of Phoenix
The Kaplan Colleges

DeVry Inc. and Keller Graduate School of Management

Sylvan Learning Systems

UNext's Cardian U.

Arthur Andersen Professional Learning

Ernst&Young Univ.

General Electric U.
Sun Microsystems U.
Sears University
Motorola Univ.
McDonald's Hamburger Univ.

Univ. of Phoenix
The Kaplan Colleges

DeVry Inc. and Keller Graduate School of Management

Sylvan Learning Systems

UNext's Cardian U.

Arthur Andersen Professional Learning

Ernst&Young Univ.


Univ. of Phoenix
The Kaplan Colleges

Harcourt Univ.

DeVry Inc. 

Sylvan Learning Systems

UNext's Cardian U.

Arthur Andersen Professional Learning

Ernst&Young Univ.

General Electric U.
Sun Microsystems U.
Sears University
Motorola Univ.


Univ. of Phoenix
The Kaplan Colleges

Harcourt Univ.

UNext's Cardian U.

Arthur Andersen Professional Learning

Ernst&Young Univ.

General Electric U.
Sun Microsystems U.
Sears University
Motorola Univ.


There are many fraudulent degree programs.  Buyer beware.  In additon to online graduate degrees given by reputable corporations like Motorola, there are some respected graduate degrees.Those listed below are not frauds.

Concord School of Law

Jones International

Keller Graduate School of Management

UNext's Cardian U.


Professional Associations. Almost all professional associations are now providing or brokering continuing education training.
Mortgage Bankers Assn

American Colleges of the South

American Chemical Society


Revenue and Accreditation Hurdles Facing Corporate Universities

One thing that just does not seem to work is a university commenced by a major publishing house.  McGraw-Hill World University was virtually stillborn at the date of birth as a degree-granting institution.  It evolved into McGraw-Hill Online Learning (  ) that does offer some interactive training materials, but the original concept of an online university ( having distance education courses for college credit) is dead and buried.  Powerful companies like Microsoft Corporation started up and then abandoned going it alone in establishing new online universities.

The last venturesome publishing company to start a university and fight to get it accredited is now giving up on the idea of having its own virtual university --- 
Harcourt Higher Education University was purchased by a huge publishing conglomerate called Thompson Learning See .  Thomson had high hopes, but soon faced the reality that it is probably impossible to compete with established universities in training and education markets.

The Thomson Corporation has announced that it will not continue to operate Harcourt Higher Education: An Online College as an independent degree-granting institution. Harcourt Higher Education will close on August 27, 2001. The closing is the result of a change of ownership, which occurred on July 13, 2001, when the Thomson Corporation purchased the online college from Harcourt General, Inc.

From Syllabus e-News on August 7, 2001

Online College to Close Doors

Harcourt Higher Education, which launched an online for-profit college in Massachusetts last year, is closing the school's virtual doors Sept. 28. Remaining students will have their credentials reviewed by the U.S. Open University, the American affiliate of the Open University in England.

We can only speculate as to the complex reasons why publishing companies start up degree-granting virtual universities and subsequently abandon efforts provide credit courses and degrees online.  

Enormous Revenue Shortfall (Forecast of 20,000 students in the first year;  Reality turned up 20 students)

"E-COLLEGES FLUNK OUT," By: Elisabeth Goodridge, Information Week, August 6, 2001, Page 10 

College students appear to prefer classroom instruction over online offerings.

Print and online media company Thomson Corp. said last week it plans to close its recently acquired, for-profit online university, Harcourt Higher Education.  Harcourt opened with much fanfare a year ago, projecting 20,000 enrollees within five years, but only 20 to 30 students have been attending.

Facing problems from accreditation to funding, online universities have been struggling mightily--in stark contrast to the success of the overall E-learning market.  A possible solution?  E-learning expert Elliott Masie predicts "more and more creative partnerships between traditional universities and online ones."

Roosters Guarding the Hen House
Publishing houses failed to gain accreditations.  I suspect that major reason is that the AACSB and other accrediting bodies have made it virtually impossible for corporations to obtain accreditation for startup learning corporations that are not partnered with established colleges and universities.  In the U.S., a handful of corporations have received regional accreditation (e.g., The University of Phoenix and Jones International Corporation), but these were established and had a history of granting degrees prior to seeking accreditation.  In business higher education, business corporations face a nearly impossible hurdle of achieving business school accreditation ( see ) since respected accrediting bodies are totally controlled by the present educational institutions (usually established business school deans who behave like roosters guarding the hen house).  Special accrediting bodies for online programs have sprung up, but these have not achieved sufficient prestige vis-à-vis established accrediting bodies.  

Note the links to accreditation issues at )
Where GAAP means Generally Accepted Accreditation Principles)

All About Accreditation: A brief overview of what you really need to know about accreditation, including GAAP (Generally Accepted Accrediting Practices). Yes, there really are fake accrediting agencies, and yes some disreputable schools do lie. This simple set of rules tells how to sort out truth from fiction. (The acronym is, of course, borrowed from the field of accounting. GAAP standards are the highest to which accountants can be held, and we feel that accreditation should be viewed as equally serious.)

GAAP-Approved Accrediting Agencies: A listing of all recognized accrediting agencies, national, regional, and professional, with links that will allow you to check out schools.

Agencies Not Recognized Under GAAP: A list of agencies that have been claimed as accreditors by a number of schools, some totally phony, some well-intentioned but not recognized.

FAQs: Some simple questions and answers about accreditation and, especially, unaccredited schools.

For more details on accreditation and assessment, see

Is lack of accreditation the main reason why corporate universities such as McGraw-Hill World University, Harcourt Higher Education University, Microsoft University, and other corporations have failed in their attempts to compete with established universities? 

Bob Jensen's Answer:
Although the minimum accreditation (necessary for transferring of credits to other colleges)  is a very important cause of failure  in the first few years of attempting to attract online students, it is not the main cause of failure.  Many (most) of the courses available online were training courses for which college credit transfer is not an issue.

  1. Why did the University of Wisconsin (U of W) swell with over 100,000 registered online students while Harcourt Higher Education University (HHWU) struggled to get 20 registered?

    Let me begin to answer my own question with two questions.  If you want to take an online training or education course from your house in Wisconsin's town of Appleton, would you prefer to pay more much more for the course from HHWU than a low-priced tuition for Wisconsin residents at the U of W.  If you were a resident of Algona, Iowa and the price was the same for the course whether you registered at HHWU or U of W, would you choose U of W?  My guess is that in both cases, students would choose U of W, because the University of Wisconsin has a long-term tradition for quality and is likely to be more easily recognized for quality on the students' transcripts.

  2. Why can the University of Wisconsin offer a much larger curriculum than corporate universities?

    The University of Wisconsin had a huge infrastructure for distance education long before the age of the Internet.  Televised distance education across the state has been in place for over 30 years.  Extension courses have been given around the entire State of Wisconsin for many decades.  The University of Wisconsin's information technology system is already in place at a cost of millions upon millions of dollars.  There are tremendous economies of scale for the University of Wisconsin to offer a huge online curriculum for training and education vis-à-vis a startup corporate university starting from virtually scratch.

  3. What target market feels more closely attached to the University of Wisconsin than some startup corporate university?

    The answer is obvious.  It's the enormous market comprised of alumni and families of alumni from every college and university in the University of Wisconsin system of state-supported schools.

  4. What if a famous business firm such as Microsoft Corporation or Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) elected to offer a prestigious combination of executive training and education to only upper-level management in major international corporations?  What are the problems in targeting to business executives?

    This target market is already carved out by alumni of elite schools such as Stanford, Harvard, Chicago, Carnegie-Mellon, Columbia, London School of Economics, Duke, University of Michigan, University of Texas, and the other universities repeatedly ranked among the top 50 business schools in the nation.  Business executives are more often than not snobs when it comes to universities in the peer set of "their" alma maters.  Logos of top universities are worth billions in the rising executive onsite and online training and education market.  UNext Corporation recognized this, and this is the reason why the its first major step in developing an online executive education program was to partner with five of the leading business schools in the world.

  5. Why does one corporate university, The University of Phoenix, prosper when others fail or limp along with costs exceeding revenues?  

    The University of Phoenix is the world's largest private university.  The reason for its success is largely due to a tradition of quality since 1976.  This does not mean that quality has always been high for every course over decades of operation, but each year this school seems to grow and offer better and better courses.  Since most of its revenues still come from onsite courses, it is not clear that the school would prosper if it became solely an online university.  The school is probably further along on the learning curve than most other schools in terms of adult learners.  It offers a large number of very dedicated and experienced full-time and part-time faculty.  It understands the importance of small classes and close communications between students and other students and instructors.  It seems to fill a niche that traditional colleges and universities have overlooked.

  6. What major corporation signed with a major state university to receive online MBA degrees in finance?

    "Deere & Company Turns to Indiana University's Kelley School of Business For Online MBA Degrees in Finance," Yahoo Press Release, October 8, 2001 ---

You can read more about these happenings at 
Especially note the prestigious universities going online at 

At the University of Wisconsin
"Online Degree Program Lets Students Test Out of What They Already Know," by Angela Chen, June 20, 2012 --- Click Here

The University of Wisconsin plans to start a “flexible degree” program online focused on allowing undergraduates to test out of material they have mastered.

The new program, geared toward working adults with some college education, operates under a “competency based” model, said Raymond Cross, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension. This model is similar to the Advanced Placement program, in which high-school students take AP tests to pass out of college-level courses.

In the university’s new program, college courses will be broken down into units. For example, a higher-level mathematics class could include units such as linear algebra and trigonometry. Students can then test out of certain units (instead of full courses) and spend time learning only material that is new to them. Eventually, the units will build into courses, and then a degree. The flexible-degree program and traditional-degree program will have identical course requirements, and since each flexible degree will be associated with a specific campus, the student will receive a diploma from the originating campus and not from the system.

“We’re trying to find ways to reduce the cost of education,” Mr. Cross said. “Implicit in the model is the idea that you can take lectures online from free sources—like Khan Academy and MITx—and prepare yourself for the competency test. Then take the remaining courses online at UW.”

The biggest challenge, he says, is determining how to best test competency. Some units will require tests, while others may require written papers or laboratory work. The difficulty of measuring “competency’” for any unit will affect the program’s pricing structure, which has not yet been determined.

The idea of competency-based credentials is common in technical and health fields, Mr. Cross said, but it is rare at traditional universities. The program is part of a push to encourage Wisconsin’s 700,000 college dropouts to go back to a university.

“With higher ed now, people often have a piece or two missing in their education, so we are responding to the changes in our culture and helping them pull all these pieces together,” Mr. Cross said. “Students already interface with a lot of different institutions and different classes and professors, and this will help that process. I don’t think this diminishes traditional higher ed at all. I think it’ll enhance it.”

The first courses in the flexible-degree program will be available starting in fall 2013. The university is still developing exact degree specifications, Mr. Cross said. Likely degrees include business management and information technology.

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education training and education alternatives ---

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment (including distance education assessment issues and competency-based testing) ---


From Syllabus e-News on July 24, 2001

Online Degree Program to Address Teacher Shortage

Due to increasing student enrollment, teacher retirements, and class size reduction, California faces a crucial shortage of elementary school teachers, which is expected to intensify over the next ten years. In response to the problem, the Cali-fornia State University is now offering an opportunity for undergraduates to earn their liberal studies degree through Liberal Studies Online, an online degree completion program for individuals working toward a California teaching credential. Administered through CSU Chico, online courses will originate from the Chico campus and CSU Sacramento. The first online courses will be available beginning fall 2001.

For more information, visit

Innovative and difficult to classify:

US Military --- Over 4,000 training and education courses from a variety of sources, including US Air University.

The U.S. IRS offers Internet education opportunities. IRS employees who want to get ahead in the organization are heading back to the classroom - 21st century style. College level courses in accounting, finance, tax law, and other business subjects will be available on the Internet to IRS employees. 

For example, the IRS online accounting classes will be served up from Florida State University and Florida Community College at Jacksonville --- 

Examples are listed at 

InstantKnowledge Online Study Guides --- integrates the worlds of technology and education to help you study.

Our scholars create high quality, peer-reviewed educational materials, the first of which is the series of literary KnowledgeNotes now available on our site. Along with our technology partners, our team is developing Seek.Find. Seek.Find. will be a searchable database that gives you twenty-four hour access to over a million journal articles and textbooks.

Knowledge Portals
The many knowledge portals that are springing up like wildfire.  These databases contain vast databases of knowledge that can be accessed either for free or for fees ranging from cheap to very expensive.  --- 

Comparative Advantages of Colleges and Universities
For details go to

Comparative Advantage

Year 2000

Year 2020

Prestige Logo and Ranking for Quality in Such Surveys as the U.S. News Rankings  Highly important in attracting top onsite and online students. Extremely important for attracting top students and partnerings with business firms and government.  

For example, the nearly $100,000 tuition for Duke's Virtual MBA is paid by corporate partners who pay to send one or more students per year.

For example, firms such as E&Y and PwC pay millions to have high ranking universities offer degree programs dedicated to their employees.

Alumni Base and Power Within Business Firms and Government Important when attracting new students such as children of alumni Highly increased if alumni work actively to promote online training and education programs of their alma maters

Comparative Advantage

Year 2000

Year 2020

Reputation for high quality preparatory, training, and education of minority students, handicapped students, and religious-affiliated students Highly important in attracting and retaining onsite and online students Extremely important for attracting top students and partnerings with business firms and government.

For example, the IRS will be paying millions to Jacksonville Community College to provide online accounting training and education courses to virtually all IRS employees, many of whom are minorities.

Gallaudet University for the hearing impaired has a reputation for dealing with the special needs for the hearing impaired.

Brigham Young University is the flagship university for the Mormon Church.

Residential and Athletic Participation Infrastructure
on Campus
Highly Important for Onsite Students Highly Important for Onsite Students,  
but there will be new developments in eDorms (University of Maryland)
Geographic Location Very important to virtually all onsite resident and commuting students within a region Greatly diminished except as an attraction to full-time resident students (e.g., the attraction of the mountains, the ocean, the urban attractions, foreign travel,  etc.)  HDTV may restore some importance to geography since TV stations broadcast locally.

Comparative Advantage

Year 2000

Year 2020

Language Very important to all onsite and online students Greatly diminished as language choices increase for online students.  

For example, language students may interact online and in teleconferencing with foreign businesses, cafes, schools, and homes.

Webcam shopping for a dress in Paris. 

Financial Endowment Very important for all onsite and online programs Highly important for physical plant and   onsite programs.  For online programs, equity capital markets will be more important

Comparative Advantage

Year 2000

Year 2020

Full-Line Curriculum Very important for onsite programs and less important for online programs Greatly diminished importance as highly specialized online programs begin to supplement both online and onsite curricula
Research Reputation Very important for attracting top faculty and funding Greatly diminished importance as online programs begin to provide better compensation packages and lifestyle choices to work at home where home happens to be located

Some corporate providers are partnering with colleges and universities and providing their own, possibly competing, programs.  For example, Ernst & Young created Intellinex for delivering its own training and education programs and partnered with Notre Dame University and the University of Virginia to deliver masters of accounting education to newly hired graduates in E&Y.

For its consulting division, PwC built a training campus in Tampa and contracted with the University of Georgia to deliver an online MBA program to PwC employees.

"Will the Internet Transform Higher Education?" by Walter S. Baer, The Emerging Internet, Annual Review of the Institute for Information Studies, Charles M. Firestone, Program Director. Copyright © 1998 Institute for Information Studies --- 

Walter S. Baer 
Senior Policy Analyst 
RAND Corporation 

American higher education faces formidable challenges caused by changing student demographics, severe financial constraints, and lingering institutional rigidities. (See Footnote 1) At the same time, increased demands are being placed on higher education to provide greater student access to education, better undergraduate programs, and increased productivity. To address both sets of issues, institutions of higher education are turning to new communications and information technologies that promise to increase access, improve the quality of instruction, and (perhaps) control costs. 

The use of older technologies for distance learning in post-secondary education (See Footnote 2) has already been shown to be cost-effective in such diverse settings as the Open University in the United Kingdom, four-year and community colleges in the United States, satellite-delivered video courses for engineers and other professionals, and corporate and military training. Now the Internet is being proposed as the preferred technology to improve instruction, increase access, and raise productivity in higher education. (See Footnote 3) College and university instructors now routinely post their syllabi and course readings to the World Wide Web. A few use lectures and other instructional materials available on the Web in their own courses. A growing number of schools offer at least some extension or degree- credit courses over the Internet. And more ambitious plans are in various stages of preparation or early implementation --- plans for entire virtual universities that use the Internet to reach geographically dispersed students.

Two distinct models guide current efforts to make use of the Internet in higher education. The first approach seeks to improve existing forms and structures of post-secondary instruction --- to create "better, faster, cheaper" versions of today's courses and curricula by means of the Internet. This model emphasizes building an on-campus information infrastructure that provides (or will provide) high-speed Internet connectivity to all students, faculty, administrators, and staff. Faculty then can use this infrastructure to improve and supplement traditional courses and degree programs. Library holdings can be digitized and made available both on-and off-campus. (See Footnote 4). Administrative processes can be speeded up and simplified. And although the focus remains on on-campus instruction, this new information infrastructure can facilitate distance learning for many categories of nontraditional, off-campus students. While this model of Internet use in higher education requires many changes among faculty, student, and administrative roles and functions, it keeps most existing institutional structures and faculty roles intact.

A different, more radical, model envisions the Internet as instrumental to a fundamental change in the processes and organizational structure of post- secondary teaching and learning. According to this view, the Internet can transform higher education into student-centered learning rather than institution- and faculty-centered instruction. It can allow agile institutions --- old and new --- to leapfrog existing academic structures and establish direct links to post-secondary students. It can encourage new collaborative arrangements between academic institutions and for-profit entrepreneurs and permit these partnerships to extend their reach nationally and internationally. It can accommodate student demand for post-secondary education in new ways that are basically campus-independent. If the markets for post-secondary education evolve in this manner, the Internet may well threaten existing institutions of higher education much more than it will support them. Taking this view, celebrated management consultant and social commentator Peter Drucker recently remarked:  "Thirty years from now the big university campuses will be relics. . . . The college won't survive as a residential institution."

