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Taking college classes online this fall? Heres how students can save a lot of money Thats Rich! –

Posted: July 2, 2020 at 7:50 pm

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CLEVELAND, Ohio If the coronavirus has you staying at home to take classes online this fall instead of heading to a campus setting somewhere, heres a pennywise thing to consider explore enrolling at a lower-cost school and transferring those credits later to your regular college or university.

The difference could be thousands of dollars.

I first discovered the cost savings by accident long ago after taking a job in Cleveland with a few credits to go at Ohio State. I ended up paying Cuyahoga Community College $23.50 a credit hour on the old quarter system, about half the going rate at the time at Ohio State. But the courses counted the same, transferred just fine, and I graduated a short time later from OSU.

More has changed than the rising cost of education since the late 1980s. Its easier than ever to identify what classes will transfer and, with expanded online options, youre not even restricted to nearby schools.

This is something that could be the right fit for both existing college students, or recent high school graduates who may be altering what had been their plans to move away to school this fall.

At the very least, its worth considering.

A: Thousands of dollars for a full-time student, hundreds on an individual class.

A 2019 report from the Ohio Department of Higher Education found that for the previous year, 51,000 Ohio students saved $70.7 million by transferring work from lower-cost schools to more expensive institutions.

Scaling that down to an individual student, the price difference between Ohios public universities and its two-year colleges averages close to $2,600 a semester.

The average tuition and fees (not counting room and board) was $4,975 a semester at the main campuses for state universities this past school year, according to the Department of Higher Education. At Ohios two-year colleges, the average was less than half that - $2,369 a semester for a full-time student.

Two-year schools in the Greater Cleveland area are among the least expensive in the state, in part because of local property taxes that help pay the bill.

For example, taking 15 credit hours at Cuyahoga Community College would cost $1,788 this fall in tuition and base fees for county residents, unchanged from this past school year, or a little higher for those outside the county. A Kent State freshman on KSUs main campus would pay close to $5,800 for the same number of classes.

But its worth shopping around to see if there are any special incentives. For example, Cleveland State is offering incoming freshman a 2-for-1 deal: complete the fall semester with at least a 2.75 grade point average and attend spring semester tuition-free after other financial aid is applied.

Tuition and fees for full-time students at Ohios public two-year colleges average about $2,600 less than attending classes on the main campuses for the public universities, according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education.Rich Exner,

A: Yes. Its embedded in Ohios public education system, and a lot of private schools follow similar acceptance policies on transfer credits.

Sean Broghammer, associate vice president for enrollment management and admissions at Kent State, said he does believe there is a value in an on-campus experience, from developing lasting career-driven relationships with professors to learning from peers and experiencing campus life. But being on campus all the time is not for every student, and that could be more so the case this fall because of COVID-19.

Our biggest concern is that we want students to complete. We want students to make progress. If they want to take a semester off, we want to help them ensure the course they are going to complete will transfer back to Kent, Broghammer said. Were seeing a decline in the traditional student population. I think transfer is a way more students will complete their college degrees.

Back in 1989, Ohio started what is called a transfer module, so students would know exactly what credits will transfer between public schools in the state, including both two-year and four-year schools, explained Paula Compton, associate vice chancellor for articulation and transfer at the Department of Higher Education.

It was a combination of the state legislature passing some legislation for better cooperation. Then we had colleges and college presidents thinking this was important, Compton said.

Compton said more than 1,000 faculty currently work on the program to help certify that courses are equivalent from one school to the next.

In getting started, Compton suggested two websites that can help a student quickly determine what classes will qualify for transfer credit, the states own website at and, which provides details for schools in many states.

On the Ohio system, if youre searching for what classes will transfer for what credit between institutions, navigate to the Transfer Guarantee Reporting System or the Transfer College Credit pages with this direct link. By choosing the course equivalency comparison option, you can see where the same courses are offered and what they are called from school to school.

