Baker's Guide to Christian Online Learning

News & Views from
Sarah Askins

Online Education: Changing the Classroom Dynamic

For many high school students, school is a series of lectures taking place in various classrooms on campus. After school, students muddle through homework and the cycle repeats. Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, saw the need to question the fundamental practices of the education system. Why are students being lectured in the classroom and doing the real work of learning in their homework? According to an article in The Bangor Daily News, Khan Academy offers teachers a series of videos and lectures for the students to watch as homework assignments which allows class time to be used for questions, problem solving, and unique projects.

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Sarah Askins

Open Sourcing Textbooks

For each college student, textbook costs garner a sizable portion of education related expenses. Whether the student enrolls in an online learning courses or a traditional classroom environment, each student must acquire the textbook to complete the course successfully. Decreases in financial aide and other funding may affect how many students can afford their textbooks which could lead to a decline in students' success in the classroom. According to a case study conducted by John Hilton III and David Wiley entitled Open Access Textbooks and Financial Sustainability:A Case Study of Flat World Knowledge, Hilton and Wiley researched this open source textbook company in its beta phase to see if students would welcome open source e-textbooks and if this model could be sustained.

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Sarah Askins

E-Textbooks Could Be Integrated with Blackboard

With more textbooks offering an e-version of the book, college students had to create separate user names and passwords to access the information. This may no longer be necessary. In a recent announcement, the online learning platform giant Blackboard has partnered with several college textbook publishers. This collaboration will allow Blackboard to offer a wider range of services for its learning management system. According to an article in The Chronicle for Higher Education, Blackboard's new partnership allows textbook companies to offer their e-textbooks through Blackboard.

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Sarah Askins

Google Plus: Helping Professors Connect with Students

Last week, Google announced the beta version of its new social networking site, Google Plus. For those who may not be familiar with Google Plus, this new social media site allows users to share information within their social circles rather than the entire group of contacts. This limited sharing feature as some professors excited about the possibilities Google Plus has for education. According to an article in The Chronicle for Higher Education, professors see Google Plus as a potential new tool for connecting with their students in the classroom.

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Jason D. Baker

Blackboard Purchased by Private Equity Firm

The big news of the day is that Blackboard, arguably the Microsoft of learning management systems, has been purchased by private equity firm Providence Equity Partners for $1.64 billion.


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