Bob Jensen's threads on technology in education are at 

"THE HOTTEST CAMPUS ON THE INTERNET Duke's pricey online B-school program is winning raves from students and rivals," Business Week, October 27, 1997 --- 

Update:  The Duke MBA --- Global Executive (formerly called GEMBA) --- 

The Duke MBA - Global Executive is every bit as academically demanding as Duke's other two MBA programs. Global Executive uses the same faculty base, the same rigorous grading standards, and provides the same Duke degree. However, the content has been adjusted to include more global issues and strategies to serve a participant population that has far more global management experience.

For the class entering in May 2001, tuition is $95,000. Tuition includes all educational expenses, a state-of-the-art laptop computer, portable printer, academic books and other class materials, and lodging and meals during the five residential sessions. The tuition does not include travel to and from the residential sites.

You can learn a great deal about the extend of distance education in this program by looking at the academic calendar at

Cross-Continent MBA --- --- 
Following on the heels of its Global MBA online success, Duke introduced a second online program called the Cross-Continent MBA and located its headquarters in Frankfurt.  While in Germany in the Summer of 2001, I had dinner with Tom Keller, former Dean of Duke's Fuqua School of Business and Dean of Duke's Cross-Continent MBA Program.  Tom spent two years in the Frankfort headquarters of Duke's Cross-Continent MBA Program.  This program is quite different from the online Global Executive MBA Program, although both are asynchronous online programs and used some overlapping course materials.  

The Duke MBA - Cross Continent program allows high-potential managers to earn an internationally-focused MBA degree from Duke University in less than two years, utilizing a format that minimizes the disruption of careers and family life. It is designed for individuals with three to nine years professional work experience.

The Duke MBA - Cross Continent program will contain course work with a global emphasis in the subject areas of Management, Marketing, Operations, Economics, Finance, Accounting, Strategy and Decision Sciences.

Students will complete 11 core courses, four elective courses and one integrative capstone course to earn their MBA degree. Two courses will be completed during each of the eight terms of the program. Depending upon their choice of electives, students may choose to complete the one-week residency requirements for their sixth and seventh terms at either Fuqua School of Business location in North America or Europe.

The two classes - one on each continent - will be brought even closer together through a transfer requirement built into the program. During the third term, half of the class from Europe will attend the North American residential session and vice versa. In the fourth term, the other half of each class trades locations for one week of residential learning. After the transfer residencies, the students resume their coursework using the same Internet mediated learning methods as before, but with global virtual teams that have now met in a face-to-face setting

World-Class Resources 
When you're linked to Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, you're connected to a world of resources residing on a network with robust bandwidth capabilities. Duke MBA students have secure access to the Duke and Fuqua business library databases as well as a network of Duke faculty and outside experts.

World-Wide Content Delivery 
The virtual classroom can take on many different forms. Here, a faculty member prepares a macroeconomics lecture for distribution via CD ROM and/or the Internet. Students will download this lecture in a given week of study and follow up with discussion and team projects.

Bulletin Board Discussion 
Rich threads of conversation occur during this asynchronous mode of communication. Professors and guest lecturers can moderate the discussion to keep learning focused.

Real-Time Chat Session 
Occurs between students and classmates as well as faculty. Here, a student in Europe discusses an assignment with a professor in the United States

Online Degree Programs

Types of (Mostly Profitable) Prestige Partnerings

Also see Bob Jensen's Threads on Cross-Border (Transnational) Training and Education --- 

Corporations and Universities Sign Partnership Pacts 
For details go to
Corporations Provide Universities Provide Leading Example Other Examples
Student Funding
General Programs
Cause Management
Course Dev. Funding
Full Logos
Stanford's ADEPT

Asynchronous Distance Education Project with thousands of graduates and the first prestige degree program on the web

Duke's Online MBAs 

Cross-Continent MBA 


Harvard-Stanford Corp.

Student Funding
Some Course Materials
Knowledge Bases
Full Logos
Dedicated Programs
Course Managements
Course Funding
Full Logos

E&Y Partners

PwC Partners
Course Consulting
Media & Delivery
Course Management
Course Funding
Student Funding
Course Design
Academic Standards
Course Ownership
Full Logos

UNext Home Page
Company Overview
Cardean University
Focus is on Partnerships
Kirschenheiter Audio
K01 PhDs
K05 PB Learning
K10 Rewards
K20 Reviews


Pensare Home Page
What They Offer

Knowledge Community

Course Management
Course Funding
Knowledge Bases
Full Logos
Student Funding
Full Logos
Academic Association Sponsorships


Harcourt University

Morningside Ventures
Columbia University's Undergraduate Core


University-Owned Corporations

Course Consulting
Media & Delivery
Course Management
Course Funding
Student Funding

Course Design
Academic Standards
Course Ownership
Full Logos
Duke Corporate Ed.

Morningside Ventures


U. Maryland



(See Below)



A Distance Education Partnership Between the University of Akron and Kent State University
"Schools collaborate to create Online Learning," Syllabus, February 2003, pp. 21-33 --- 

Two of Ohio's largest universities are teaming to create a collaborative online learning system that will dramatically expand their teaching and research opportunities, while reducing information technology costs. A 20-minute drive apart, these universities have combined enrollments of 60,000, with more than 400 programs and 1,400 faculty members. The University of Akron (UA) and Kent State University (KSU) are using WebCT's academic enterprise system, WebCT Vista, to create a "shared services model" for online learning. This model for online learning will allow the two universities to share technology, course content, research, and faculty, which could ultimately serve other Ohio universities and the K-12 community.

Especially beneficial for large, multi-institution deployments, WebCT Vista is an eLearning platform that includes a broad range of course development and delivery, content management, and learning information management capabilities. These are all supported by an extensible, enterprise-class architecture. WebCT Vista gives institutions of higher education first-time access to aggregate student learning data at the institutional level, extending the capacity for colleges and universities to access and strategically leverage learning information beyond an individual classroom.

Stretching Resources Currently, UA and KSU are in the process of Web-enhancing classroom courses that they have in common with interactive exercises, threaded discussion groups, chats, and virtual-classroom activities. The universities also hope to create pure distance learning courses, in which all activities take place over the Internet. The intent is to improve education and research, and to stretch scarce resources. Dr. Rosemary DuMont, Associate VP of Academic Technology Services for KSU, explains, "UA and KSU began this initiative because of concern about student success. Both universities are extremely student-focused. WebCT Vista provides research data for making decisions in the future regarding student retention." Over the next five years, UA and KSU could predictably save over one million dollars in software and hardware costs. The long-term goal is for UA and KSU to become a national eLearning provider by taking the shared services model to Internet2, a high-performance network that connects 200 universities. This could generate additional revenue and prestige for both universities.

Mike Giannone, Communications Officer at UA, says, "We will be able to develop an eLearning curriculum for any given program by splitting, rather than duplicating the effort. This collaboration will broaden students' exposure to programs they might otherwise miss, while exposing faculty to research and best practices from an expanded group of peers. It offers students at both schools more choices in the classes they take, and where and how they will take them. The two universities will also share grants, content, and the ability to analyze a combined pool of learning data collected by WebCT Vista." Dr. Paul L. Gaston, provost of KSU, exclaims, "We are excited to be able to offer an even broader range of educational opportunities to our students through this collaboration! We already share academic programs, so sharing online resources is a natural next step."

Collaborative Teaching and Research Shared services between UA and KSU are the brain child of Dr. Thomas Gaylord, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at UA. His vision initially created the project and continues to drive it. Dr. Gaylord explains, "The greatest paradigm shift for education is occurring now—it is a wonderful enlightenment. It is time to re-define what our students are; what our faculties are; what constitutes accredibility, and so forth. Partnerships are the ‘right' thing to do. For example, why do numerous individual universities produce Algebra I online … when collaboration makes sense? The University of Akron and Kent State University will have educational advantages over other universities in the region with probably the single, most important educational technology tool for enhancing their long-range instructional vitalities in the coming years." Because of the strategic impact of eLearning on both institutions, UA President, Dr. Luis M. Proenza and KSU President, Dr. Carol A. Cartwright, came together, with Dr. Gaylord, Dr. DuMont, and others, to drive this collaboration. Under the direction of Dr. Gaylord and Dr. DuMont, the two universities have installed a new high-speed fiber optic line, "GigaMAN," to connect their information technology systems and act as a bridge for collaborative teaching and research. Dr. Terry L Hickey, Senior Vice President and Provost at UA, explains, "In addition to partnering with Kent State, we eventually envision offering a shared resource for other northeastern Ohio schools as well as the private sector

Continued at 

The concept of knowledge trails was really exciting, and I am sorry that the effort had to be abandoned at Fathom.  Due to cash flow losses, Columbia University pulled the plug on Fathom.  But an older Knowledge Trails illustration indicates how exciting this could have been.

Knowledge Trails in Fathom --- 



Corporations Sign Pacts With Professors Affiliated With Prestige Universities 
For details go to
Corporations Provide Professors Provide Example 1 Example 2
Course Funding
Multimedia Development
Knowledge Bases
Proxy Logos

20 Courses for UNC

Courses for any School
Roman Weil - Chicago
Mark Albion - Harvard
J. Morgan Jones - UNC
Robert Connolly - UNC
R. Kipp Martin - Chicago

Concord School of Law

Harvard sues to stop others from following in Arthur Millers video steps

Ninth House Network buys up intellectual property rights of leading scholars 
The new E-Learning Resource Site is described at 

Ninth House Network™, the leading broadband e-learning environment for organizational development, today announced the launch of its new corporate web site at . The new web site, which highlights Ninth House Network’s e-learning solutions, features a comprehensive e-learning resource center available to the general public, providing tools, information, white papers, relevant articles and related links that help further the understanding of the role that e-learning plays in organizational transformation.

The Ninth House Network web site features insight from leading business minds on a wide range of topics, including change management, building successful alliances and partnerships, team building, building community, management, innovation and customer service. Using a combination of streaming video, readable interviews, interactive web casts and related articles and books, Ninth House Network provides visitor access to business leaders such as Tom Peters, Ken Blanchard, Larraine Segil, Peter Senge and Clifton Taulbert.


  Universities Partner With Each Other 
For details go to
The Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan Business School, and the Darden School at the University of Virginia will offer each other's students classes specializing in e-business.

"So much of business education is the network-building between the students," said Haas Dean Laura Tyson. "What is nice here is that people in each location will now be able to have a new selection of classes to choose from, and a new selection of people to work with."

"In essence, this program is not only about sharing knowledge but about sharing communities,"

JEBNET:  Jesuit colleges  team up to offer onsite and online programs 
(Includes an MBA program in China.)


Virtual Universities and Online Education/Training

Degree and Certificate Programs Online 
For details go to
Type of Degree Scope of Service Accredited Non-accredited
Comprehensive Degree Programs Onsite and Online Open University
Penn State's World Campus

Kentucky Commonwealth
Illinois Virtual
Hundreds of Others

Comprehensive Degree Programs Online Western Gov. Univ. (WGU)

Motorola University

At&T Virtual Acad.



Selected Degree Programs Online U.S. Army
University of Phoenix
ArsDigita University
Jones International
Duke's GEMBA
Frederick Taylor Univ. - Regis University 
University of Asia
Hundreds of Others
Training Certificates Online Hundreds of Programs with Prestige Logo Certifications Such as Microsoft Certified CBOE
Barnes&Nobel Univ.
Thousands of Programs from Corporations and Extension Programs in Colleges and Universities
Military Online and Offline U.S. Military U.S. Military
Links to Online Accounting and Business Courses and Degree Programs

This section has been moved to 


Important Wall Street Journal Special Report, e-Commerce in Education, Section R, March 12, 2001 --- 

This section should be read by all professionals in higher education.  It brings us up to date on trends in distance education both in private corporations and traditional colleges and universities.  It is a great source for updating my threads and road show on such topics at 

There is to much in this Special Report to summarize in one module of New Bookmarks.  The Table of Contents is as follows:

  • The Reality 

Big money is pouring into the business of education. But it's too soon to tell whether there will be any payoff.

  • The Old College Try 

Traditional universities are taking to the Net with a wide range of strategies.

  • Business Plan 

A look at all the different ways companies hope to make money from online education.

  • Something Ventured 

Venture capitalists have dramatically increased their investments in e-learning.

  • Off Campus 

Private virtual universities challenge many of the assumptions long held by educators. Their own challenge: survival.

  • New Chapter 

Libraries aren't going away. But they are going to be very different.

  • Teaching Old Dogs 

Traditional academic publishers are scrambling to adapt to the online world.

  • Spanish Lessons 

An entrepreneur wants to bring U.S. universities to Spaniards -- in their own language.

  • Expelled! 

The future of e-commerce will no doubt be littered with failed education companies.

  • A New Language 

Companies that teach English in Asia see their business quickly being transformed by the Web.

  • Going Mobile 

A Dutch university aims to teach students on the run, developing, in conjunction with several companies, Europe's first common wireless standard geared toward education applications.

  • Like Clockwork 

Switzerland is putting the Internet to work to relieve crowded universities and improve teaching practices -- both while keeping down costs.

  • Tools of the Future 

Thanks to technology, K-12 will never look the same. Companies are plying a host of new offerings -- from hardware and interactive software to Internet-related tools -- to schools.

  • His Own Story 

Novelist Reynolds Price talks about teaching, writing and the literary merits of e-mail.

  • The Leisure Class 

Online instruction gives people the chance to learn just about anything, from the comfort of their own home. Anybody want to be a beekeeper?

  • Tales Out of School 

Online classes can be tough to find, hard to sign up for -- and a bore once you get there.

  • All Dressed Up... 

Schools may find they have the computer equipment, but no way to use it. Here's how one school and a networking firm found an answer. Do's and Don'ts Of Web Classes How can first-time Web students succeed in the world of online education? See a list of tips to embrace and pitfalls to avoid.

  • Working Out Online Kinks 

Fettes College plans to start broadcasting live and recorded classroom lectures over the Internet to paid subscribers by year's end. Will it succeed?

  • Discussions:  Universities Online  

What was your online learning experience like? Can the online campus ever replace the real one? What improvements are needed? Join an online discussion.

  • Future Learning 

What do you think the classroom of the future will look like? How can educators, parents and students make the best use of new technology? Join an online discussion.

  • The Education Business 

Can online education companies be profitable and educate students at the same time? Which companies do you think will prosper in the online education field? Join an online discussion.

  • No Substitute 

The Internet does not change everything. Some of the world's foremost thinkers ponder the intersection of technology and education.

  • The Downside 

Why some critics give Web-based education less-than-stellar grades.

  • Campus Connected 

What will college look like in the not-so-distant future? Crookston, Minn., provides an early glimpse.

  • The Federal Case 

Sen. Kerrey and Rep. Isakson reflect on the government's role in fostering e-learning.

A few selected quotations are shown below:

Entrepreneurs and investors have jumped into the world of online education, pumping some $6 billion into the sector since 1990 -- almost half of it since 1999.

The knowledge-enterprise industry now measures some $735 billion, which includes spending on a host of things, such as textbooks, software and services, according to Merrill Lynch. Analysts there expect the online component of that to grow to $25.3 billion by 2003 from $3.6 billion in 1999. Within that, domestic online corporate learning is expected to grow fastest: from $1.1 billion in 1999 to $11.4 billion in 2003 -- a compounded annual growth rate of 79%. Two other key sectors -- kindergarten-through-12th grade and higher education -- anticipate annual growth rates of over 50%.

Consider what's happening at Westview High School in Poway, Calif. This time next year, classrooms there will be stocked with computers, and a wireless network will allow students to access the Internet through their laptops from anywhere on school grounds. In addition, hand-held devices will be ubiquitous, as will virtual classrooms, so students can log on to the Internet for assignments and participate in chat rooms with students from other schools across the globe

The potential for the K-12 e-learning market is huge, analysts say (shown in millions)

Segment Current Market Potential Market
Content $20 $4,000
E-commerce 175 657,000
Infrastructure 1,000 7,000
Supplemental services 10 5,000

February 7, 2012 message from Fabiola Esposito (Madrid University)

My name is Fabiola Esposito and I am writing to you on behalf of the Spanish School of the University of Madrid .
have found your website ( while looking for web pages for the promotion of languages and culture and  have seen your reviews on different topics which I found very interesting, specially the one that speaks about the combination of synchronous and asynchronous methods when teaching and how close one can get to the students online.

Anyhow, the aim of this email is that on the University of Madrid Spanish School we have recently finished developing our new website for offering our Spanish courses to everyone who want to come to Madrid to study the Spanish language and immerse into the Spanish culture. We also offer classes focused on Spanish literature and culture; and we offer specialized courses in Spanish on different academic areas such as arts, history, business and politics too.

I have reviewed with much interest your section about cross-border training and educational alternatives and would like to know if you are interested in offering our website to your visitors in case they may be interested in spending a period learning or improving their Spanish skills abroad. It may be interesting either for the student community as for the educators' community, given that we also offer courses for proficient users who want to improve or review their knowledge on Hispanic studies and everything related to them; language, culture, sociology, literature, etc.

Our Madrid University Spanish School website is, if you think this might be a useful resource for your users you can contact me or feel free to place it between your resources.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration, and if you have any comments or questions please don't hesitate to contact me.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,



What schools and parents spend on education, versus their total online spending, in billions

  Education Products/Services Online Spending 1999 Online Spending 2003*
Schools $70.00 $0.075 $2.00
Parents 7.00 0.050 0.75


Sources: Merrill Lynch estimates; International Data Corp.

Their strategies are as varied as the schools. Some institutions, such as Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania, have formed partnerships with e-learning companies like ( of Deerfield, Ill., or Pensare Inc., based in Los Altos, Calif., to bring their courses and professors online. Others have decided to go it alone, developing and offering their own online courses. Some schools, including New York University and Cornell University, have spun off their e-learning programs as for-profit ventures.

With the economic slowdown and the venture-capital spigot turned off, the question now is a simple one: Can these marriages of conventional education and e-commerce survive? Can these for-profit arms actually turn a profit? And if so, at what price?

"If you have a good product and figure out how to market it and deliver it, then you should be significantly competitive in the marketplace," says Michael Goldstein, head of the educational-institutions practice at Dow Lohnes & Albertson, a law firm in Washington, D.C. "That will be difficult to do, and there are no clear models yet in the marketplace."