For example, macroeconomics ENCM 151 at Lorain County Community College is equivalent to ECON2030 at Bowling Green State University.

The transferology site offers a nifty option to enter a class requirement from your regular school to see a list of other schools with matching classes eligible for transfer. For instance, if youre looking for a class that will count as Introduction to Economics at the University of Akron, the search returns 45 options just among Ohio schools. This site requires a free registration.

In both cases, however, its a good idea for current students to talk to their advisers. You dont want to take a class that doesnt end up counting fully. For instance, even if a class transfers as credit, there might be other limits, such as the number of classes taken elsewhere that can be counted toward a major or minor.

Most four-year universities are going to have transfer credit guides, Kent States Broghammer said.

A. No. My two sons each took some community college classes in the summers while they were completing their degrees at Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan universities.

For one, it worked to take online classes at Cuyahoga Community College. The price was right. The class options fit. And it was easy to stop by the school for enrollment questions or to pick up required materials at the bookstore. The credits transferred without a hitch.

For the other, the class he wanted wasnt offered in the area. But the online search tools identified Belmont College, a two-year state school near St. Clairsville, 135 miles away.

He double-checked with BG to make sure the course would fulfill his requirement, enrolled remotely and took the class online. Everything worked out smoothly, and he is yet to walk through the doors at Belmont College.

Its going to be easier to find general education requirements elsewhere, such as typical entry level courses. But it is possible to take care of some upper level requirements as well.

A: Yes it can. Some recent high school graduates may be thinking about putting off their college plans a year; call it a coronavirus-related gap year.

For those students, another idea to consider may be taking classes online at home through a community college and then going away to campus next year as an incoming sophomore, said Jack Hershey, president of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges.

An online plan this semester eliminates at least some uncertainty, Hershey said. Its the safest way to make sure you stay on track this fall. We cant predict what this virus is going to do this fall.

You do gain something from being in a physical environment while learning, especially if you live at a campus environment. But if you are not going to get there this fall, community college is an option.

The dollar savings can be as much as a typical student normally borrows for a year.

A: Sometime this summer.

We have an understanding that people are going to be making late decisions this year. I think you have plenty of time if youre thinking about this in the next month or so, Hershey said. Every community college is open enrollment. You dont have to go through SATs and things like that.

Angela Johnson, vice president of enrollment management at Cuyahoga Community College, said students can enroll right up to the start of classes on Aug. 24. But she said its a good idea not to wait to the last minute, adding that Tri-C does not charge an application fee.

If everyone waits until the last minute, it can be busy, Johnson said. We have quite a few students right now who are looking at this opportunity, pre-transfer conversations, the transient confirmations.

Transient is the college term for a student who is staying enrolled at another school say Ohio State but taking classes temporarily elsewhere, such as Tri-C. The procedures are a little different.

For example, Johnson said, financial aid such as student loans for transient students must be coordinated under agreements with the school of permanent enrollment.

A: There will be more options than before for online.

Traditional online education might not be for everyone. Typically, it has meant staying focused on assignments and checking in online for the next requirements.

But a lot has changed, and those changes are being accelerated this summer in preparation for the first fall semester of the COVID-19 era.

There will be more offerings at many schools for students to meet as a class online with the instructors, rather than working as much on their own or just watching recorded lectures.

Its a nod to the traditional learning environment. Kent States Broghammer said professors were consulted about what would work best for individual classes: in-person, remote or a hybrid of the two and for remote whether there would be live lectures.

At least 60% of our traditional in-person courses will be taught remotely, Broghammer said. Our classroom space creates a challenge for social distancing, adding that any course with at least 50 students will be taught remotely.

Hershey made the pitch that community colleges are especially experienced with online education: Weve been doing it for years. We had to do it for an adult population who may have had kids at home who could not come to campus three days a week.

A: Predictions are for higher community college enrollment statewide.

