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The Marc Parry Chronicle article titled Will Technology Kill the Academic Calendar? is intended to be provocative and gain attention but the sub-title Online, semesters give way to students who set their own schedules really captures the true essence of the article.
Parry is reporting on the Jefferson Community & Technical College program, called Learn Anytime which allows students to register and start classes at any time. Flexible enrollment is not new to distance education so there is significant precedent for this model but what is unique is paying an instructor by the head count.
Learn Anytime professors aren’t compensated per class. They’re compensated per student—$65 a head. By taking advantage of that system and adding other teaching gigs, Mr. Smith earns an annual paycheck that tenured professors might envy: $120,000.
The biggest concern traditional face2face and online educators have with this model is that it lacks the collaborative or social aspect of learning. Another criticism from traditional educators is that this form of instruction does not allow student to get a deep understanding of the content. Both these criticisms assume the traditional class environment is where learning takes place and I am glad to see initiatives like this that are proving this “sacred cow” of academia wrong.
I have been blogging in many different locations since the late 90’s — first in EDPY 435 and 535 courses and then later in EDIT 435, 535 and 537 courses and more recently at learn.lethbridgecollege.net and easierway.ca.
This is the first time that I have created a blog to focus just on my professional interest in learning and the first time that I have registered and used my name to identify the site.