Consider ( Launched last year with a $20 million investment from Columbia, Fathom offers a mixture of free information -- articles, reference works and links to other sites -- and access to for-fee online courses, all aimed at the "lifelong learner." (Fathom takes a cut of the fee as its payment.) On the handsomely designed site, a surfer can search among about 600 online courses offered by a variety of schools, including the University of Washington and Michigan State University.

Surfers can also follow "knowledge trails" -- a series of related links on such topics as arts and architecture, business and finance or science and engineering, among others.

Here's a safe-and-steady business plan. The nation's for-profit higher-education companies have been around for years, and they are nothing like a typical football-obsessed college. Students who enroll in these institutions care about one thing: classes. They are in their mid-30s. They don't want frat parties. They want better jobs. These schools read the want ads closely, and they respond by offering courses in subjects such as finance, management, nursing and information technology.

In this business model, student tuition fees are the primary revenue source. The beauty of this for investors is that the students are locked into a series of courses over an extended period, giving the companies a reliable income stream.

These companies "know where their revenues are coming from way in advance," says Jay Tracey, chief investment officer at Berger Funds. In an unsteady stock market, he says, "predictability and visibility become more important to investors than the rate of growth." The Denver mutual-fund concern has invested in DeVry Inc. (, a for-profit degree-granting enterprise, as well as SmartForce, in corporate training.

The largest private (and accredited) institution of higher education:

To get investors to pay more attention to its Internet business, Apollo Group Inc. ( ), a Phoenix-based education holding company, issued a tracking stock last year for its University of Phoenix Online unit, which has served students over the Web for more than a decade. While some tracking stocks haven't fared well, this one did. Thanks largely to the fact that it's a proven, profitable business in a sea of Internet red ink, the IPO finished the year at more than double its September initial offering price of $14. And the parent company's stock jumped 145% for the year.

In the offline world, Apollo operates sites around the country to conduct classes, often in rented facilities. Classes are held mostly at night, so students can attend after work. When students "enroll in a degree program, we are counting on them taking five or six courses or more -- so that's a repeat-revenue model for us," says Terri Heddegard, an Apollo vice president.

Apollo says the online unit's enrollment has surged to 19,000 students, up 65% from a year earlier, out of a total of 83,000 students in all forums including physical class sites. The online students take classes at home, using e-mail and Web message boards to work on group projects. The online-class tuition cost runs $400 to $495 a credit, about 20% more expensive than tuition for the brick-and-mortar classes, Apollo says.

For the fiscal first quarter, ended Nov. 30, the online institution reported net income of $5.6 million, or six cents a share, on revenue of $34 million. Including results from its online arm, Apollo posted profit of $25 million, or 38 cents a share, on revenue of $177 million for the same period.

Shared Courseware

Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World:
OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities

Bob Jensen's links to electronic literature, including free online textbooks and other learning materials ---

Advances in Course Open Sharing for Free:  Yale is Added to the List of Prestigious Open Sharing Universities

"The Next Level of Open Source," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 20, 2006 ---

On Tuesday, Yale University announced that it would be starting a version of an open access online tool for those seeking to gain from its courses. But the basis of the Yale effort will be video of actual courses — every lecture of the course, to be combined with selected class materials. The money behind the Yale effort is coming from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which was an early backer of MIT’s project, and which sees the Yale project as a way to take the open course idea to the next level.

“We want to add another dimension to open courseware,” said Catherine Casserly, a program officer at Hewlett. She said that video components used at MIT and elsewhere have been very popular with people all over the world. “We’re trying to make that bridge” to the audience for high quality American education, she said. Casserly said that Yale’s initiative — starting with seven courses this year, with plans to grow quickly — was the first open courseware effort based on lecture videos. “We hope to see this spread to other universities,” she said.

Richard Baraniuk, founder of Connexions, said he viewed Yale’s announcement as “a very positive development.” While projects at Rice and MIT “have been opening up access to educational materials and syllabi, the Yale project is opening up access to even more of the student experience, namely the in-class lecture environment,” he said.

Yale officials said that they view that in-class environment as crucial and so wanted to build their open courseware model around it. “Education is built on direct interaction, and face to face is ideal,” said Diana E.E. Kleiner, a professor of the history of art and classics who is directing the project. “That’s how we intend to teach on our campus, but also recognize that this kind of participation is not always possible, and many around the world could benefit from greater access to this kind of information we provide.

“Universities and colleges are the best keepers of that kind of information in the world, but it can be locked in a kind of vault” because only so many people can attend a given institution, or enroll in a given course, she said.

Kleiner said that Yale officers were “very admiring” of the model built by MIT, and she praised MIT as well for sharing extensive information about how its program was designed. But she said that Yale believes that course lectures “are the core content,” and need to be central. “We’re following in MIT’s footprints, but really taking a new step,” she said.

Continued in article

The Open-Sharing of Video Lectures Gains Momentum
The University of California at Berkeley announced Tuesday that it would put video of selected courses online — free to all — through a collaboration with Google Video. The move follows a similar move announced a week ago by Yale University.
Inside Higher Ed, September 27, 2006 ---

Professors Sharing Their Lectures on Video
Take Five from the University of Texas

Berkeley Open Sharing College Course Site

From the Scout Report on May 19, 2006

Webcast.Berkeley [iTunes, Real Player]

Over the past few years, a number of colleges and universities have created initiatives to place some of their course materials online for the general public. MIT was one of the first to do so, and Berkeley has also started to offer a number of webcasts and podcasts of select courses on this website.

Drawing on the strengths of the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center, they have begun to place some of these excellent materials on this site. On their well-designed homepage, visitors can either look at an archive of course webcasts and podcasts or take a gander at the archived webcasts that feature prominent speakers who have visited the campus. The events archive dates back to a January 2002 appearance by Bill Clinton, and includes dozens of interesting talks and lectures. Visitors can learn about each event in the information section, and for some, they have the option to download the audio portion of each event. The course section is equally delightful, as visitors can view webcasts here, and also download podcasts. The range of courses here is quite broad, and includes lectures on general chemistry, wildlife ecology, and surprise, surprise: foundations of American cyberculture. Finally, visitors can also subscribe to event and course podcasts.

Carnegie-Mellon University joins the open sharing initiative

A collection of "cognitively informed," openly available and free online courses and course materials that enact instruction for an entire course in an online format.
Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University ---

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature ---

Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness ---

Teacher Source: Math ---

Teacher Source:  Science ---

Teacher Source:  PreK2 ---

Teacher Source:  Library Media ---

May 3, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


". . . the crisis in the scholarly communication system not only threatens the well being of libraries, but also it threatens our academic faculty's ability to do world-class research. With current technologies, we now have, for the first time in history, the tools necessary to effect change ourselves. We must do everything in our power to change the current scholarly communication system and promote open access to scholarly articles."

Paul G. Haschak's webliography provides resources to help effect this change. "Reshaping the World of Scholarly Communication -- Open Access and the Free Online Scholarship Movement: Open Access Statements, Proposals, Declarations, Principles, Strategies, Organizations, Projects, Campaigns, Initiatives, and Related Items -- A Webliography" (E-JASL, vol. 7, no. 1, spring 2006) is available online at

E-JASL: The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship [ISSN 1704-8532] is an independent, professional, refereed electronic journal dedicated to advancing knowledge and research in the areas of academic and special librarianship. E-JASL is published by the Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication (ICAAP), Athabasca, Canada. For more information, contact: Paul Haschak, Executive Editor, Board President, and Founder, Linus A. Sims Memorial Library, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA USA;

Connexions at Rice University ---
"Really Open Source," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, July 29, 2005 ---

Few projects in academe have attracted the attention and praise in recent years of OpenCourseWare, a program in which the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is making all of its course materials available online — free — for anyone to use.

In the four years since MIT launched the effort, use of the courseware has skyrocketed, and several other universities have created similar programs, assembling material from their own courses.

With less fanfare than MIT, Rice University has also been promoting a model for free, shared information that could be used by faculty members and students anywhere in the world. But the Rice program — Connexions — is different in key respects. It is assembling material from professors (and high school teachers) from anywhere, it is offering free software tools in addition to course materials, and it is trying to reshape the way academe uses both peer review and publishing. The project also has hopes of becoming a major curricular tool at community colleges.

“I was just frustrated with the status quo,” says Richard G. Baraniuk, in explaining how he started Connexions in 1999. “Peer review is severely broken. Publishing takes too long and then books are too expensive,” he says. “This is about cutting out the middlemen and truly making information free.”

“I was just frustrated with the status quo,” says Richard G. Baraniuk, in explaining how he started Connexions in 1999. “Peer review is severely broken. Publishing takes too long and then books are too expensive,” he says. “This is about cutting out the middlemen and truly making information free.”

Baraniuk is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice, so many of the initial modules (which can either be materials for a course, a lecture or any other organizational unit) were in engineering and were submitted by Rice professors. But as Connexions has grown (from 200 modules in its second year to 2,300), it has attracted content in many disciplines and from many scholars.

There are materials for courses on art history, birds, business and graphic design. Offerings are particularly strong in music. And participating professors come from institutions including Cornell, Indiana State and Ohio State Universities, and the Universities of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Wisconsin at Madison. Professors from outside the United States have also started to use the site — it offers materials from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Cambridge.

Use of the materials has grown steadily — in May, more than 350,000 individuals used the site at some point, a mix of professors and students, about half of them on return visits.

Continued in article


How popular are these open sharing sites?

June 26, 2006 message from Jagdish S. Gangolly [gangolly@INFOTOC.COM]


I wanted to pitch for an article by my good friend and colleague, Terry Maxwell:

"Universities, Information Ownership, and Knowledge Communities"

The Journal of the Association of History and Computing

Here is the teaser:


The recent decision by MIT to post the information from all its 2,000 courses free to the Web has generated tremendous excitement online, with more than 42 million hits recorded in the first month, according to MIT statistics 1.

The project, entitled OpenCourseWare, was initiated by MIT professors and funded by $11 million in grants from two foundations. As of March, 2004, 700 courses, encompassing all five schools and two-thirds of the faculty on the Cambridge, Massachusetts campus, have been added to the site (

The project did not start as an effort to populate the information commons. On the contrary, in 1999, Robert Brown, MIT's provost, asked a faculty committee to study the idea for an online for-profit equivalent to the physical school.

However, after researching the issue, the faculty committee concluded that a profit-making venture was not viable, suggesting instead that the university and its faculty make its course material available for free online 2.

As reported by Charles Vest 2, the university's president, the OpenCourseWare initiative has had impacts both inside and outside the university. Within MIT, professors have begun using one another's materials to supplement their own teaching efforts, and are discovering interdisciplinary connections that could lead to new innovations inside the institution. Outside the university, MIT alumni, interested individuals, and other educators from around the world are using the courseware as a means to keep current in their fields and as models for new courses and curriculum.

The effort has generated interest in other areas, particularly among Intellectual Property legal commentators, who questioned the relationship between faculty-generated course notes and university property rights 3. Given the fact that the project is faculty-initiated and voluntary, intellectual property issues in the curricular area between the university and professors have not yet come to a head at MIT. However, the project has had to navigate the murky waters of copyright in other respects, particularly with regard to the negotiation for permissions with other information providers 4.

Nevertheless, the project still leaves open the question of the relative information rights of professors and universities.

In addition, it raises broader questions of the roles both of professional disciplines and the institutional structures developed to support them in a technological world in which traditional boundaries between information transformation, production, and dissemination are under strain. The following attempts to lay out some of the relevant issues, focusing particularly on the role of the university in an online world.

A Brief Look at the University in Society

Lying at the center of questions about university and academic information ownership is a deeply contested vision of the role of both scholarship and the institutions designed to support research. Do scholars labor primarily as individual authors and inventors, or are they members of what Enlightenment scholars termed a res publica, loosely defined as a republic of ideas operating beyond institutional and political boundaries? Are universities places of sanctuary for ideas, separated from the marketplace, or information dissemination institutions situated squarely in the market?

In her book "Who Owns Academic Work?," Corynne McSherry 5 traces the history of modern American universities and makes a strong case that these questions are largely unanswerable, because they assume a stability in self-conception that is historically missing. She argues that medieval universities and guilds were primarily envisioned as mechanisms for monopoly control over ideas, with the former focusing on professional control and the latter on control over invention. With the coming of the Enlightenment, voluntary academic societies sought to break down university monopolies on knowledge, constructing a meritocracy based on open communication and communal enquiry, and existing in cooperation with the growing commercial marketplace. At the institutional level, nineteenth-century German conceptions of the university, based on Kant's ideas in Conflict of the Faculties, envisioned the university as a place apart from the marketplace, yet poised to provide knowledge based on reason to political rulers. In the United States, German models of scholarly independence blended with the British tradition of liberal arts and informed citizenship, leading to a tension between disinterested scholarship and community. This admixture was further complicated by the presence of private schools funded through religious and other associations sitting cheek-and-jowl to land-grant public universities, developed to provide practical assistance in the development of new agricultural and mechanical techniques.

By the twentieth century, the split between theoretical and practical knowledge within universities was institutionalized through a separation of faculties of arts and science from engineering and professional school. At the same time, the continued compartmentalization of knowledge into disciplines supported the rise of self-contained academic communities with different standards of scholarship and practice.

To support the engagement of the university in the marketplace, during the 1920's several American universities, particularly those with large engineering components, inaugurated small offices dedicated to technology transfer, particularly the processing of patent applications for professors. However, in a major shift, the end of the Second World War saw a major increase in government grant programs for basic research, insulating the academy from a necessity to rely on private funding sources and enhancing the traditional notion of universities as the preferred site for basic objective research separate from the commercial marketplace. At the same time, a greater integration of the university into public life occurred, with the provision of GI Bill grants to returning members of the military. University enrollments doubled during the next 15 years, doubling again within another 8 years.

By the 1990s, the position of universities within society began to shift again. Federal funding for research slowed, along with other public financing sources. Pressure developed to seek private financing through partnerships with foundations and corporations. Universities undertook attempts at more aggressive management of intellectual assets, often bringing them into conflict with academic communities. The rise of the Internet signaled the potential for developing new resource streams through the development of online courses and degrees, but no one was sure where the dividing line stood between individual and institutional ownership of course materials.

Academic publishing, long a backwater in the publishing industry, showed strong growth and consolidation as publishers embraced electronic dissemination and new models of product bundling.

Here is another Terry Maxwell piece:

Toward a Model of Information Policy Analysis: Speech as an Illustrative Example by Terrence A. Maxwell FM10 Openness


Jagdish S. Gangolly

Fax: 831-584-1896
skype: gangolly


Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing of course materials by prestigious universities are at

Bob Jensen's threads on copyright issues and the horrible DMCA are at

Educators who do not choose to freely share their course materials may try to sell them to other educators online ---

And now we can harness the internet's strengths in order to bypass the educational publishing conglomerates and help ourselves. Here, we will pay each other for our teaching materials and evaluate one another's work with ratings and comments.

And the real winners will be our students. They deserve what our best can create -- you can post and find it here. Teachers paying teachers, an idea whose time has come.

June 29, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


Entrepreneur and former public school teacher Paul Edelman has created, an website where teachers can sell lesson plans that they have created. Sellers pay an annual fee, set their own prices, and 15% of each sale goes to Edelman. Currently, almost all of the lesson plans cover K-12-level subjects, but the site already includes some university-level materials covering math, history, and criminology. To view the site's lesson plan collection, go to

For more information, read "High-School Teachers Can Buy and Sell Lessons at an eBay-Like Website." 

For critical comment on the service, see TeachBay. 

Jensen Comment
Capitalist that I am, I think there are too many externalities connected with education materials. I encourage that more consideration be given to free open-sharing of course materials.

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing of course materials by prestigious universities are at


The June 2006 issue of FIRST MONDAY features selected papers from "FM10 Openness: Code, Science, and Content," a conference held in May and sponsored by First Monday journal, the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library, and the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT). The theme of the conference was open access (in journals, communities, and science) and open source. Links to the online papers, along with citations to those not available online, are available at 

First Monday [ISSN 1396-0466] is an online, peer-reviewed journal whose aim is to publish original articles about the Internet and the global information infrastructure. It is published in cooperation with the University Library, University of Illinois at Chicago. For more information, contact: First Monday, c/o Edward Valauskas, Chief Editor, PO Box 87636, Chicago IL 60680-0636 USA;
email: ;

June 27, 2006 tidbit from the Scholarly Communications Blog at the University of Illinois ---

Academic Journal Trends

A survey of 400 academic journal publishers done by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers found that:

* 90 percent of the journals are now available online
* A fifth of the publishers are experimenting with open access journals
* 40 percent of publishers use previous print subscriptions as the base for pricing for bundles
* Most publishers make agreements for either one year or three years
* 91 percent of publishers make back volumes available online; 20 percent charge for access to back volumes
* 42 percent have established formal arrangements for the long-term preservation of their journals
* 83 percent require authors to transfer copyright in their articles to the publisher

Can History Be Open Source?

Roy Rosenzweig, a history professor at George Mason University and colleague of the institute, recently published a very good article on Wikipedia from the perspective of a historian. "Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past" as a historian's analysis complements the discussion from the important but different lens of journalists and scientists. Therefore, Rosenzweig focuses on, not just factual accuracy, but also the quality of prose and the historical context of entry subjects. He begins with in depth overview of how Wikipedia was created by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger and describes their previous attempts to create a free online encyclopedia. Wales and Sanger's first attempt at a vetted resource, called Nupedia, sheds light on how from the very beginning of the project, vetting and reliability of authorship were at the forefront of the creators.

Rosenzweig adds to a growing body of research trying to determine the accuracy of Wikipedia, in his comparative analysis of it with other online history references, along similar lines of the Nature study. He compares entries in Wikipedia with Microsoft's online resource Encarta and American National Biography Online out of the Oxford University Press and the American Council of Learned Societies. Where Encarta is for a mass audience, American National Biography Online is a more specialized history resource. Rosenzweig takes a sample of 52 entries from the 18,000 found in ANBO and compares them with entries in Encarta and Wikipeida. In coverage, Wikipedia contain more of from the sample than Encarta. Although the length of the articles didn't reach the level of ANBO, Wikipedia articles were more lengthy than the entries than Encarta. Further, in terms of accuracy, Wikipedia and Encarta seem basically on par with each other, which confirms a similar conclusion (although debated) that the Nature study reached in its comparison of Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The discussion gets more interesting when Rosenzweig discusses the effect of collaborative writing in more qualitative ways.