Typically during economic downturns, enrollments at community colleges go up. Reasons could involve people seeking new job skills, having more time to take classes, or searching out lower-cost alternatives to four-year schools.

As the country was coming out of the Great Recession, community college enrollment in Ohio in 2010 increased to an all-time high for full- or part-time students of 211,260.

Then, as the economy recovered, enrollment declined 19% to 170,945 by 2015 returning to about where it was at ahead of the recession in fall 2007. Four-year schools didnt see the same swings, with enrollment slipping off just 2% from 2010 to 2015, according to state data.

Tri-Cs Johnson said because of the late-enrolling nature of community college students, especially those looking for transfer credit, its very difficult to predict whether enrollment will spike this fall.

Statewide, however, Hershey, from the community college association, said evidence is developing that enrollment will be up at the two-year schools.

We have seen it in the summer already, Hershey said. We have also seen very late-breaking decisions by families and students.

Thats another reason it makes sense for students to begin exploring their options now, especially in confirming with colleges what classes will transfer and count toward degree requirements if they are already enrolled elsewhere, even if the ultimate decision will come later this summer.

Rich Exner, data analysis editor, writes cleveland.coms and The Plain Dealers personal finance column - Thats Rich! Follow on Twitter @RichExner. See other data-related stories at

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Taking college classes online this fall? Heres how students can save a lot of money Thats Rich! -

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July 2nd, 2020 at 7:50 pm

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Rapid deployment of smartphone-based augmented reality tools for field and online education in structural biology. – Physician’s Weekly

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Structural biology education commonly employs molecular visualization software, such as PyMol, RasMol, and VMD, to allow students to appreciate structure-function relationships in biomolecules. In on-ground, classroom-based education, these programs are commonly used on University-owned devices with software preinstalled. Remote education typically involves the use of student-owned devices, which complicates the use of such software, owing to the fact that (a) student devices have differing configurations (e.g., Windows vs MacOS) and processing power, and (b) not all student devices are suitable for use with such software. Smartphones are near-ubiquitous devices, with smartphone ownership exceeding personal computer ownership, according to a recent survey. Here, we show the use of a smartphone-based augmented reality app, Augment, in a structural biology classroom exercise, which students installed independently without IT support. Post-lab attitudinal survey results indicate positive student experiences with this app. Based on our experiences, we suggest that smartphone-based molecular visualization software, such as that used in this exercise, is a powerful educational tool that is particularly well-suited for use in remote education. 2020 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


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Rapid deployment of smartphone-based augmented reality tools for field and online education in structural biology. - Physician's Weekly

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Will COVID-19 Save Higher Education? – Forbes

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Student in class from home during lockdown

When the pandemic hit hard in March, virtually all U.S. universities switched to online education in a matter of weeks. With no time to prepare, instructors delivered lectures via videoconference, just as they would have face-to-face. Unsurprisingly, results were mixed, with many students and parents concluding that online courses arent worth the price of tuition. With the pandemic still raging, faculty are working hard to prepare for another semester of online education.

Were missing the forest for the trees. The real challenge is that the value propositions of most universities have been deteriorating for years. Universities have become too expensive leading to crushing debt burdens for many. Were not providing access to higher education at the necessary scale. The world has changed but universities havent adapted nearly enough.

Paving cowpaths

In 1990, Dr. Michael Hammer launched a management revolution with an article in Harvard Business Review, aptly titled Reengineering Work: Dont Automate, Obliterate.

Frustrated by the disappointing returns that companies were getting on large tech investments, Dr. Hammer wrote: It is time to stop paving the cow paths. Instead of embedding outdated processes in silicon and software, we should obliterate them and start over. We should reengineer our businesses: use the power of modern information technology to radically redesign our business processes in order to achieve dramatic improvements in their performance.

