At the Princeton-Fung Global Forum that took place this April, where roughly 300 college administrators, professors, and education experts primarily from the United States and Europe gathered to discuss the future of higher education, online and blended learning was a hot topic of discussion. The Princeton University News, in their article ‘MOOC World’, covered highlights from the second day of the event, which included panels on critical issues such as access, online education, and “How to Think About Universities in the Global Age”:
• According to Daphne Koller, a co-founder of Coursera, a MOOC (massive open online course) provider, and a professor at Stanford University, the number of higher education students worldwide is expected to grow from 97 million in 2000 to 262 million in 2025, a demand that can’t be met under current models.
• In the face of such growth—and a general shrinkage in university budgets—most participants agreed that new technologies will play a significant role in reducing education costs, but the degree to which they should be adopted was a subject of debate.
• Vincent Berger, a special adviser on higher education and research to French president François Hollande, stated that he believes that fully online courses such as MOOCs will not replace universities. “You will always need human transmission” of knowledge, he said.
• Similarly, William Lawton, director of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, said that now that the initial hype over MOOCs has passed, he hopes the conversation can turn to how online courses, especially ones that blend in-person teaching with online technology, can improve higher education. “The future is basically blended,” he asserted.
In the world of language education, many universities have already seen the benefits of combining face-to-face instruction with online learning. While some colleges offer online resources for students to use on an as-needed basis to supplement traditional language classes, others have adopted blended-learning models that integrate comprehensive tools such as Rosetta Stone® solutions into their curriculum. Under the blended-learning model, students study vocabulary and grammar using online tools and instruction, allowing language instructors to focus class time on providing personalized assistance with speaking or clarifying difficult concepts.
Do you think that the future of language education is blended?