The Asian ambitious efforts on open courseware
September 9, 2005 message from Marc Jelitto []

Dear Mister Jensen, searching for open courseware repositories, I found your article e-Education: The Shocking Future.  . Maybe you are interested in the Asian ambitious efforts on open courseware. You find a collection on my (German) webpage: 

Greetings from Germany Marc

-- Marc Jelitto, M.A.

Projekt CampusContent FernUniversitaet in Hagen Technologie und Gruenderzentrum (TGZ) Universitaetsstr. 11 58084 Hagen, Germany

Raum C05, 3. Stock, Block C

Tel.: (+49) 23 31 / 98 7 - 47 96 Fax: (+49) 23 31 / 98 7 - 3 97 Handy: 01 73 / 7 46 92 94 (D2) 

Bravo MIT:  In the spirit of sharing in the academy:  Just proves once again that givers get in return
The gist is that four years into what was originally to be a 10-year, $100 million project, MIT has put nearly 1,000 of its 1,800 courses online, and is on track to finish the work of building the site by 2008 at a cost of $35 million. (The university is just beginning the work of estimating the costs of sustaining the OpenCourseWare project in a “steady state” once the buildout is finished, but expects, once the foundation money dries up, to absorb most of the annual costs in as its regular budget.) The site gets about 400,000 unique visits each month, or about 20,000 a day. The individual course pages contain items commonly available on other universities’ sites like syllabi and calendars, but also more unusual features like videotaped lectures, laboratory simulations, lecture notes (either provided by the instructor or taken by staff members of OpenCourseWare) and even exams — sometimes with answers. MIT “scrubs” the material to make sure that it either complies with its Creative Commons intellectual property license or is removed from the site.The university’s project has spawned sites in Spain and China that are providing native language versions of some MIT courses (with a third, still unendorsed by MIT, beginning in Taiwan, and another expected to be announced in Japan next month). 
Scott Jaschik, "Spreading the Wealth," Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2005 ---

Faculty participation in the MIT venture is voluntary, but about two-thirds of MIT professors have their courses online now. By offering to do much of the work for professors, the OpenCourseWare effort has managed to limit the time faculty members typically spend on getting materials for a course online to under five hours.

And peer pressure is building, Margulies says, not just to participate, but to bolster the look and content of their courses. “There has been a wholesale improvement of the materials,” she says. Some of that movement is driven by faculty members’ “own competitive pride of looking at what their colleagues are doing,” she said, and some results from other sources. “Students are asking faculty members why their courses aren’t up.”

Margulies gushes, and almost blushes, when she reads some of the ways users of the site have described it in e-mail messages to the OpenCourseWare staff: “Eighth wonder of the world,” “coolest thing on the Internet,” “worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize,” “like falling in love.”

“We’ve heard all of those hundreds of times,” Margulies says. “Well, except for ‘like falling in love’ — we’ve only gotten that one once. We’re a bit concerned about that person.”

It has also helped encourage dozens of other colleges in the United States and worldwide to join what Margulies calls “this new movement toward open sharing of knowledge and information.” Major efforts are under way at Utah State University, Foothill-DeAnza Community College District and Carnegie Mellon University, among others.

Creative Commons ---
Creative Commons Home Page ---
Creative Commons Directory of Resources --- 

Update January 11, 2005

Reminiscent of the kids in the back of the car on your family's vacation, the persistent question about this technology (Learning Management Systems seems to be, "Are we there yet?"
Ira Fuchs, "Learning Management Systems," Syllabus, July/August 2004 --- 

If you know what OKI is, do you also know what SAKAI stands for?

OKI stands for the Open Knowledge Initiative and DSpace spearheaded by MIT in conjunction with various leading universities (See below)

The OCW (Open Courseware) announcement, almost three years ago, was open for easy inference. MIT officials insisted that the university was not offering online courses to students; rather, MIT faculty were putting their course materials—syllabi and supporting resources—on the Web for others to use. In other words, one could see the syllabus and review some of the course materials, but not take the class.  And not just a few classes. OCW’s announced goal is to make the complete MIT curriculum—everything in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, across all fields, totalling some 2000 courses—available over the next few years. Speaking at the November 2003 EDUCAUSE Conference, Anne Margulies, executive director of the OCW project, announced that MIT has made significant progress towards this goal: as of fall 2003, the resources for some 500 MIT courses had been posted on the Web.
Kenneth C. Green, "Curricular Reform, Conspiracy, and Philanthropy," Syllabus, January 2004, Page 27 --- 

The main Open Knowledge Initiative site at MIT is at 

In the first week on the Web, the OCW site received more than 13 million visits from users, about 52 percent from outside of the United States. The OCW team also processed more than 2,000 e-mails in those first days, more than 75 percent of them supportive of the project. The remaining 25 percent were a mix of technical questions, inquiries about specific course offerings, and questions about content. Less than 2 percent of those e-mails were negative.
"Open Access to World-Class Knowledge," by Anne H. Margulies, Syllabus, March 2003, pp. 16-18 --- 

"SAKAI," The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, December 2003 --- 

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

A grant was made to the University of Michigan, for use by the SAKAI consortium to support the development of an open source, feature-rich course management system for higher education. Participating institutions have agreed to place the new learning management system into production when the system is completed.

Project Website

The University of Michigan, Indiana University, Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the uPortal consortium are joining forces to integrate and synchronize their enormous investments in educational software to create an integrated set of open source tools for the benefit of higher education. The new open source software, known as SAKAI, aims to draw the “best-of-breed” from among existing open source course management systems and related tools: uPortal, CHEF, Stellar, Encore, Course Tools, Navigo Assessment, OnCourse, OneStart, Eden Workflow, and Courseworks.

MIT’s Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) produced a comprehensive framework for course management systems rather than a production system. The SAKAI effort is the logical next step: the creation of a comprehensive course management system and an underlying portal framework that draw from existing efforts and integrate the finest available modules and approaches.

The goal is an economically sustainable approach to high quality open source learning software for higher education. The approach promises to overcome two main barriers that have consistently impeded such collaborative efforts: (1) unique local architectures, including heterogeneous software, software interoperability requirements between systems, and diverse user interfaces that hinder the portability of software among institutions; and (2) timing differences in institutional funding and mobilization that reduce synergy and result in fragmented, often incomplete offerings and weak interoperability.

This consortium hopes to overcome these barriers by relying on OKI service definitions that integrate otherwise heterogeneous local architectures and enable the mobility of software. In addition, the advanced course management system will use as its core-building block an upgraded version of the Foundation-supported and highly successful uPortal software (Version 3), a powerful, open source portal environment that will integrate a portal specification needed for tool interoperability. The institutions are also committed to the “synchronization of institutional clocks,” essentially rolling out the new applications on the same schedule to maximize the synergy of the effort.

In concert with the development effort, SAKAI is creating a partners program that invites other institutions to contribute $10,000 per year for three years. Partner institutions will experiment with production versions of the software in 2004 and 2005 and investigate sustainability options. They will receive early access to project information; early code releases for the SAKAI framework, portal, services, and tools; invitations to partner meetings; and technical training workshops. Contributions from an expected minimum of 20 institutions will support a community development staff member to coordinate partner activities, a developer to interact with partner technical staff, another staff member to coordinate documentation, a support staff member to respond to inquiries, and an administrative staff member to coordinate partner activities and facilitate responses.

Continued in article

MIT's DSpace Explained
In 1978, Loren Kohnfelder invented digital certificates while working on his MIT undergraduate thesis. Today, digital certificates are widely used to distribute the public keys that are the basis of the Internet's encryption system. This is important stuff! But when I tried to find an online copy of Kohnfelder's 1978 manuscript, I came up blank. According to the MIT Libraries' catalog, there were just two copies in the system: a microfiche somewhere in Barker Engineering Library, and a "noncirculating" copy in the Institute Archives . . . DSpace is a long-term, searchable digital archive. It creates unchanging URLs for stored materials and automatically backs up one institution's archives to another's. Today, DSpace is being used by 79 institutions, with more on the way. But as my little story about Kohnfelder's thesis demonstrates, archiving data is only half the problem. In order to be useful, archives must also enable researchers to find what they are looking for. Sending e-mail to the author worked for me, but it's not a good solution for the masses. Long-term funding is another problem that DSpace needs to solve. "The libraries are seeking ways of stabilizing support for DSpace to make it easier to sustain as it gets bigger over time," says MacKenzie Smith, the Libraries' associate director for technology. Today, development on the DSpace system is funded by short-term grants. That's great for doing research, but it's not a good model for a facility that's destined to be the long-term memory of the Institute's research output. Says Smith: "We need to know how to support an operation like this in very lean times."
Simson Garfinkel, "MIT's DSpace Explained," MIT's Technology Review, July 2005 ---

Open Courseware Initiative from University of the Western Cape --- 

A Free Content and Free and Open Courseware implementation strategy for the University of the Western Cape

Tertiary institutions the world over are recognizing the value of freely sharing educational curricula and content, collaborating in their further development and extension, and doing so under the umbrella of free and unrestricted access to knowledge. The word “free” in this case refers to liberty, not to absence of price, although absence of direct price is a common side-benefit of liberty, just as it is in the software arena.

One of the more mature programs in this area is the Open Courseware Initiative (OCI) run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA, but many other institutions have similar initiatives and many more are now creating open courseware initiatives of their own.

UWC has been invited to join a global consortium of institutions involved in OCI, membership of which has no fees or requirements other than a commitment to OCI principles. Since the notion of Open Content features in our Integrated Information Strategy and our E-Learning Strategy, and UWC is widely known and respected for its work in Free and Open Source Software, the time is opportune for us to create this implementation strategy and to use it to build a UWC OCI-type of initiative.

The emphasis in philosophy of Free Content is on social good through promoting collaborative development and the adaptation and expansion of content whereas the philosophy of Open Content is access while protecting the author’s wishes to restrict access or usage to certain conditions. All Free Content is Open Content, but not all Open Content is Free Content.

Open Courseware: Open Content that is arranged in Courses and made available in a structured manner via the Internet. All Free Courseware is Open Courseware, but not all Open Courseware is Free Courseware.


For example, visit the NetTom Financial Analysis site at

Chapter 1

Chapter 2 Outcomes Chapter 2 [4]

Chapter 4 Outcomes Chapter 3 [10]

Chapter 5 Outcomes Chapter 5 [12]

Chapter 6 Outcomes Chapter 6 [16]

Chapter 7 Outcomes Chapter 7 [20]

Chapter 8 Outcomes Chapter 8 [23]

Chapter 9 Introduction to Part 2 [27]

Chapter 10 Outcomes Chapter 10 [28]

Chapter 11 Outcomes Chapter 11: Fundamental Concept in Financial Management [32]

Chapter 12 Outcomes Chapter 12: Sources of Funding for Transport Sector [35]

Chapter 13 Outcomes Chapter 13: Risk Analysis [40]

Other content Outcomes Readings Glossary

MathWorks at
This software is not free, but there are many free helpers here.

Finance Helpers ---
Note the links to examples on the left side of the screen.

How to computer present values with cash flows at regular or irregular time intervals with equal or unequal payments?

Answer ---

The toolbox includes functions to compute the present or future value of cash flows at regular or irregular time intervals with equal or unequal payments: fvfix, fvvar, pvfix, and pvvar. The -fix functions assume equal cash flows at regular intervals, while the -var functions allow irregular cash flows at irregular periods.

Now compute the net present value of the sample income stream for which you computed the internal rate of return. This exercise also serves as a check on that calculation because the net present value of a cash stream at its internal rate of return should be zero.

Jensen Comment
Even if you do not have the MatLab Toolbox installed, you can program the illustrations in Excel.

From one of the leading law school advocates of open sharing
Many of Eben Moglen's papers on patents and copyrights can be downloaded from

My good friend John Howland, a professor of computer science, recommends these particular papers for starters:

Professor Moglen runs a blog called "Freedom Now" at
Entries are relatively infrequent and date back to April 2000
There are also a few links to audio and video presentations.

Bob Jensen's thread son copyright law and the evil DMCA are at

Ira Fuchs, "Learning Management Systems," Syllabus, July/August 2004 --- 
A dialog between Syllabus Magazine (S) and Ira Fuchs (IHF)

OKI focused on this framework and the delivery of a proof of concept, meaning a system or a pair of systems that could demonstrate this interoperability. And that’s in fact what MIT and Stanford achieved.

S: So OKI focused on the framework… how does the Sakai project build on that?

IHF: The Sakai project starts out where OKI left off by taking the architecture and the OSIDs [Open Services Interface Definitions] and fusing them with the best of breed development—learning management system development—from four major institutions: Stanford, MIT, Indiana University, and the University of Michigan. The purpose is to create a world-class production-ready system that will be open, extensible, and scalable. And, further, a very important aspect of Sakai is that the four institutions have agreed, in writing, as a condition of the grant, that they will bring this new system into production on each of their campuses at the same time, approximately a year from now. The goal is really nothing less than delivering an LMS that colleges and universities can use and extend with modules written at other schools, at their own school, or licensed from commercial vendors.

S: Do you think learning management systems will be considered a core technology for colleges and universities going forward? And will open, interoperable systems prevail and be in common use? Are we there yet?

IHF:I think learning management systems are a core technology already, and that fact is, I think, both good and bad. It’s good because learning management systems have helped the faculty and students enormously. They make course information and content available on the Web, and at the same time improve communication among students and faculty. But because the LMS is already so important to the functioning of many schools, it’s going to be hard to move away from the proprietary systems they may be running today and to begin using open, collaboratively developed and maintained systems. I think open systems are going to prevail, but it’s going to take time.

S: So, in a sense, we’re not really there yet…What are some of the steps that could move all of this forward?

IHF: That’s true, we’re not there yet. But Sakai is about to deliver a beta release. The concept is to leverage the work of many, many institutions to ultimately build a system that most, if not all, institutions will want to run. But that’s not the case yet. Today, you have a plethora of choices among learning management systems. There are sites on the Web listing dozens of them. But for institutions seeking to move away from their current LMS, there is a cost to change. The cost comes in many forms, not the least of which is that people grow accustomed to an interface. And often they’ve converted content to be used in that system. So whatever we come up with is going to have to account for and minimize those costs of change.

One way to minimize them is, for example, in the case of the user interface, to have what are commonly known as skins. These are modifiable user interfaces that are selectable by an institution, or sometimes even by the end user, to make the system look the way they want it to look. We’re also going to need to have tools to facilitate the transformation of content from one system to another, to export it and then import it into another system. So we’re going to have to do what we can to minimize the cost of converting from one system to another.

S: Is interoperability among installed systems a key goal for OKI?

IHF: Absolutely, that’s what OKI is all about. The basis for all of this is to have a set of standards, of common interfaces, APIs or OSIDs. I think this is the right time, because people have learned, first of all, that it’s too expensive to try to develop it all on their own. Even the biggest institutions—such as Michigan, the Indiana University, Stanford, and MIT—have decided that building and maintaining these complex systems on their own just doesn’t make sense any more. At the same time, the notable, visible success of some of the open source projects—the big ones like Linux, Apache, or MySQL—have proven that it’s possible to develop something in the open and get people to commit to maintain and enhance the software.

Perhaps the most important fact to remember is that the industry we represent, higher education, is unique in our willingness to collaborate and to share our labors, such as we have in this IT space. There are a lot of smart people in each of these institutions, and if we can harness them behind the same projects and use a set of standards, starting off with a good base piece of software such as I think Sakai will deliver, then we can do wonders.

S: What about standards for metadata? Is that something to consider along with the interface standards?

IHF: Sure it is, and that is something, of course, that the library community has been working on for a long time. What did someone once say?: “The wonderful thing about standards is there are always so many to choose from…” And we do have many metadata standards. But I think that they will converge, at least in limited domains. When it comes to learning object repositories, it’s going to lead to a set of metadata schema, metadata standards that will not satisfy everyone—that’s probably impossible—but will be good enough. Many of the Mellon-funded projects—OCW, Sakai, LionShare at Penn State, Chandler—are all trying to converge on a common standard for metadata.

S: Will learning management systems change significantly in the next few years? Have they been on the right track, and are they flexible enough to be used universally?

IHF: Learning management systems have come a long way, but there’s still much that can be done to improve usability in particular, especially to make it easier to publish or create new material. It still takes too much expertise to create attractive materials from the notes, images, and programs that faculty use to teach a course. The proliferation of learning management systems suggests that no one system is sufficiently feature-rich, or adequately flexible and extensible enough to meet everyone’s needs or even most institutions’ requirements. But I hope to see that change in the next couple of years with the advent of Sakai.

The proliferation of learning management systems suggests that no one system is sufficiently feature-rich, or adequately flexible and extensible enough to meet everyone’s needs or even most institutions’ requirements.

S: Are new development tools needed?

IHF: Yes, I think we need authoring tools that lower the effort threshold dramatically for faculty to take digitized materials and create something esthetically pleasing as well as effective for their teaching purposes. There are tools, but we have to make sure that they are going to be compatible with all of the other pieces that we’re putting together based on standards. Of course, they’re not yet very compatible, but how could they be? They were built at some point in the past when people weren’t worried about that.

S: What are the pieces needed so that learning management systems can become more easily or better integrated with other parts of the campus information system, either on the academic or on the administrative side?

IHF: We need the middleware layer that translates the standards, such as the OSIDs, for the actual campus infrastructures. For example, OKI defines a set of OSIDs for authentication and authorization, and we want developers to be able to use those OSIDs, so that the systems will be interoperable. However, just about every campus has some authentication system already in place, whether it’s User ID/Password, or Kerberos, or Shibboleth. So there needs to be code which translates the calls that use the OSIDs, to the actual campus mechanisms. This is kind of a chicken-and-egg problem. Why create the middleware unless developers are using the standards? Why should developers use the standards unless the systems they are writing for have implemented the necessary middleware? But I think it’s going to happen.

S: How do portals fit in with all of this?

IHF: There’s another project, which was funded by the Mellon Foundation at almost the same time as OKI that has been very, very successful—that’s uPortal. It’s in use at scores of institutions now. It is the primary enterprise portal at those institutions. So when you ask the question about how to make it easier to integrate the LMS with other parts of the campus information system, I think uPortal is going to play an important role—and Sakai is built on top of uPortal.

S: Will libraries become better integrated with the LMS?