Universities have endured in the same form for centuries - professors lecturing from the front of a room to students sitting behind desks. Courses follow a standard, linear structure, meeting each week with assignments in between. While many students live in a digital world, not much has changed other than PowerPoint slides replacing blackboards and chalk.Sure, some universities have implemented learning management systems like Canvas, but these are used primarily to share syllabi and disseminate grades. The essential experience hasnt changed.

Software thinking

Think of a university like you would Netflix, offering a curated and personalized catalog of online (and offline) courses in a variety of fields. Online courses can be offered live or on-demand and can be designed to include varying degrees of interaction with the instructor. Recorded content can be released on a schedule or all at once. Consider the possibilities.

Many courseslike a class on Shakespeare or Introductory Accountingdont require new content for years on end. A class recorded once and offered multiple times reduces instructional costs while increasing convenience for students. Yet, we teach the same class anew every semester. We rarely offer entire courses on demand. In the software world, reuse is a virtue. In education, its an afterthought.

Software codifies and scales knowhow. At the 10-campus University of California, we do not leverage scale; instead each campus operates independently. Some introductory classes are taught dozens of times a year system-wide, and the university pays an instructor for each offering. In the physical world, this made sense. In software, where the biggest advantages include zero marginal cost and no capacity limits, this makes little sense.

Software companies adopt a modular and agile approach to product development. A look under the hood reveals that standard modules are sourced from vendors and accessed by APIs. Similarly, universities should build offerings from existing courseware when appropriate. In many foundational subjects, excellent online courses exist, but offering these to students disrupts a universitys business model. Just as streaming services offer on-demand experiences with world-class performers, a university could offer classes with the best professors. Furthermore, when new capabilities (like machine learning) are widely needed but the talent to teach them is scarce, this approach will facilitate widespread skills development.

Digital technologies have democratized content creation. Some of the most valuable software systems were built by open source communities. Individual creators have contributed to the store of knowledge through Wikipedia and platforms like YouTube in diverse domains. Yet, universities rely on proprietary lecture content developed by their own faculty.

Just like we view behind the scenes interviews with actors and directors during a Netflix show, online courses can include deeper discussions with experts, offer visualizations and simulations of scientific phenomena using virtual reality, and arrange augmented reality visits to faraway geographies. Wouldnt it be fun and engaging to chat with a tour guide in France as you visit the Louvre for a class in conversational French? Or videoconference with a Walmart executive for a class on logistics? Thinking like a software company encourages course content to be co-created by experts and non-experts.

Do online courses compare in quality?

Theres often an assumption that in-person teaching is better. Certainly, the best instructors, especially those who truly inspire their students, are very valuable but also rare. Like any other population, professor quality varies. Think back to your time at university.

Like programmers do while writing and reviewing code, professors can try multiple takes in recorded segments. In contrast, there are no do-overs in live classes. Theres a reason why studio recordings have higher fidelity than live performances.

Online classes allow for new course designs. Previously, a professor had no choice but to give the traditional lecture. As the success of Khan Academy has shown, it can be more effective to assign the lectures as homework and spend class time working on problem sets. Features like breakout rooms on videoconferencing services make it easy for professors to work collaboratively in these virtual workspaces with students.

In the consumer software world, user experience is critical. Student engagement has been a longstanding challenge, one that is exacerbated by online delivery. Among other things, instructional design practices require content to be offered in bite-sized segments with frequent assignments and quizzes and hooks into the next module. Theres a reason that TED talks are 18 minutes long and drama series have cliffhangers.

In some settings, in-person interactions with professors and fellow students can be better online. In practice, classroom discussions are dominated by the outspoken few. Students who speak English as a second language tend to participate less. Videoconferencing software democratizes the classroom, presenting students equally on an instructors screen, making it easier to draw in students.

Reinventing higher education

It starts with how we see ourselves. Universities are platforms that bring together students and professors. Today, our platform is being digitized and creating new opportunities, but we fail to see ourselves as software platform enterprises.

Companies like Apple, Alphabet, and Netflix have built successful software businesses by operating platforms where they sell their products and services to customers, while also integrating external suppliers.

Universities are closed systems, operating like traditional vertical industry businesses, offering courses only by faculty in their employ. Their structure reflects the design of the product it once was rather than the software business it can be today.

While the economics of digital production and delivery are compelling, I am not making a unilateral argument for online education. Courses in different disciplines have different teaching requirements. Universities serve different student segments with varying preferences and needs. Still, a strong case can be made that universities should more fully integrate this new modality.

We must reinvent education as a software enterprise, employing platform strategies and harnessing software industry practices like open source, modular, and agile development. Doing so will unleash rapid innovation allowing universities to deliver on the promise of higher education.

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There’s fear that online education might create ‘digital divide’, says Manish Sisodia – Catch News

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Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday said that there is a "fear that online education might create a digital divide," and added that the Delhi government will implement a model of education in which "reach out and connect" will be the focus.

With an emphasis on "learning with human feel," Sisodia said that the Delhi government has made a model of education.

"Digital technology to complement the efforts of teachers in reaching out to every child and assist them in learning. We are following the principle that a 'Digital Divide' should not come in the way of children's access to learning opportunities," Sisodia said.

The core of the approach is outreach and connect between teachers and students, he noted. Sisodia said that teachers will reach out to students through WhatsApp or regular phone calls. They will give them assignments and take regular feedback.

He shared that students from KG to Class 10 will receive daily exercise and feedback from class teachers through WhatsApp, while teachers will connect through a regular phone with those who do not have WhatsApp or smartphone.

On the other hand, students of Classes 11 and 12 will attend live online classes to be conducted by Delhi governments teachers.

For the same, follow up will be done by the teachers through phone call or WhatsApp to clear their doubts.

Sisodia said that the Delhi government will ensure that students do not lose out on academics due to COVID-19.


Also Read: CBSE Board 2020 Pending Exams Update: Class 10th exams cancelled, 12th optional

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There's fear that online education might create 'digital divide', says Manish Sisodia - Catch News

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When Classes Move Online, Reduce Tuition – Macalester College The Mac Weekly

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Nick Velikonja, Contributing Writer July 2, 2020

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Macalesters online classes were rough. For the online portion of the semester, Id wake up five minutes before my zoom lecture, scramble to make coffee and inevitably end up looking at another tab while the professor spoke. This happened in classes that had been my favorites before distance learning, not to mention the droll sterility of asynchronous instruction and the disheartening shredding of syllabuses. Students and professors alike trudged through the second half of the semester in it to finish it.

Dreading another year of online class, I have been following the administrations emails closely for definitive signs one way or another: will we be online or in-person? The question felt crucial, and yet it always seemed like the administration did not want to answer, wanted to reserve a definitive statement until we knew all the information. Unfortunately, the public health situation is constantly changing. No one knows the full picture.

While they took months to reach a decision, students are expected to decide whether or not to attend in the next 15 days. But Macalester is more focused on guaranteeing their best efforts to keep the community physically together. As we have seen from the recent student letter to the administration, this is not the students prime concern.

By committing to in-person instruction, Macalester is trying to side-step the debate around whether the inevitable transition to online education should cost as much as in-person education.

My argument is that this is not a question to be side-stepped. It is key to Macalesters consistent platform of equity and student participation that the administration addresses the imposing figure they are prepared to charge for online learning. Macalester cant claim to be attending to student needs with their in-person policy while leveling the business end of the stick at students. An open discussion about online education pricing is imperative for students to retain their confidence in college leadership.

Meanwhile, Macalesters public discussion is closer to how will we as a community build a new campus with social distancing?

The answer is that we wont.

Coronavirus wave 2 is coming and it will be more severe than the first.

For those who have heard about a second wave, but do not know the details, the following broadly explains why the second wave of coronavirus will be much worse than the first.