IHF: I think they must become better integrated in-so-far as making it as transparent as possible to the end user—faculty or the student—as to where the information used by the LMS is coming from or how to search for it. And that’s a significant challenge since there are many potential sources for the data used in an LMS. A course can use data from online publishers, from the campus library, from another library, from the campus repository, or even from the faculty member’s local or server-based files. With the emergence of peer-to-peer tools, such as LionShare, the data could even come from the personal machines of individuals throughout the world. Somehow we need to make all of this distributed information available in the learning management system without the user having to learn so many different interfaces.

There are many of MIT's shared course materials (syllabi, lecture notes, etc.) that are available free on line in virtually all academic disciplines covered at MIT --- 
There are quite a few new and updated courses in the database.

The Sloan School of Management shares undergraduate and graduate course materials at 


Update on March 3, 2004

Knowledge Wants to Be Openly Shared:  One Day We Will Beat the Selfishness Out of Academe
"DSpace partners led by MIT have bet the farm." 
(See Below)


Why do some leading universities openly share knowledge while a few other leading universities go so far as to claim property rights over the notes students take in courses?  Why do some share instructor course notes, software, and  research papers without charge whereas others charge for every word written by a faculty member?



My really good friends in the Computer Science Department invited me to dinner on March 2 with our Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Hal Abelson from MIT --- 
The following are more-or-less footnotes to the above home page (note the free video lectures):


Trinity University was fortunate to be one of eight universities on this year's schedule for Professor Abelson --- 


Hal Abelson is professor of electrical engineering and computer science and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is winner of several teaching awards, including the IEEE's Booth Education Award, cited for his contributions to the teaching of undergraduate computer science. His research at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory focuses on "amorphous computing," an effort to create programming technologies that can harness the power of the new computing substrates emerging from advances in microfabrication and molecular biology. He is also engaged in the interaction of law, policy, and technology as they relate to societal tensions sparked by the growth of the Internet, and is active in projects at MIT and elsewhere to help bolster our intellectual commons.


A founding director of the Free Software Foundation and of Creative Commons, he serves as a consultant to Hewlett-Packard Laboratories. He is co-director of the MIT-Microsoft Research Alliance in educational technology and co-head of MIT's Council on Educational Technology.

Professor Abelson is one of the founding fathers of the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI/OCW) and DSpace knowledge sharing databases that are probably the leading programs for free and open sharing of knowledge and education materials --- 


He is also the Director of Public Knowledge --- 


OKI and DSpace

The OCW (Open Courseware) announcement, almost three years ago, was open for easy inference. MIT officials insisted that the university was not offering online courses to students; rather, MIT faculty were putting their course materials—syllabi and supporting resources—on the Web for others to use. In other words, one could see the syllabus and review some of the course materials, but not take the class.  And not just a few classes. OCW’s announced goal is to make the complete MIT curriculum—everything in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, across all fields, totalling some 2000 courses—available over the next few years. Speaking at the November 2003 EDUCAUSE Conference, Anne Margulies, executive director of the OCW project, announced that MIT has made significant progress towards this goal: as of fall 2003, the resources for some 500 MIT courses had been posted on the Web.
Kenneth C. Green, "Curricular Reform, Conspiracy, and Philanthropy," Syllabus, January 2004, Page 27 --- 

The main Open Knowledge Initiative site at MIT is at 

In the first week on the Web, the OCW site received more than 13 million visits from users, about 52 percent from outside of the United States. The OCW team also processed more than 2,000 e-mails in those first days, more than 75 percent of them supportive of the project. The remaining 25 percent were a mix of technical questions, inquiries about specific course offerings, and questions about content. Less than 2 percent of those e-mails were negative.
"Open Access to World-Class Knowledge," by Anne H. Margulies, Syllabus, March 2003, pp. 16-18 --- 


In another program for storage and sharing of knowledge, Professor Abelson and his colleagues have persuaded leading universities to participate in another program called DSpace or the Self-Managing Library.  The participating universities now include such giants as Stanford University, University of Chicago, and other leading research universities of the world --- 


John Schmitz from the University of Illinois writes as follows at 


All these can be subsumed by the biggest issue that does not seem to be more than a blip on the land grant radar, the highly visible trend called institutional repositories. For example, the DSpace project is building an institutional repository for public use, aiming at posting as much of their content as possible. Extension services and land grants routinely post free, online content, but the DSpace partners led by MIT have bet the farm. Will the extension service create institutional repositories too? How far do the land grants go? DSpace, Merlot, and other 'open content' efforts cannot help but appear as paradigmatic land grant projects. But we're apparently not at the table.


Student Derivatives and Course Notes:  The Gray Zone of Knowledge Sharing


"In the meantime, University of California faculty generally own their copyright-protected property (see the UC Policy on Copyright Ownership, August 19, 1992) and, if concerned about notes being distributed on the web, have rights to stop it." (See below)




"Student Notes on the Web," Business Contracts Office, UC Davis --- 


First, the October 1, 1999, issue of The Chronicle for Higher Education contains an article entitled "Putting Class Notes on the Web: Are Companies Stealing Lectures?" Interestingly, one of the companies discussed in the article is also the one prompting the current round of complaints - If you do not have access to The Chronicle in your office you may wish to borrow this issue from a colleague. The article, while not going into depth on the legal issues involved, makes clear that many institutions of higher education across the nation are facing this same problem.

The issue of making individual student notes available to others is not new to the University of California, of course. Here at Davis ASUCD has provided the "Classical Notes" service to UCD students for some time, but authorization has not been a complaint as note-takers are required to obtain the written permission of the instructor. In 1969 a UCLA instructor sued a commercial publisher for hiring a student to take notes for publication without the instructor’s permission, and the court held that such action was a violation of the California common law copyright (California Civil Code 980 et. seq.) as well as an invasion of privacy, and both enjoined the company from continuing while ordering compensatory and punitive damages. (Williams v. Weisser (1969) 273 C.A.2d 726.) This settled the issue in California at the time.

However, the world-wide web and the value of E-commerce have brought the problem back to California in the last few years, likely because the individuals (often students) who are starting these nationwide companies are not aware of state laws, instead operating under the assumption that the federal copyright law governs all. I believe it is helpful to understand how federal law does not clearly protect instructors in this situation. Federal copyright protection of the rights to make copies, make derivative works, distribute, perform publicly, and display, applies to "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, from which they can be perceived, reproduced or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." (17 USCA section 102.) Although the federal law was written long before the Internet was conceived, its application is no different whether applied to paper class notes or the Internet version posting of them.

Certainly, no one will dispute that federal law creates a copyright interest in the instructor’s written/printed lecture notes, to the extent they are original work. If an instructor is reading or reciting from his/her lecture notes, he/she is exercising his/her performance rights under copyright law, and a duplication of that performance by taking notes so accurate as to allow a repeat performance would be a copyright violation. However, most instructors do not lecture so precisely from their notes, although portions such as a poem or critical passage may be read. If the words being said in a lecture are not otherwise "fixed" the public performance does not of itself constitute publication (17 USCA section 101, definition of publication), so does not trigger federal copyright protection. Even if it did, in a federal court case that looked at the applicability of copyright to course lectures, the court held that most statements made in a lecture can be categorized as facts or ideas that do not belong to anyone, neither of which is copyrightable. (University of Florida v. KPB, Inc (d.b.a. "A Notes"), 89 F.3d 773; 1196 U.S. LEXIS 18778 (11th Cir. 1996)).

The argument being made by the web-based services, however, is that even if the lecture is protected by copyright under federal law, each note-taker is merely writing down his/her perceptions of the instructor’s exercise of his/her copyrights. Rather than violating the existing copyright, the note-taker is creating a new original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium, and, as the author, can exercise any of the rights provided by federal copyright law, including transferring ownership to a note-distribution service. The services have been very careful not to duplicate class handouts or syllabi, which would clearly be a copyright violation. The merit of this argument has not been tested in court. One response to this might be that the note-taker is creating a derivative work rather than a new work. However, if so, every college student who takes notes is creating a derivative work without express authorization of the instructor, leading some campus attorneys to advise instructors to begin expressly authorizing notes made for personal use to differentiate notes for personal use from notes for sale.

Fortunately, we don’t have to get into this can of federal worms so long as the California common law copyright continues to be good law and is not preempted by federal law to the contrary. In the meantime, UC faculty generally own their copyright-protected property (see the UC Policy on Copyright Ownership, August 19, 1992) and, if concerned about notes being distributed on the web, have rights to stop it. Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, instructors can announce at the first class, and put in every syllabus, on their course web-sites, and in/on any other teacher-student communication, a statement to the effect of:

Copyright (author’s name) (year). All federal and state copyrights reserved for all original material presented in this course through any medium, including lecture or print. Individuals are prohibited from being paid for taking, selling, or otherwise transferring for value, personal class notes made during this course to any entity without the express written permission of (author). In addition to legal sanctions, students found in violation of these prohibitions may be subject to University disciplinary action.

Bob Jensen's comments about sharing are at 

The OCW (Open Courseware) announcement, almost three years ago, was open for easy inference. MIT officials insisted that the university was not offering online courses to students; rather, MIT faculty were putting their course materials—syllabi and supporting resources—on the Web for others to use. In other words, one could see the syllabus and review some of the course materials, but not take the class.  And not just a few classes. OCW’s announced goal is to make the complete MIT curriculum—everything in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, across all fields, totalling some 2000 courses—available over the next few years. Speaking at the November 2003 EDUCAUSE Conference, Anne Margulies, executive director of the OCW project, announced that MIT has made significant progress towards this goal: as of fall 2003, the resources for some 500 MIT courses had been posted on the Web.
Kenneth C. Green, "Curricular Reform, Conspiracy, and Philanthropy," Syllabus, January 2004, Page 27 --- 

The main Open Knowledge Initiative site at MIT is at 

Also see 

OKI and OCW:  Free sharing of courseware from MIT, Stanford, and other colleges and universities.
"CourseWork: An Online Problem Set and Quizzing Tool," by Charles Kerns, Scott Stocker, and Evonne Schaeffer, Syllabus, June 2001, 27-29.  I don't think the article is available online, although archived table of contents for the June edition is at 

A Web-based learning support tool that helps faculty assess student understanding will soon be a component of the Open Knowledge infrastructure under the development at Stanford, MIT, and other universities.


MIT, along with its principal partner Stanford University, has launched The Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI), an ambitious project to develop a modular, easy-to-use, Web-based teaching environment for assembling, delivering, and accessing educational resources and activities.  The initiative emerged from the realization that our institutions were repeatedly building specialized Web applications that shared common requirements for enterprise data and services.  Existing commercial products still require extensive customization to integrate into student information, authentication, and authorization systems, and related data stores.  Faculty using these tools frequently complain that while sometimes helpful, they require extra effort, forcing them to impose their style of teaching upon the rigidly structured course system format.  And changing the color of the screen or shape of the buttons isn't the level of customization that really supports different pedagogical approaches.

What is OKI?

OKI is about tools, a system, and a community.  It is not a new browser, document editor, or pre-packaged content.  OKI tools are the elements that enable basic teaching on the Web and that support specialized discipline-specific needs, pedagogical methods, or group logistics.

OKI is being developed with careful attention to IMS, SCORM, AICC, Dublin Core, and related standards efforts.  In keeping with another recently announced MIT project, the OpenCourseWare Initiative ( which will make content from MIT courses available on the Web for free, OKI is based on an open source licensing model (there are  no proprietary components).  It allows the tools, no matter who creates them, to:

  • Save information about learners, subjects, and teaching methods in the same format
  • Share information
  • Access other systems like the library, the registrar, and authentication and authorization systems
  • Extend the system; anyone can add new features and new tools.

OKI is being built by institutions that have dealt with large open systems in academic settings.  Besides MIT and Stanford, core initial collaborating institutions include the Dartmouth College, North Carolina State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Wisconsin.

Recalling the vitality and success of another open source effort, the development of the Linux operating system, OKI hopes to build a community of developers, teachers, educational technologists, librarians, and researchers who will collaborate to continually improve and extend the OKI learning management system.  OKI is committed to working with its partners and early adopters to establish a dynamic open source framework for continued development, support, and training.

Getting Involved

Information about the progress of OKI can be found on the OKI Web site: .  For updates subscribe to the list using the form on the OKI Web site.  If you'd like to contribute more directly to this effort, e-mail


October 2003 update on shared course materials from the OKI project at MIT --- 

Also see 

Most business disciplines seem to be cooperating in this sharing effort except for accounting.  I can't find any shared course materials from financial accounting professors. However, there are two accounting courses:


Taxes and Business Strategy Fall 2002  (Plesko is an accounting prof.)


Management Accounting and Control Spring 2003  (Weber is an accounting prof


Bob Jensen's threads on OKI are at 

Available Courses
MIT Course # Course Title
15.012 Applied Macro and International Economics Spring 2002
15.053 Introduction to Optimization Spring 2002
15.057 Systems Optimization Spring 2003
15.060 Data, Models, and Decisions Fall 2002
15.062 Data Mining Spring 2003
15.067 Competitive Decision-Making and Negotiation Spring 2003
15.073J Logistical and Transportation Planning Methods Fall 2001
15.081J Introduction to Mathematical Programming Fall 2002
15.084J Non-linear Programming Spring 2003
15.094 Systems Optimization: Models and Computation Spring 2002
15.224 Global Markets, National Politics and the Competitive Advantage of Firms Spring 2003
15.269A Literature, Ethics and Authority Spring 2003
15.269B Literature, Ethics and Authority Fall 2002
15.279 Management Communication for Undergraduates Fall 2002
15.280 Communication for Managers Fall 2002
15.289 Communication Skills for Academics Spring 2002
15.301 Managerial Psychology Laboratory Spring 2003
15.310 Managerial Psychology Laboratory Spring 2003
15.343 Managing Transformations in Work, Organizations, and Society Spring 2002
15.351 Managing the Innovation Process Fall 2002
15.389 Global Entrepreneurship Lab Fall 2002
15.394 Designing and Leading the Entrepreneurial Organization Spring 2003
15.426J Real Estate Finance and Investment Fall 2002
15.427J Real Estate Finance & Investments II: Macro-Level Analysis & Advanced Topics Spring 2003
15.433 Investments Spring 2003
15.518 Taxes and Business Strategy Fall 2002
15.521 Management Accounting and Control Spring 2003
15.565J Integrating eSystems & Global Information Systems Spring 2002
15.566 Information Technology as an Integrating Force in Manufacturing Spring 2003
15.568A Management Information Systems Spring 2003
15.578J Integrating eSystems & Global Information Systems Spring 2002
15.598 IT and Business Transformation Spring 2003
15.615 Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager Spring 2003
15.628 Patents, Copyrights, and the Law of Intellectual Property Spring 2003
15.647 Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager Spring 2003
15.649 The Law of Mergers and Acquisitions Spring 2003
15.660 Strategic HR Management Spring 2003
15.665B Power and Negotiation Fall 2002
15.678J Political Economy I: Theories of the State and the Economy Fall 2002
15.760A Operations Management Spring 2002
15.769 Operations Strategy Spring 2003
15.783J Product Design and Development Spring 2002
15.792J Proseminar in Manufacturing Fall 2002
15.795 Seminar in Operations Management Fall 2002
15.810 Introduction to Marketing Fall 2001
15.812 Marketing Management Fall 2002
15.821 Listening to the Customer Fall 2002
15.822 Strategic Marketing Measurement Fall 2002
15.834 Marketing Strategy Spring 2003
15.835 Entrepreneurial Marketing Spring 2002
15.902 Strategic Management I Fall 2002
15.912 Technology Strategy Spring 2003
15.928 Strategic Management and Consulting Proseminar: Theoretical Foundations Spring 2003
15.963 Organizations as Enacted Systems: Learning, Knowing and Change Fall 2002
15.974 Leadership Lab Spring 2003

From Syllabus News on October 7, 2003

WebCT Demonstrates Support for Open Knowledge Standards

Course management system firm WebCT said last week it had successfully prototyped an application using the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) Open Service Interface Definitions (OSIDs) to support interoperability among higher education applications. In the demo, the WebCT Vista academic enterprise system automatically synchronized calendars with Microsoft Outlook using the OKI authentication and scheduling OSIDs, or APIs, to exchange data. This would enable both calendars to be simultaneously updated by updating one.

The OKI aims to encourage local innovations that can be shared across campuses and facilitate the use of new technologies without destabilizing the overall environment.

Update September 2003

MIT's Open Source is becoming a huge academic sharing success 
From Ho Chi Minh City to Nashville, Tennessee, students are flocking to MIT's new program that posts about 2,000 classes on the Web, for free. Meet the global geeks getting an MIT education, open-source style.  See MIT Everywhere, Wired Magazine, September 2003 --- 

Every lecture, every handout, every quiz. All online. For free. Meet the global geeks getting an MIT education, open source-style.

Update March 17, 2003

MIT OpenCourseWare (Open Knowledge Initiative OKI and DSpace) Shares Lessons from Pilot Project.

"Open Access to World-Class Knowledge," by Anne H. Margulies, Syllabus, March 2003, pp. 16-18 --- 

A student in Johannesburg, South Africa. An educator in Wiesbaden, Germany. Ethiopian refugees trying to finish an engineering education cut short by civil war. These are just a few of the people who have tapped the potential of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenCourseWare (OCW) project, a two-year-old effort to make available original course materials from all five of MIT's schools to students around the world.

Started by an MIT faculty committee charged with providing guidance on how MIT should position itself in the distance and eLearning environment, the OCW project supports the university's interest in contributing to the "shared intellectual commons" in higher education. "OpenCourseWare combines two things: traditional openness and outreach, and the democratizing influence of American education, with the ability of the Web to make vast amounts of information instantly available," says MIT President Charles M. Vest.

On Sept. 30, 2002, the pilot site of OCW was launched. It offers users the opportunity to see and use course materials from 50 MIT subjects, representing 20 individual academic disciplines and MIT's schools of Architecture, Science, Engineering, the Sloan School of Management, and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

In the first week on the Web, the OCW site received more than 13 million visits from users, about 52 percent from outside of the United States. The OCW team also processed more than 2,000 e-mails in those first days, more than 75 percent of them supportive of the project. The remaining 25 percent were a mix of technical questions, inquiries about specific course offerings, and questions about content. Less than 2 percent of those e-mails were negative.

Govert van Drimmelen, a university student in Johannesburg, South Africa, found the video lectures of MIT Professor Gil Strang, in Course 18.06: Linear Algebra, compelling. "I have watched some of the video lectures from mathematics course 18.06. The lectures are wonderful and having these available over the Internet from South Africa is a great privilege," Van Drimmelen wrote the OCW team by e-mail. "Please continue with this excellent project and accept my sincere thanks for the efforts. Making the quality education of MIT more broadly available will be a valued contribution to global education."

Dorothee Gaile, an educator and trainer of teachers in Wiesbaden, Germany, wrote that as OCW continued to add more subjects, it would become a remarkable resource for educators around the world. "As a teacher of English at both high school and University of Applied Science level in Germany, I very much appreciate having free access to the tremendous amount of knowledge MIT is currently putting on the Web. Congratulations on this idea and a warm thank you."

And Timothy Choe, a volunteer with an organization called Project Detour in Africa, immediately recognized OCW's potential in developing countries: "I recently spent time with a group of Ethiopian refugees, living in Kenya, who will benefit greatly from this initiative. They are students in Project Detour, an effort initiated to encourage their continuing education while living in a country where they are not granted access to the educational system. Many are Ethiopian-trained engineers, whose academic pursuits were cut short by political turmoil. Just thought you might appreciate another example of how this initiative will benefit the world's community of knowledge seekers."

In people like these, OCW found its intended audience—educators from around the world who can adapt the course materials and learning objects embedded in online lecture notes into their own pedagogy, and self-learners who will be able to draw on the materials for self-study or supplementary use.

"I read about your initiative in the NY Times online and have to say this is one of the most exciting applications of the Internet to date," wrote Charles Bello. Based in Nigeria, Bello is the Web master for, an African Web portal. "I look forward to taking advantage of this opportunity to ‘take a dip' in MIT's enormous reservoir of human intellect."

Building a Sustainable Platform
For the pilot phase, the pages were built using what Cecilia d'Oliveira, OCW's Technology Director, calls "brute-force HTML." Using Web content editors such as Macromedia Inc.'s DreamWeaver, a team of programmers from MIT and consulting firm Sapient Corp. built and designed the first 32 subjects. Over the course of summer 2002, templates were developed, sign-off was secured from faculty, and the site was prepared for the pilot release.

With course materials from 18 more subjects added to the site in December 2002, the total number of HTML pages supporting the initial 50 subjects rose to more than 2,000, together with more than 10,000 supporting files including PDFs of lecture notes, images, and video simulations.

The production model used for the pilot is not scalable for what by 2007 is estimated to be more than 2,000 individual MIT subjects published. Indeed, the OCW goals are not going to be achieved overnight: An aggressive timeline calls for about 500 subjects to be published by September 2003, and then 500 each year there after until the course materials from virtually all of MIT's subjects—undergraduate and graduate—are available to the world.

This first year of the OCW pilot is called the "Discover/ Build" mode, where the focus is on developing the technology, process, and organization to sustain OCW over the long term as an organization. Over the course of the next two years, the team hopes to be able to provide the entire curriculum track for certain MIT subject areas.

The project will take a big leap forward in April 2003 with the implementation of a content management system, which will manage the Web pages and embed learning objects. The content management system will also:

Tracking copyright status will be vital to the long-term success of OCW. During the pilot phase, we assembled a "SWAT team" of attorneys, graphic artists, researchers, and photo image specialists who were charged with obtaining copyright and intellectual property clearances for all the charts, quotes, images, and other items that were embedded in the lecture notes that MIT professors had been using for years.

It was an arduous process, but it has paid off. There has not been a single copyright or intellectual property infringement claim filed against OCW. The copyright permissions process was slow and labor-intensive, but I am confident we have developed a strong set of alternative strategies for acquisition of copyrighted content as the project moves toward publishing hundreds of courses in the coming years.

Reaction at Home
The faculty experience with OCW has been positive. Many professors who were once skeptics are now ready to participate. The project is particularly useful for courses involving intersecting disciplines. For example, while faculty often do not have time to explore the research of peers who might be right down the hall, one faculty member, Paul Sclavounos, has been contacted by another researcher at MIT who wants to explore cross-disciplinary work.

Where did that professor discover Sclavounos' work? On the site for Sclavounos' ocean engineering subject, Course 13.022: Surface Waves and their Interaction With Floating Bodies.

"This initiative is particularly valuable for courses covering emerging new areas of knowledge, as well as intersecting disciplines," says Jonathan A. King, an MIT professor of molecular biology. "Having spent many years developing a course on protein folding that served the needs of biochemists, chemists, chemical engineers, and computational biologists, I am delighted that this work will be made available to a far broader audience."

Shigeru Miyagawa, an MIT professor of linguistics, serves on the OCW Faculty Advisory Board and has two subjects on the current site: Course 24.946: Linguistic Theory and the Japanese Language and CMS.930/21F.034: Media, Education, and the Marketplace, a cross-listed course that explores a broad range of issues on new media and learning.

"OCW reflects the idea that, as scholars and teachers, we wish to share freely the knowledge we generate through our research and teaching," Miyagawa explains. "While MIT may be better known for our research, with OCW, we wish to showcase the quality of our teaching."

The OCW team hopes this will be the first of many open courseware initiatives. "This is about something bigger than MIT," states president Vest. "I hope other universities will see us as educational leaders in this arena, and we very much hope that OpenCourseWare will draw other universities to do the same. We would be delighted if—over time—we have a World Wide Web of knowledge that raises the quality of learning—and ultimately, the quality of life—around the globe."


Update January 25, 2003

Where can I check to see if MIT has some open share course materials in my discipline?


Unfortunately, there is not yet anything in accounting or business.  But there are economics materials, and new listings being put up frequently.

Find individual course listings on the following MIT OCW Department pages, or view a complete course list.
  Aeronautics & Astronautics
  Anthropology NEW
  Chemical Engineering
  Civil & Environmental
  Comparative Media Studies NEW
  Earth, Atmospheric, &
Planetary Sciences
  Electrical Engineering &
Computer Science
  Engineering Systems Division
  History NEW
  Linguistics & Philosophy
  Literature NEW
  Materials Science &
  Mechanical Engineering
  Nuclear Engineering NEW
  Ocean Engineering
  Political Science
  Sloan School of Management
  Urban Studies & Planning

Bob Jensen's threads on the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) are at 

Update on January 30, 2003

THE SELF-MANAGING LIBRARY Software prevents scholarly schisms The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Hewlett-Packard have implemented a new, Web-accessible system for storing, indexing, and disseminating the university's intellectual property. DSpace is an electronic, open source platform for storage and retrieval that lets MIT maintain its own virtual library of digitally rendered material. 

Update on January 1, 2003
Progress on the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI)

DSpace from MIT --- 

Welcome to DSpace, a newly developed digital repository created to capture, distribute and preserve the intellectual output of MIT.

As a joint project of MIT Libraries and the Hewlett-Packard Company, DSpace provides stable long-term storage needed to house the digital products of MIT faculty and researchers.

















"MIT offers courses for free on the Web," by Linda Rosencrance, CompterWorld, October 11, 2002 ---,11280,75085,00.html 
(I thank Stacy Kovar for pointing me toward this article.)

While MIT's OpenCourseWare (OCW) project isn't quite a free education, it is a new approach to the open sharing of knowledge over the Internet.

Launched two weeks ago, anyone with an Internet connection and a Web browser can access the syllabus, assignments, exams and answers, reference materials and, in some cases, video lectures of MIT courses.

First announced in 2001, the idea behind OCW is to make course materials used in almost all of MIT's undergraduate and graduate subjects available online, free of charge, to users anywhere in the world, according to Jon Paul Potts, spokesman for the OCW project.

Potts said the goal of the project is to advance technology-enhanced education at MIT and to serve as a model for university dissemination of knowledge in the Internet age.

However, Potts said, MIT isn't putting its current semester course offerings online; rather, it is putting up course offerings from previous terms.

There are 32 MIT courses in 17 disciplines available on the Web, including Introduction to Experimental Biology, Problems of Philosophy, Linear Algebra and Macroeconomics Theory II.

Potts said MIT plans to put most of the materials from its 2,000 courses online by the 2006-07 academic year.

He said OCW will allow faculty from other institutions and other people to observe teaching methods and resources used by MIT's faculty. "This is not distance learning," Potts said. "The goal is to provide the content that supports an education."

Since the site went live, more than 130,000 users from around the world, including Africa, Algeria, Canada, Finland and Latvia, have accessed the site, and 1,700 of them have sent e-mails offering comments about the site, Potts said.

Currently, individual course sites and the course materials for the pilot phase of OCW use HTML. The course sites are static Web pages, he said, but they use a number of additional formats, including PDF files, Java Applets and video files.

Potts said OCW is still working on the technology infrastructure and studying other potential platforms to determine what the project will use in the long term. He said OCW is intended to be built using a full-featured content management and publication production system.

The initial phase of the project, which cost $11 million, was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Many educators, including me, have misinterpreted the concept of OpenCourseWare (OCW) as envisioned by MIT and some other major universities.  

"OpenCourseWare:  Simple Idea, Profound Implications," by Phillip D. Long, Syllabus Magazine, January 2002, pp. 12-16 --- 

On April 4, 2001, Charles Vest, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, announced the beginning of the OpenCourseWare project (OCW) in a press conference that was simultaneously Web cast. “As president of MIT, I have come to expect top-level innovative and intellectually entrepreneurial ideas from the MIT community.... I have to tell you that we went into this expecting that something creative, cutting-edge, and challenging would emerge. And, frankly, we also expected that it would be something based on a revenue-producing model—a project or program that took into account the power of the Internet and its potential for new applications in education. OpenCourseWare is not exactly what I had expected.” Frankly, neither did anyone else.

What is OCW?

Since its inception, OCW has been misunderstood. The academic world has seen one or another online degree program or commercial venture stake a claim to its part of cyberspace. OCW is not about online degree programs. It isn’t even about online courses for which students can audit or enroll. That’s what it isn’t. What, then, is it?

OCW is a process—not a set of classes. This process is intended to make the MIT course materials that are used in the teaching of almost all undergraduate and graduate subjects available free online to any user in the world.

The goal of OCW is to provide the content that supports an MIT education. Ultimately, the OCW Web resource will host the materials for more than 2,000 classes taught at MIT, presented with a coherent interface that will include sophisticated search algorithms to explore additional concepts, pedagogies, and related attributes across the site as well as within a course.

The OCW announcement elicited varied reactions. Many wondered how this effort differs from any number of instances where universities have made their course Web sites available to the public, all or in part. The more cynical expressed admiration for the public relations success. The announcement made the front page of the New York Times, but skeptics asserted that OCW would be nothing more than a traditional Web site dressed up with a new acronym. But the elegance is in its simplicity. The closer one looks, the more one sees.

Still, an important and often overlooked implication of OCW is another aspect of what it is not—it is emphatically not an MIT education. This has been emphasized by Vest and other spokespeople for the initiative, but it bears repeating. It is the firm tenant of OCW that the core of an MIT education is the interaction between students and faculty in an environment that invites and supports inquiry and questioning. OCW makes no claim or effort to encapsulate this on the Web.

Competing Demands

Even given the support generally garnered on the MIT campus, some obstacles must be overcome if OCW is to be successfully implemented and maintained.

• Time. The prospect of putting up the content of some 2,000 courses in the next 10 years is daunting for anyone, even on a campus like MIT. This is all the more challenging given the one thing faculty members have least available—time. The enthusiasm and commitment toward the project is tempered by the uncertainty surrounding the level of effort faculty will be required to invest to make content suitable for OCW.

Teaching and research remain prime concerns for faculty throughout institutions of higher education nationwide and abroad. A project like this must not add significantly to the workload of already challenged faculty members, nor can it detract from their current commitments. A research question for such an effort is therefore: How can we assemble and distribute content with minimal faculty involvement?

• Reusable learning objects. A corollary to the time-constrained faculty member is the requirement that learning objects created for a course must be found suitable for other purposes, such as OCW. Faculty members cannot be expected to create content twice, once for teaching and again for presentation to the broader academic public. Thus, a second objective for the project is understanding the requirements for transformation of learning objects from their in-class instructional use to their representation as meaningful content for those interacting out of the context of the faculty/student/course/setting intersection.

• Production process. Putting together a Web site for a course is, despite current technologies to assist site designers, a significant effort. Currently, trade-offs are made in order to achieve some degree of scalability in the various systems used to aggregate content for teaching. For example, learning management systems may provide a limited suite of templates with form-based content uploading, designed to distribute the labor required to ingest and position the content within the site’s framework. The trade-off is often restricted pedagogical flexibility and relatively basic, cosmetic design choices for the reduction in the effort needed to auto-generate large numbers of course “shells.” A project such as that undertaken by OCW must incorporate new opportunities to achieve scalability for content development while not entirely sacrificing individuality in site design.

Courseware as Product

The higher education community has become subject to a new force in recent years. The trend has been referred to as “education as a good” (Schlais, 2001), describing the increasing trend toward the privatization of knowledge. Colleges and universities, in his view, are becoming more and more like vendors to students, who perceive themselves as customers of college education services. During the bloom of online distance education—curtailed only recently by the general economic recession—competition for students among universities led to increasing costs. Revenues were sought to replace declining public subsidies and to support competitive consumerism. Not-for-profit subsidiaries of traditional colleges, for-profit private universities, and corporations emerged, seeking to gain a larger share in what seemed an infinitely expanding demand for anywhere, anytime learning.

The privatization of knowledge has many manifestations. One is the frightening rise in the cost of scholarly journals. The pattern is familiar to anyone working in the academy. Schlais describes the conundrum like this: “A faculty member spends years of her life learning, researching, thinking, organizing, teaching, and writing. Her university invests substantially during this process. She publishes the fruits of her labor in a highly respected journal. And finally her library buys a subscription to the journal, sometimes costing in the tens of thousands of dollars per year.” Something is amiss, and our library colleagues have been painfully aware of it for years.

Copyright and legal interpretations deepen the concern. According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the General Agreement on Trade in Services, education is an international commodity. In the United States, compliance with the WTO agreements was accomplished in part by the enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998. Jessica Litman described the relevance of these changes in her book, Digital Copyright: Protecting Intellectual Property on the Internet (2001):

“1. The use of digital works, including viewing, reading, listening, transporting, etc., requires a reproduction of the original of the work in a computer’s memory. 2. Copyright statutes give clear and exclusive control over reproduction (as defined above) to the copyright holder. 3. For each use of the copyrighted material, that is, each viewing, listening, transfer, the user needs to have the statutory privilege of the copyright holder.”

Faculty members at MIT, as well as other universities, are concerned that their intellectual property may be locked away from their peers, as well as potential students, behind proprietary barriers. Participating in OCW is a proactive statement that “reflects the idea that, as scholars and teachers, we wish to share freely the knowledge we generate through our research and teaching” (Miyagawa, 2001). As Vest noted, “OpenCourseWare looks counterintuitive in a market-driven world.” Indeed.

A New Model of Scholarly Sharing?

OCW is often thought of as the educational content equivalent to the open source software movement. The analogy is appealing and reflective of many, but not all, of its goals. Taking a closer look at what constitutes open source software might help.

Continued at

Stanford University shares course management software --- 

Stanford shares some Coursework Course Management Software --- 

CourseWork is a open source course management system based at Stanford University and developed by Academic Computing in the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources.

Using CourseWork, instructors and TAs can set up a course Web site that displays announcements, on-line readings, a dynamic syllabus and schedule, on-line assignments and quizzes, a discussion forum for students, and a grade book. CourseWork is designed both for faculty with little Web experience, who can use CourseWork to develop their Web site quickly, and for expert Web-users, who can use it to organize complex, Web-based materials and link them to Web communication tools.

The CourseWork source code is free and open, and can be downloaded from this site for any organization to use and modify to their own needs. You will need your own staff to install and manage the system, but the code is free and open.

Academic Computing developed CourseWork as part of the Open Knowledge Initiative. In this two-year project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a consortium of universities led by MIT are collaborating to build the next generation of teaching and learning tools.

For more information about CourseWork, please e-mail

 A demo is available at 

Also see 

Institutional Partners in the OKI initiative include the following universities --- 

• Stanford University 
• North Carolina State University 
• University of Michigan 
• University of Wisconsin 
• University of Pennsylvania 
• Dartmouth College
• Cambridge University 
• Harvard • University of Washington 
• Others

Carnegie Mellon University
Johns Hopkins
George Washington University

None seem to have progressed as far as MIT in terms of sharing actual course materials across multiple disciplines on campus --- 

"LENS ON THE FUTURE:  Open-Source Learning," by Anne H. Moore, EDUCAUSE Review, September/October 2002, pp. 42-51 --- 

The Current Open-Source Movement

Underpinning the current open-source courseware and knowledgeware movement in higher education and elsewhere is a belief in the advantages to be gained through the open development and exchange of ideas.  For this discussion, open-source development falls into two categories: (1) open-source knowledgeware development (the tools); and (2) open-source courseware development (the content).  MIT's partnership with Stanford on the Open Knowledge Initiative ( ) is an example of a project designed to develop a learning management system, or open-source knowledgeware--Web-based tools for storing, retrieving, and disseminating educational resources and activities.  In contrast, projects such as MIT's OpenCourseWare effort ( ), which aims to make instructional materials available free on the Web, and the MERLOT project ( ), which endeavors to place on the Web knowledge objects that have been evaluated for quality, represent variations on an open-source courseware-development process.

Open-source software development has traditions that date to the beginnings of the Internet nearly thirty years ago.  According to Eric S. Raymond, recent technical and market forces have drawn open-source software out of its niche role in Internet development to a larger role in defining the computing infrastructure of the twenty-first century.  Raymond also suggests that the idea of open-source development is pursued and sustained by "people who proudly call themselves 'hackers'--not as the term is now abused by journalists to mean a computer criminal, but in its true and original sense of an enthusiast, an artist, a tinkerer, a problem solver, an expert." Even among such rugged individualists as these, most abide by certain principles of good practice in development and an unwritten code of ethical development and dissemination behavior.