Virus deaths are seasonal, because a) most people have weaker immune systems in colder weather and b) there is a human behavioral change towards more time inside, near one another. In Minnesota particularly, this seasonality will be pronounced, as winter here is long and deep.

In addition to the viruss seasonal danger, during the second wave, the novel coronavirus no longer has to spread geographically. Before, rural regions, and cities and states that took more precautions, were protected by the time it took for the virus to reach those communities. Because the virus has had time to spread, seeds of the first wave will be present in each community, essentially resuming coronavirus infections and deaths everywhere at once, instead of only in the highest-density regions.

With cases reaching new highs in the U.S. before the inevitable winter wave, the second wave will be devastating. By not social distancing, Americans contracting and passing along coronavirus are allowing the coronavirus to stay around in high levels in our population until the fall. Higher case numbers leading into the fall will directly result in more deaths in the winter.

Ethically, Macalester should not contribute to this effect. But even while the college moves forward with in-person instruction, they will be forced to shutter by the Minnesota Department of Health by the second modules beginning.

Looking at the above graph, seasonal effects will start at the very latest in November. Module two is set to begin on October 28. It is hard to see Macalester continuing in-person learning after this date. In fact, the November estimate assumes that case count isnt rising in those months prior to the start of seasonal virus peaking. Given rising cases around the country, and flat cases in Minnesota, the overwhelming likelihood is that three if not four of the modules will need to be completed online. Macalester administration must know all of this information, and yet they propose prices reflective of an in-person year of college. Three quarters of a year online is not an in-person education, and the price tag needs to reflect that.

So why has Macalester indicated it will do in-person classes in the fall?

In the financial year 2020, the college was set to bring in $118 million, and spend $115 million. However, these numbers will change in the face of coronavirus.

The college stands to lose money if classes go online.

This is what the fuss is about. Macalesters operating budget is based on in-person learning, and they stand to lose out if that model is disrupted.

The budget breakdown here is more or less: $71 million from student tuition, $38 million from the colleges endowment and $7 million from donors. This is subject to change in two major ways: student enrollment and room & board. If Macalester does go online, the financial draw from room and board is out completely, and enrollment could drop up to 10 percent. Combined, this results in (5.4 + 16.5) million = $22 million in losses this year alone.

The expense breakdown is more or less: the college spends $74 million on employee salaries, $29 million on program expenses and $13 million on debt servicing.

What can be cut here to afford reduced online tuition?

Start with program expenses, which are operating expenses across Macalesters departments. These expenses are the things that make a liberal arts institution what it is: speaker fees, supplies, professional development, etc. Certainly, a sizable portion of program expenses can be voided in the event of online class, as can the colleges financial commitment to study abroad (which has already been canceled for fall, and likely will be for spring). Together, the program, study abroad and reserve cash columns total more than $18 million in savings, assuming both that the college must retain 30 percent or $4 million worth of program expenses and that all study abroad money can be repurposed. This does not quite account for the $21 million left on the expense sheet for this coming year were the college to go online.

Financial grievances acknowledged, Macalester is a wealthy institution, worth over $1 billion with an endowment of $775 million as of 2019, and dont forget that the benchmark S&P 500 index has risen 11 percent since the publication of the last audited financial report in which this value for the colleges actively managed endowment is declared.

Indeed, this expense report is not the whole story. Macalester has other financial sources from which to draw to cover this years deficit. The college has a lot of assets that are non-yearly, which I was able to locate in their audited financial report, including upwards of $12 million in cash, and $44 million in short term investments expiring before May 31, 2020. The fact is, Macalester will likely run a loss this year, and they can afford to.

Changing products and costs in the case of a move to online learning.

In all likelihood, additional costs of moving classes online, like an institutional zoom subscription are a drop in the budget ocean. The real costs are the money that they cannot pull in without a physical presence. Dining and residence are two of the largest revenue streams for colleges across the country, which Ive always found a little brutal, given underclassmen cannot opt out of these highly profitable programs.