Similarly, many faculty who have developed course materials for the Web have done so in an open-source environment.  Frequently, faculty have shared technology-enhanced materials informally with colleagues, tailoring the material for each learning situation and improving on materials in the exchange.  The MERLOT project has sought, with some success, to build on faculty values that prize open exchanges and the peer review of materials.  Extending these values to a Web-based teaching environment, faculty from across the nation are participating in MERLOT by creating digitized knowledge objects (modularized materials that can be used in teaching and learning), peer-reviewing them, and storing them in a searchable repository that is organized by content areas and is easily accessible for use in teaching.  Like the software-development enthusiasts in the "hacker" community, most faculty abide by certain principles of good practice and an unwritten code of ethics.  Whether or not projects like MERLOT are long- or short-term phenomena, it is likely that faculty will continue in the long term to devise their own teaching materials, with and without technology, and to seek trusted colleagues' advice in the process.  Such practices are a historic tenet of academic culture.

MIT's OpenCourseWare (OCW) project underscores this tenet.  Phillip Long notes that OCW is often viewed as "the educational content equivalent to the open-source software movement."  Long explains that the application of open-source principles has one intent: "to allow people to read, improve, adapt or modify, fix, redistribute, and use open-source software."  He adds, "The definition recognizes that improvements to complex code are made exponentially faster if more people can look at it and lend their intellectual input toward making it work better." And so it is with OCW.  In aiming for an ideal of open scholarship and free access to course materials and resources online, OCW formalizes the historic process of collegial interaction and review for a new age.  The technologies employed in this open-educational content process serve at once as catalysts and tools for expanding access to information in many new forms and for encouraging broad participation in the process.

The Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI), which provides the tools that underpin OCW, is a more direct application of the same open-source principles.  OKI developers are seeking to create a flexible, scalable knowledge management system that allows for innovative contributions from users in an advanced learning arena.  OKI includes collaborating institutions such as Stanford, MIT, Dartmouth College, North Carolina State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  These developers are taking aim at improving the technology-assisted teaching environment by providing tools that are modular and easy to use.  So when faculty, staff, or students seek to access, deliver, rearrange, or reassemble information, they can do so with the flexibility and customization required to support many approaches to teaching and to learning.3

Working in either of these open-source environments (tools or content) has several benefits for higher education institutions.  First, doing so results in products that supplement and compete in healthy ways with proprietary products, either in the learning management systems arena (knowledgeware) or in the publishing world (courseware).  Second, working in these environments encourages the use of standards so that users, whether institutions needing knowledgeware or individual faculty needing courseware, can adapt products to particular needs.  Finally, participation also creates and nurtures expertise in knowledgeware and courseware development in the academy, complementing commercial efforts and providing alternative models and materials.

Continued at 

1   Eric S. Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open-Source by an Accidental Revolutionary (Cambridge, Mass.: O'Reilly, 1999), xii.

2   Phillip D. Long, "OpenCourseWare: Simple Idea, Profound Implications," Syllabus 15, no. 6 (January 2002): 16.

3   Charles Kerns, Scott Stocker, and Evonne Schaefer, "CourseWork: An Online Problem Set and Quizzing Tool," Syllabus 14, no. 11 (June 2001): 27-29.

Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at 

Bob Jensen's commentary on the importance of sharing is at 

From Syllabus News on May 28, 2002

Blackboard Announces Adoption Strategy for 'OKI' Specifications

Blackboard recently announced a broad strategy to adopt industry standard API's (Application Program Interfaces) from the MIT Open Knowledge Initiative within the Blackboard e-Education Suite. Blackboard's Building Blocks open architecture will base future releases on key OKI specifications, enabling a broader variety of third party applications to work with Blackboard. The announcement is expected to help accelerate OKI's status as an industry standard in the higher education market. Through their relationship as common mem- bers of the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Blackboard and OKI institutional partners are working together with other IMS members to help define the next generation of interoperability standards for educational technology. For more information on the MIT Open Knowledge Initiative, visit


Accreditation Issues
For details go to

For general background on accreditation, you can enter the search term "Accreditation" at 

There are three sources of accreditation:

A Crystal Ball Look Into the Future
For details go to

March 3, 2005 message from Carolyn Kotlas [


"Some universities, some faculty, and even some students have increased their personal wealth by asserting ownership of the intellectual property created at the university. For many faculty, however, this new entrepreneurial orientation runs deeply counter to traditions of education and public service. Past campus debates about aspects of this cultural shift have created an environment of distrust and rancor." In a recent article Brian C. Donohue and Linda Howe-Steiger express their belief that this distrust has "spilled over into faculty attitudes toward the use of digital technologies for teaching" causing faculty to reject these technologies. This situation can be remedied if institutions "create incentives for faculty that balance public service goals with professional and entrepreneurial rewards, clarify ownership and usage rights of intellectual property generated by and for teaching, and generate additional funding for curriculum development at universities (possibly through tax credits)." They expand upon how to accomplish this in "Faculty and Administrators Collaborating for E-Learning Courseware" (EDUCAUSE QUARTERLY, vol. 28, no. 1, 2005, pp. 20-32). The article is available online, at no cost, at .

EDUCAUSE Quarterly, The IT Practitioner's Journal [ISSN 1528-5324] is published by EDUCAUSE, 4772 Walnut Street, Suite 206, Boulder, CO 80301-2538 USA. Current and past issues are available online at .

Concept Knowledge

June 18, 2006 message from Bob Kennelly [bob_kennelly@YAHOO.COM]

I am a data analyst with the Federal Government, recently assigned a project to integrate our accounting codes with XBRL accounting codes, primarily for the quarterly reporting of banking financial information.
For the past few weeks, i've been searching the WEB looking for educational materials that will help us map, rollup and orr olldown the data that we recieve from the banks that we regulate, to the more generic XBRL accounting codes.
Basically, i'm hoping to provide my team members with the tools to help them make more informed decisions on how to classify accounting codes and capture their findings for further review and discussion.
To my suprise there isn't the wealth of accounting information that i thought there would be on the WEB, but i am very relieved to have found Bob Jensen's site and in particular an article which refers to the kind of information gathering
approaches that i'm hoping to discover!
Here is the brief on that article:
"Using Hypertext in Instructional Material:  Helping Students Link Accounting Concept Knowledge to Case Applications," by Dickie Crandall and Fred Phillips, Issues in Accounting Education, May 2002, pp. 163-184
We studied whether instructional material that connects accounting concept discussions with sample case applications through hypertext links would enable students to better understand how concepts are to be applied to practical case situations.
Results from a laboratory experiment indicated that students who learned from such hypertext-enriched instructional material were better able to apply concepts to new accounting cases than those who learned from instructional material that contained identical content but lacked the concept-case application hyperlinks. 
Results also indicated that the learning benefits of concept-case application hyperlinks in instructional material were greater when the hyperlinks were self-generated by the students rather than inherited from instructors, but only when students had generated appropriate links. 
Could anyone be so kind as to please suggest other references, articles or tools that will help us better understand and classify the broad range of accounting terminologies and methodologies please?
For more information on XBRL, here is the XBRL link:
Thanks very much!
Bob Kennelly

June 19, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Bob,

You may find the following documents of related interest:

"Internet Financial Reporting: The Effects of Hyperlinks and Irrelevant Information on Investor Judgments," by Andrea S. Kelton (Ph.D. Dissertation at the University of Tennessee) ---

Extendible Adaptive Hypermedia Courseware: Integrating Different Courses and Web Material
Lecture Notes in Computer Science,  Publisher: Springer Berlin / Heidelberg ISSN: 0302-9743 Subject: Computer Science Volume 1892 / 2000 Title: Adaptive Hypermedia and Adaptive Web-Based Systems: International Conference, AH 2000, Trento, Italy, August 2000. Proceedings Editors: P. Brusilovsky, O. Stock, C. Strapparava (Eds.) --- Click Here

"Concept, Knowledge, and Thought," G. C. Oden, Annual Review of Psychology Vol. 38: 203-227 (Volume publication date January 1987) --- Click Here

"A Framework for Organization and Representation of Concept Knowledge in Autonomous Agents," by Paul Davidsson,  Department of Computer Science, University of Lund, Box 118, S–221 00 Lund, Sweden email:

"Active concept learning for image retrieval in dynamic databases," by Dong, A. Bhanu, B. Center for Res. in Intelligent Syst., California Univ., Riverside, CA, USA; This paper appears in: Computer Vision, 2003. Proceedings. Ninth IEEE International Conference on Publication Date: 13-16 Oct. 2003 On page(s): 90- 95 vol.1 ISSN: ISBN: 0-7695-1950-4 --- Click Here

"Types and qualities of knowledge," by Ton de Jong, ​‌Monica G.M. Ferguson-Hessler, Educational Psychologist 1996, Vol. 31, No. 2, Pages 105-113 --- Click Here

Also note

Hope this helps
Bob Jensen


Babson College's experiments with "Tailor-Made Degrees"

"Tailor-Made Degrees: Customized Corporate Education," by Tom Moore, Syllabus, March 2002, pp. 30-33 --- 

The popular notion of a new graduate entering "the real world" points to the fact that we commonly view academia and the corporate environment as two disparate, almost polarized communities. The perception may be that universities focus on theory while businesses concentrate on practice. And to combine the two—to influence academic curriculum on behalf of corporate needs—has traditionally been frowned upon as a corruption of pure academic purpose.

This is not to say that higher education has ignored the corporate community. Colleges and universities have long offered corporate training programs and customized courses. However, corporate offerings and traditional degree programs have fallen into two distinct categories, usually considered to be very separate: the graduate degree program, typically thought of as the more rigorous education experience designed exclusively by academics, and the executive education program, a shorter-term, not-for-credit alternative intended to serve the corporation’s needs.

Now, due in large part to the maturing nature and growing acceptance of distance learning, the wall that once stood between business and academia is beginning to crumble. Over the past few years, we’ve begun to see a blending of executive education and graduate degree programs. The result is a new model for professional education: the corporate-customized graduate degree program.

The Babson College Experience

In 2000, Babson College opened the doors of Babson Interactive, a school dedicated to applying e-learning to innovative management education programs. The goal was to create an e-learning/faceto- face hybrid that is both responsive to the needs of businesses and culminates in a degree from an established brick-andmortar university.

When I was first hired by Babson College, I held the titles of dean of the Babson School of Executive Education and dean of its Graduate School of Business. My responsibilities included overseeing Babson’s MBA programs and executive education courses at the same time. As I stepped into the position of CEO of Babson Interactive, I relinquished my role as dean of the Graduate School but retained my title and responsibilities as dean of Executive Education. It was clear from the start that e-learning offered high potential for an entirely new type of executive education, and that Babson Interactive was the place where we would explore the possibilities.

Babson had been watching the development of e-learning from the sidelines for quite some time before opening Babson Interactive. At first we were, frankly, not very interested. For the most part, the technologies appeared underdeveloped and unproven. We had great concern that the initial technology was not robust enough to provide the kind of insight and judgment building that we felt a good graduate program should offer.

In the past few years, however, we’ve seen the technology improve and have observed other institutions implement very successful e-learning programs. I now believe that a blended degree program—one that incorporates both elearning and face-to-face instruction— offers an education experience that can, in fact, be superior to the traditional classroom experience. The key is in the proper balancing of these two learning modes.

A number of corporations have come to Babson Interactive. In one example, Babson, along with Cenquest, an e-learning company with expertise in creating online courses, developed a oneof- a-kind company-customized MBA degree program for Intel Corp. By combining the foundational and theoretical knowledge included in a Babson graduate degree with the strategic intent of the company, the program provided Intel with a completely new employee education option.

The customization of the curriculum took several forms. The Intel team offered input into the class electives. They also provided real work projects to be used as examples and incorporated into the coursework. Through e-learning technology, Intel executives, partners, and even customers could be included as guest lecturers.

ROI and Student Benefits

Corporations have long viewed companyreimbursed education as a standard employee benefit alongside health care and bonus programs. U.S. businesses spend $58 billion annually on employee education. And in a market where there is always fierce competition for top employees, offering quality education programs is seen as essential to hiring and retaining the best and brightest.

Unfortunately, the return-on-investment for company-reimbursed degree programs has been less than easy to quantify. Corporations have had little influence over the schools being attended, much less the programs being offered and the curriculum being taught. Aside from reimbursement contingencies based on keeping a certain grade point average, businesses have had limited input into the nature of their employee’s for-credit education experience. The programs are typically funded more upon faith and hope then on real data showing that employees will learn skills that will increase their overall value to the company.

Perhaps a larger irony to these programs is that while they are seen as a necessary tool for hiring and retaining employees, they often have an opposite effect. It is not unusual for a company to pay for an employee’s graduate education only to have that employee leave once the degree is obtained. In such cases, the reimbursement program often becomes a company-sponsored training ground for its competition.

Since the programs at Babson Interactive are designed to increase an employee’s value to the company, chances are far better that graduates will continue their careers at the company once their degree is completed. And since employees work and study with other employees from various corporate locations, managers see the learning experience as providing a rare opportunity to build valuable employee relationships across company campuses.

Lessons Learned

In the final analysis, there is a real learning curve involved in maximizing both the instructional and business models for this type of program. Still, it is clear that corporate education is heading in a new direction. Companies like Intel are looking to this new corporate education model to provide higher quality assurances and overall increased value. By combining a traditional graduate degree curriculum with content tailored to the needs of a company, customized degree programs offer unprecedented benefits to both the employee and employer and stand to ultimately redefine the relationship between academia and the "real world."


Wireless Audio and Video Knowledge Portals --- BeVocal

Knowledge Portals ---

Western Governors University, which was founded in 1997 as a collaboration of colleges in 19 states offering online programs, was for many years known for not meeting the ambitious goals of its founders. Projected to attract thousands of students within a few years, it initially attracted but scores of students. But the university has been growing lately, and on Wednesday announced that enrollment has hit 10,000, including students from all 50 states.
Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2008 ---

Jensen Comment
Some of the things that made WGU controversial were as follows:

WGU now has many undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including those in traditional fields of business such as accounting, marketing, etc.

Competency-Based Learning (where teachers don't selectively assign grades) ---

Western Governors University (with an entire history of competency-based learning) ----
Especially note the Business Administration (including Accounting) degree programs

From a Chronicle of Higher Education Newsletter on November 3, 2016

Over the past 20 years, Western Governors University has grown into a formidable competency-based online education provider. It’s on just its second president, Scott D. Pulsipher, a former Silicon Valley executive, who stopped by our offices yesterday.

WGU has graduated more than 70,000 students, from all 50 states. But a key part of the institution’s growth strategy is local, using its affiliations with participating states (not that all the partnerships start smoothly, mind you). There are six of them, and more growth is on the way; Mr. Pulsipher says WGU is in serious discussions to expand into as many as five more states — he declines to name them — at a pace of one or two per year.

The university's main focus remains students, he says. One example is an effort to minimize student loans. Through better advising, students are borrowing, on average, about 20 percent less than they did three years ago, amounting to savings of about $3,200. “Humans make better decisions,” Mr. Pulsipher says, “when they have more information.” —Dan Berrett

2016 Bibliography on Competency-Based Education and Assessment ---

Bob Jensen's threads on competency-based learning ---


Judith Boettcher in Syllabus, June 1999, 18-24 Judith Boettcher is affiliated with CREN. She predicts the following scenarios (which appear to be heavily in line with the emerging WGU programs mentioned above):

1.  A "career university" sector will be in place (with important partnerships of major corporations with prestige universities).

2.  Most higher education institutions, perhaps 60 percent, will have teaching and learning management software systems linked to their back office administration systems.

3.  New career universities will focus on certifications, modular degrees, and skill sets.

4.  The link between courses and content for courses will be broken.

5.  Faculty work and roles will make a dramatic shift toward specialization (with less stress upon one person being responsible for the learning material in an entire course).
(Outsourcing Academics )

6.  Students will be savvy consumers of educational services (which is consistent with the Chronicle of Higher Education article at   ).

7.  The tools for teaching and learning will become as portable and ubiquitous as paper and books are today.

An abstract from On the Horizon  

Will Universities Be Relics? What Happens When an Irresistible Force Meets an Immovable Object? John W. Hibbs

Peter Drucker predicts that, in 30 years, the traditional university will be nothing more than a relic.    Should we listen or laugh? Hibbs examines Drucker's prophesy in the light of other unbelievable events, including the rapid transformation of the Soviet Union "from an invincible Evil Empire into just another meek door-knocker at International Monetary Fund headquarters." Given the mobility and cost concerns of today's students, as well as the growing tendency of employers to evaluate job-seekers' competencies rather than their institutional affiliations, Hibbs agrees that the brick-and-mortar university is doomed to extinction.

Jensen Comment
I think bricks and mortar will be around for a long time as long as young and naive students commencing adulthood need more than just course content in the process of becoming well-rounded adults. Behind the bricks and mortar there are some very inspiring and motivating scholars. Even those professors, however, must change with the times as asynchronous learning keeps becoming more superior on tough content items ---

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at

Bob Jensen's advice for new faculty can be found at


"Continued Growth for 2 Distance Ed Models," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, June 19, 2008 ---

Two unique models of providing distance education to mainly nontraditional students are coming into their own, each showing a healthy expansion of enrollments and growth in available course offerings. One, the Online Consortium of Independent Colleges & Universities, has been enlarging since its inception, while the other, Western Governors University, faced years of skepticism from critics who said its ambitious goals would never be met. Now, both are touting their success with fresh numbers and statistics, suggesting that online education needn’t only come from large for-profit companies or local community colleges.

In 2005, Regis University announced a consortium of colleges that would work together, rather than compete, to share each others’ online courses in a way that would in effect vastly expand the offerings of each of the group’s members. Since then, the 39 founding colleges of the OCICU have expanded to 68, with 1,784 course enrollments over the past year.

The model is unusual in that it allows colleges that are interested in offering courses online, but don’t necessarily have the resources to cover every conceivable topic, to supplement their catalog with classes that already exist — in the consortium and on the Web, but not on their campuses. So far, seven of the member colleges, including Regis, act as “providers,” essentially allowing other colleges in the group to pick and choose which courses to make available to their own students, with full institutional credit assigned through the student’s college.

“We’ve just experienced remarkable growth and great feedback from the schools participating,” said Thomas R. Kennedy, executive director of new ventures at Regis. “Especially as member schools ... they don’t have any online schools whatsoever, and overnight they have one. That’s one of the beauties of it.”

That near-instant capability can serve students in a number of ways. Do they need to fulfill a general elective requirement, like sociology or political science? The providers offer plenty of possibilities for students at colleges that don’t have the resources to fill every gap in the curriculum. What about students interested in a niche topic, like Irish studies? Some of the providers, as well as members that are planning on offering up courses to the rest of the consortium in the future, have such offerings as well.