Macalester has not publicly considered a tuition reduction, despite students complaints at other colleges around the country and recently at Macalester that the online experience is not what they paid for. In fact, data from a recent writeup from Northeastern, which offers a fully online undergraduate degree, point to an uncertainty around online learning, and how it will be received by employers. It is still a question as to whether students learn as well in person as they do online.


For Macalester, which heavily advertises their campus community in student recruitment, this contrast is stark. The close-knit community and immersive learning experience which students come to the school for is at risk in the coming year. Any student who experienced this shift last semester knows that online instruction is not the same. Neither is online education sold at the same price as in-person education. Smaller universities charge about 40 percent less in tuition for online learning than they do for in-person education.

Northeastern University: 13k/sem vs 8k/sem

Bellevue University: 10k/sem vs 6.3k/sem

(both Northeastern and Bellevue are around 10k undergraduate enrollment. Macalester-size liberal arts colleges dont offer online degrees.)

While larger institutions charge up to 60 percent less for their online courses:

U of M in person: 14k/sem vs 5k/sem online

University of Southern New Hampshire in person: 25k/sem vs 5k/sem online

So far, the online model just isnt valued the same as in-person education, and Macalester, though a non-profit, is still a business. In-person education is their product. With a lower-quality product, students deserve to pay a lower price, or enrollment (read: demand) will retreat. And while students looking to continue or finish their degrees will likely stay in larger numbers, interest in gap years is up to 40 percent for recently-graduated high school seniors. Students are legitimately considering what they could do with their time, instead of paying an average of 26k for a year of online courses.

The case for tuition reduction

Many students paying for college may sour at the price tag of their newly Zoom-based education, and instead opt to defer or take a leave of absence. The costs of losing students in 2020 are not limited to this years balance sheet. If a significant number among the class of 24 defer as is expected, the class will be small for all four years, potentially losing the college $20 million about $5 million per class year.

It is a difficult decision and a shame that Macalester has squeezed the timescale to make this decision so thin.

To increase enrollment, I suggest the college level a 30 percent tuition cut after financial aid. So for a student who pays ten thousand dollars per year to attend Macalester, they would pay seven thousand after the cut. If instruction is carried out online for three out of four modules, this would reflect a 40 percent tuition cut for each online module, consistent with pricing at other institutions that offer online instruction.

This may not even be that bad for Macalester financially. Students may decide against a gap year of social distancing with their parents basement in favor of college with fair tuition. This would cost Macalester $15 million in the financial year of 2020. Macalester could take out a bond to afford this cut, or resume campaigning with wealthy donors as they often do to fund one-time projects like the $100 million Mac Moments campaign. Not only would a tuition reduction show that Macalester sees and cares about their students, but it might be palatable with up to $20 million in enrollment loss on the line.

Think of it as an investment in the students, in equitable education. A tuition cut in the interest of fairness would stand outside of students and their families experiencing the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, and students, staff and professors poised to risk their health in the midst of a global pandemic. Dr. Rivera, Karine Moe, Donna Lee and David Wheaton, what more evidence do you need to commit to fair tuition reduction for online education?


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New app by Malayalis to make online education seamless – The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

KOCHI:Though online classes are going on in full swing in the state, many students and teachers are still struggling to cope with the new system. To address these challenges, Transstream, a Bengaluru-based company envisioned by the management team of TransformIT Solutions and Zocio, has come up with an online educational solution that helps students and teachers transition from a traditional classroom to the virtual classroom easily. The educational solution is an integrated platform that can be accessed both offline and online by the students. Malayalis Aparna Viswanathan and Prasanth Konoth, who have been in the training space for more than a decade, are behind this concept.

While most educational institutions use applications like Google or Zoom to conduct online classes, some schools are even dependent on WhatsApp to impart lessons to their children. The teachers are under a lot of stress as they need to be technically adept to prepare for each class and most often students find it difficult to attend the classes on time due to bad connectivity or technical glitches. Through Transstream, this teaching process gets relaxed.