Many, but not all, of the member colleges are religiously affiliated, and most fit the profile of small- or medium-sized institutions in the Council of Independent Colleges that may not have the resources to get into the distance education business on their own. Members pay a one-time fee of $3,500 to join the consortium plus an annual fee of $1,000, Kennedy said, to cover administrative costs. Of the approximately $1,350 in tuition for a three-credit course, he added, about $500 would go to the provider school per student — essentially extra cash for a course that was already being held, he pointed out — and $700 would remain at the student’s home college, which would incur no additional cost.

“All these provider schools are doing is opening up their classes ... to visiting students, in a way,” he said. The key difference, however, is that students receive credit as if they took the courses at their own institutions, rather than as transfer credits.

Kennedy said he’s been urging member colleges to pocket that extra tuition money “and start investing in your own online program.”

Some are doing just that. Keuka College, in upstate New York, administers degree completion programs by partnering with hospitals and community colleges across the state. To help students in its various programs who need to take a specific course or two to complete their degrees, the college can now send them to offerings available online through the consortium.

“We found that by using courses offered through the consortium, we could offer students more forms of access,” said Gary Smith, associate vice president for professional studies and international programs at Keuka, especially for the “general education or general elective pool that’s outside our major program offerings.”

This year, Keuka will ramp up its own online courses by playing to its strengths: If all goes according to plan, Smith said, the college will add classes in Asian studies to the consortium’s lineup.

A ‘Competency-Based’ University Takes Off

Another model that’s meeting or exceeding the expectations of its leaders is breathing a sigh of relief. Western Governors University, founded in 1997 by 19 state governors, started with ambitious plans to grow its enrollment and become a regional economic engine. But the initial plans faltered and the university found itself the object of criticism and even scorn — although that wasn’t necessarily confined to Western Governors.

“If you go back to the mid-’90s, when the idea for WGU bubbled up from among the conversations from the governors of the Western states, there was at that time no clear sense of whether or not online education would work, period, or would work with any level of success and any decent level of quality,” said Patrick Partridge, the university’s vice president of marketing and enrollment. But, he acknowledged, there was plenty of skepticism in academe as well. “I think that skepticism was both of a financial type and sort of an awareness ... of the kind of political hurdles in the higher-ed world.”

These days, the picture for both online education in general, and WGU in particular, seems quite a bit brighter. The nonprofit institution, which receives no state support and sustains itself primarily through tuition and private donations, announced this month that it had reached an enrollment of 10,000 students — up from 500 in 2003. That growth can be attributed to a number of factors, including regional accreditation, but the university also emphasizes two features that distinguish it from most of its peers: a “competency-based” approach to assessing students’ work, and its nationally accredited Teachers College.

From the outset, courses and curriculums are developed with input from senior faculty together with an “outside council” including practitioners from a given field. Course material is then assessed to a level that’s considered “highly competent,” Partridge said, by the developers of the course, effectively creating a standardized set of requirements in lieu of more independent assessments by individual instructors. Upon completion, employers can theoretically be assured that students are proficient in a specific set of skills and knowledge.

The university doesn’t give letter grades, and it allows students to take as long as they want in their course of study — which could be a mixed blessing, since they pay a flat fee (a bit under $3,000) every six months. All in all, Partridge said, “we are as different from the other online schools as they are from” traditional higher education. It’s a model not suited to everyone, he acknowledged, but especially tailored to students with a certain “impatience” or “determination” to complete in a timely manner.

Another significant draw for WGU is the Teachers College, which, unlike any other such online program, places graduates at schools in virtually every state. Now, at least half of WGU’s students are enrolled in the teaching program. “[W]e offer a path to initial teacher licensure for individuals all around the country who want to become teachers, often later in life where returning to a traditional school of education ... is just not that convenient,” Partridge said.

The university projects further growth in the coming years, with a predicted enrollment of up to 15,000 in the foreseeable future. “We really see the future as one in which the people of the United States and the adult audience need to have very good-quality and affordable options to either get a first bachelor’s degree or continue to pursue [a] master’s degree, in particular change careers and pursue dreams that will in the long run strengthen our economy, the citizenry and make our country, our states, etc., stronger,” said Partridge.

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration --- 

Summer 2004 - Volume 7, Number 2

Spring 2004 - Volume 7, Number 1

Winter 2003 - Volume 6, Number 4

Fall 2003 - Volume 6, Issue 3

Summer 2003 - Volume 6, Issue 2

Spring 2003 - Volume 6, Issue 1

Winter 2002 - Volume 5, Issue 4

Fall 2002 - Volume 5, Issue 3

Summer 2002 - Volume 5, Issue 2 Spring 2002 - Volume 5, Issue 1 Winter 2001 - Volume 4, Issue 4 Fall 2001 - Volume 4, Issue 3 Summer 2001 - Volume 4, Issue 2 Spring 2001 - Volume 4, Issue 1 Winter 2000 - Volume 3, Issue 4 Fall 2000 - Volume 3, Issue 3

What is the University of California's XLab?

From Syllabus News on July 27, 2004

Berkeley X-Lab to Test Social Science Theories in Biz-World

The University of California at Berkeley Haas School of Business has opened the XLab –- short for Experimental Social Sciences Laboratory –- a high-tech facility to help economists, political scientists, and other social scientists test their theories to find whether they can be applied to real world problems in business and management.

Xlab is a part of the university’s Haas School of Business and uses the latest wireless and notebook computer technology. The facility, which can accommodate up to 40 participants as experimental subjects. consists of 50 battery-powered, wireless laptops that can be easily moved on mobile carts.

In one recent study, XLab director John Morgan, an economist and Haas School associate professor, used the facility to find out what produces greater revenue for sellers when a company is put up for sale - asking for payment in shares of stock, or in cash. The test supported the theory that shares bring in more revenue for the seller in a bidding contest. "This idea comes from the economics literature, but it hasn't really made its way out of the ivory tower," said Morgan. "With XLab, we assess whether the theory works in practice and whether it will have a big strategic payoff in the marketplace."

Read more: 

A Cloudy Crystal Ball
For details go to

I recommend "Technology, Higher Education, and a Very Foggy Crystal Ball," by Brian L. Hawkins, Educause Review, November/December, pp. 65-73.
  1. The New Market Will Be Smaller Than Often Predicted

  2. Residential Campuses Will Still Be Significant (but with eDorms).

  3. An Erosion of Traditional Markets Will Occur.

  4. Institutions Will Not Effectively Participate as Stand-Alone Entities.

  5. There Will Be a Significant Market Shakeout.

  6. New Extra-Institutional Solutions Will Likely Be Required.

  7. The New Marketplace Will Be Associated with New Models of Faculty Motivation.

  8. The Technology Will Transform College and University Operations.

  9. The Necessary Library Infrastructure Will Be Missing.

  10. There Will Be an Increase in Institutional Market Segmentation.

I expect to see more corporations and accounting firms forming their own learning corporations.

Ernst & Young claims to be the first Big 5 accounting firm to create a separate operating company to provide online multimedia training and education  --- 

New York — December 11, 2000 — Intellinex LLC, one of the largest providers of eLearning solutions, has completed the previously announced acquisition of, a leading provider of online PC and business skills training courseware. The acquisition of furthers Intellinex's growth as a one-stop provider of eLearning solutions. offers scalable technology and off-the-shelf courseware including an extensive library of Web-delivered personal computer and business skills training and support courseware and the SmartTrainer(R) content delivery platform, a proprietary 32-bit, browser-based engine.

Including sales from, Intellinex is targeting revenue of over $100 million in the first 12 months of operation. In 1999, had $6.5 million in revenue. Its customers include General Electric, AT&T, Dell Computer, Sun Microsystems, Johnson & Johnson, Dow Chemical and the Internal Revenue Service. Intellinex's customers include Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, Eli Lilly and Ernst & Young.

"The completion of this acquisition strengthens Intellinex's position as a one-stop provider of corporate learning solutions in the rapidly growing global eLearning market," said Intellinex Chairman and CEO Michael Powers. "The acquisition of enhances our product line and our ability to provide the highest quality products and services for our customers."

This was the first acquisition for Intellinex.'s 90 employees at facilities in Elk Grove Village, Ill. and Golden, Colo. have joined Intellinex and are expected to play an important role in supporting its future growth. Terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.

About Intellinex Intellinex is one of the largest providers of customized eLearning solutions that deliver and transform the value of knowledge for companies and their customers. A new stand-alone business of Ernst & Young LLP, Intellinex integrates innovative technology, flexible content and learning services to help clients work smarter. The 500 employees of Intellinex are dedicated to providing eLearning products and services that are second to none to organizations around the world. Visit us at

Intellinex refers to Intellinex LLC, an eLearning venture of Ernst & Young LLP. Ernst & Young refers to the U.S. firm of Ernst & Young LLP and other members of the global Ernst & Young organization.

E&Y eventually sold Intellinex with contracts to continue to use Intellinex for training of E&Y employees ---

A Major Reference:  Higher Education in an Era of Digital Competition Edited by D.E. Hanna (Madison, WI:  Atwood Publishing, IBN 1-891859-32-3, 2000, pp. 73-74

"Reaching Across Boundaries:  The Bryant College-Belarus Connection," Syllabus, October 2001 --- 

Using the Internet’s sphere of influence, one small college is making an impact on the education of students in Belarus, a country that has achieved only limited structural reform since its independence from the former Soviet Union. Despite the country’s economic isolation from the West, Belarusian institutions are reaching across traditional boundaries to forge new collaborative relationships.

Emerging national consciousness in the Newly Independent States (NIS) of Europe has produced dramatic alterations in business, politics, economics, technology, and culture, requiring innovative educational methodologies that better match the needs of these countries in transition. In 1996, in response to these challenges, Bryant College spearheaded the Collaborative Learning at a Distance (CLD) program between Bryant and Belarus. This comprehensive joint venture is an excellent model for using Internet technologies to advance collaborative learning, communication competencies, and policy making.

In implementing the CLD Program, we encountered many philosophical, logistical, and technical challenges. Two distinctly different Belarusian institutions, the Information Technologies Center (ITC) of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and the European Humanities University (EHU), bridged political boundaries to create a close working relationship between a state (government-owned) and non-state (private) institution. The shared enthusiasm of the ITC and EHU for the CLD Program enabled them to overcome their political differences.

A Non-Hierarchical Approach

The program uses a non-hierarchical model, emphasizing reciprocal, interactive learning across national and academic boundaries (see figure). It is based on our belief that learning is a collaborative process and that we learn better when we teach each other and learn in multiple ways. Our Internet-based CLD Program focuses on a small-scale, personalized interactive learning experience, which directly involves the teacher/mentor, student/learner, and all other stakeholders in the process.

This non-heirarchical pedagogical approach is relatively unfamiliar to university educators in the NIS. A history of centralized education and strong governmental control over curricula has resulted in a teaching environment that does not encourage the interactive exchange of ideas between faculty and students. At a time when funding for educational innovation in the NIS has been curtailed, cost-effective, collaborative distance learning projects can help address the problem of dwindling educational resources and compensate for the legacy of 70 years of communism.

Fostering Collaboration

Collaborative projects—including seminars for scientists and engineers who worked for the Soviet defense industry, distance learning courses, and the development of environmental policy initiatives with the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus—have been led by scholars representing diverse academic disciplines. These projects have utilized a wide array of information technologies, including International Virtual Roundtable Discussions via e-mail, seminars on Web site construction, Microsoft NetMeeting conferencing between the U.S. and Belarus, software training and development, and the use of the Internet to promote collaborative learning across diverse cultural and political boundaries. (The entire CLD Program is available at

Using these technologies, faculty, students, and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Belarus have formed strong ties. Faculty exchanges have permitted collaborators to teach at participating universities, conduct research, present training programs, lead trade missions, and deliver papers at international conferences. On-site visits, ranging in length from six days to six months, have played a critical role in our ability to develop trusting relationships and set the CLD Program in motion. We have learned that even sophisticated distance learning technologies cannot replace the power and intensity of human interactions.

Student-centered, collaborative group projects, standard on American campuses, are virtually unheard of in Belarus. The introduction of divergent points of view on controversial topics into classroom discussions is also largely absent. In fact, the educational system of Belarus, including all curricula issues, continues to be tightly controlled by the state. Still, the CLD Program’s use of Internet technologies has had a powerfully democratizing influence on Belarusian learners who have participated in this project.

Technology-enabled interactions between students from different cultures and with different expertise and skill sets have presented challenges. For instance, American students display an almost casual approach to e-mail correspondence, often failing to use proper punctuation or sentence structure. By contrast, Belarusians take particular care in constructing well-written messages, exacerbating the time constraints caused by limited computer laboratory access. Mentors in both countries encouraged collaborative techniques for negotiating these barriers to communication.

History professor David Lux noted that crucial pedagogical issues arose during the initial offering of his course, “The History of American Technology.” Viewing the course as an experiment to field-test technological and pedagogical issues associated with distance learning, Lux observed that cultural differences significantly affected how students approached the course. Belarusian students “proved voracious in their willingness to digest readings and engage in very sophisticated dialogue about the meaning and content of what they were reading.” Yet, Lux concluded that “the collaborative learning, student-project features of the course,” so popular with Bryant students, did not initially “translate meaningfully” into the educational culture of Belarus. With guidance and examples from Bryant faculty and students, however, Belarusian students gradually came to appreciate the value of collaborative projects.

In the course, “Cultures and Economies in Transition in the Post Soviet Era,” Professors Judy Barrett Litoff and Joseph Ilacqua described a high level of energy by students representing diverse countries. Heated debates often ensued as students tackled the difficult challenge of understanding societies in transition. However, their shared experiences as students helped them to negotiate their diverse perspectives. For example, during the Kosovo crisis in the spring of 1999, spirited e-mail exchanges of conflicting student perspectives took place. These discussions demonstrated the value of exploring cross-cultural and comparative political differences in order to better understand complex global problems.

Belarusian students enrolled in “Environmental Policy: Technology, Business & Government,” a course offered by Professor Gaytha Langlois, lacked a basic understanding of the governmental infrastructure necessary to implement well-designed environmental policy initiatives. Even Bryant students were poorly informed about how policies are actualized in the U.S., but in Belarus, the differences in governmental structure and practices further complicated this problem. The process of acquainting Belarusian students with the roles that government and non-governmental organizations play in crafting environmental and business policy has proved to be more cumbersome than expected. Through the use of structured International Virtual Roundtable Discussions, the ability of government and non-governmental organizations to formulate environmental policies became clearer.

Technical Considerations

Time differences, Internet delays, and the technological realities of Belarus presented challenges that limited the use of complex distance learning technologies. Consequently, we designed a relatively inexpensive and modest program. Since access to the Web in Belarus is often slow and unpredictable, we have provided CD-ROM versions of the CLD Web site to Belarusian students. CD-ROMs that are run on computers connected to the Web provide students with full entry to the CLD courses, including the ability to access hyperlinks. In addition, through the cooperation of information technology specialists at Bryant and EHU, a mirror Web site has been established to enhance connectivity.

Because of the seven-hour time difference between the east coast of the United States and Belarus, and because Belarusian students have limited access to e-mail and depend primarily on under-equipped (by U.S. standards) university computer laboratories for electronic communication, synchronous and asynchronous e-mail communication between the United States and Belarus has proved to be more difficult than we had originally anticipated. U.S. students are routinely assigned personal university e-mail addresses, but as a rule Belarusian students are rarely provided one. Even when students are assigned e-mail addresses, however, they often discover that access to university computer laboratories is limited to 2-3 hours a week. To encourage synchronous e-mail communication with students, Bryant faculty have adopted e-mail office hours between 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. in Belarus). By choosing these e-mail office hours, we are able to avoid the busy use of the Internet in Belarus during the mid- and late afternoon.

The most useful and successful distance learning technique that we have introduced is the International Virtual Roundtable Discussion (IVRD) via e-mail. This tool, utilizing the Internet to promote cross-cultural and comparative perspectives, has been incorporated into all CLD courses and has been enthusiastically embraced by learners. The IVRD features structured discussions that avoid the pitfalls of unmoderated chat rooms, yet it encourages learners to share informed opinions about specified topics that often result in lively exchanges of viewpoints.

On occasion, we utilize Microsoft’s NetMeeting program to provide live, two-way, global “see and talk” communication over the Internet. The Microsoft NetMeeting program, standard on new computers, uses simple computer accessories, including microphone, speakers, headset, and small video camera, that cost about $100. This inexpensive technology, although dependent upon a relatively new computer (about $1,000), replaces the high costs of long-distance telephone charges and video conferencing. Although two-way video and audio communications are exciting and hold great promise, they frequently require users to have great patience and perseverance in order to make them work properly.

The rest of the article is at

Accessibility in Distance Education

July 1, 2005 email message from Carolyn Kotlas []

Duke Law & Technology Review (DLTR) 

"The Duke Law & Technology Review (DLTR) is an online legal publication that focuses on the evolving intersection of law and technology. This area of study draws on a number of legal specialties: intellectual property, business law, free speech and privacy, telecommunications, and criminal law -- each of which is undergoing doctrinal and practical changes as a result of new and emerging technologies. DLTR strives to be a 'review' in the classic sense of the word. We examine new developments, synthesize them around larger theoretical issues, and critically examine the implications. We also review and consolidate recent cases, proposed bills, and administrative policies."

"However, DLTR is unique among its sister journals at Duke, and indeed among all law journals. Unlike traditional journals, which focus primarily on lengthy scholarly articles, DLTR focuses on short, direct, and accessible pieces, called issue briefs or 'iBriefs.' In fact, the goal of an iBrief is to provide cutting edge legal insight both to lawyers and to non-legal professionals. In addition, DLTR strives to be the first legal publication to address breaking issues. To that end, we publish on the first and fifteenth of every month during the school year (September until April) and less frequently during the summer."

Duke Law & Technology Review is available free of charge as an Open Access journal on the Internet.

Bob Jensen's threads on the future of education technology and distance learning are at

Is your distance site operating within the law in terms of access by disabled students?
Schools must demonstrate progress toward compliance.

Accessibility in Distance Education A Resource for Faculty in Online Teaching --- 

Common Questions
What does the word "accessibility" mean? (What is Accessibility?)

What disability laws should I know about if I teach online? (Legal Issues)

What do I need to consider if I have a student with a disability in my online course? (Understanding Disabilities)