The application has three elements. First, a Learning Management System or the LMS. Second, an online teaching tool that connects teachers and students virtually and the third component being content for teachers which is provided in audio, video and text format s with a database of more than a lakh assessments. This helps teachers reduce the stress. Teachers can either conduct classes online or record their lectures which are uploaded to the LMS.

Students can access the LMS any time and study at a comfortable pace. This reduces the pressure of tuitions, says Prasanth Konoth, director, Transstream. Our LMS can be accessed by the students on the web as well as ones mobile phone (android and iOS) platforms. As the system provides more than a lakh assessments, creating questions and conducting regular tests become easy for the teachers. The platform is customised in tune with the respective educational institutions name, he adds.

The main issue students are now facing is bandwidth and connectivity. To address the same, our platform gives the advantage of downloading the content and storing it on the app whenever the students has access to internet and learn at his or her pace which takes away the worry of having constant connectivity. The emotional and mental stress on a child also reduces significantly, which, as a teacher, I am more concerned about, says Aparna Viswanathan, director of operations at Transstream.

The app is now operational across schools, colleges and other coaching/training institutes in more than five states. More than eight schools in Kerala are using the platform on a trial basis. The creators believe using the application will make a teachers more comfortable as they take less time for class preparation and can retain their personal teaching style. The platform offers security and hence teachers find it much more comfortable since the classes can be accessed only by the students of the respective school, adds Aparna.

The Transstream team plans to keep adding features to make the software more effective. Work is afoot to soon integrate artificial intelligence into the solution. Most of the schools have invested time, money and effort to put systems in place to make sure learning process is not affected majorly. We believe most of the schools will adhere to either online or hybrid model this academic year. We are also trying to address the issue of children being left out of the learning curve due to unavailability of seamless connectivity through this solution, says Aparna. The team is launching their services in the schools in West Asian countries soon.

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New app by Malayalis to make online education seamless - The New Indian Express

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Keiser Universitys Online Division Wins Blackboard Catalyst Award – Keiser University

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Members of Keiser Universitys Online Division have been named winners of the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Training and Professional Development.

While recognizing the opportunities presented by distance learning, the group divided into teams to develop a dynamic program geared for remote learning. The training platform became even more valuable for Keiser University campuses during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it presented a variety of tools designed to enrich the learning experience including adaptive learning software, video production programs, Keiser Live lecture technology, and more.

In this time of uncertainty, an entire nation of college students was transitioned to online learning rapidly and that is why we feel so honored to be recognized with the Blackboard Catalyst Award for our online delivery system and our commitment to student success, said Keiser University Chancellor Dr. Arthur Keiser. As an early adopter of online degree offerings, we were positioned to move swiftly during the pandemic, accommodating our student body and employees seamlessly due to the leadership, compassion and innovation of our online education team led by Associate Vice Chancellor Sherry Olsen.

With significant measures of achievement for both distance and traditional learning being student retention, engagement, and realization of performance goals, the effort proved successful as was evidenced by enrollment, student survey responses, and feedback.

I am extremely proud of the Instructional Design, Faculty Training, and Dean teams for providing this constant training and development. They consistently exhibit our students first philosophy as they ensure our faculty are well trained, have peer support, and are provided with well-developed courses. When faculty are well trained and engaged, students are motivated to do well and stay in school. Retention of online faculty is high for Keiser University due to providing robust training and professional development opportunities with online and face to face faculty members, said Associate Vice Chancellor Sherry Olsen.

Founded in 2005, the annual Catalyst Awards recognize and honor innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, where millions of educators and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology. Winners are selected by a cross-functional team of Blackboard experts.

Were pleased to honor this years Blackboard Catalyst Award winners for their commitment to improving the educational experience for all learners through EdTech and sharing these insights with the broader community, said Lee Blakemore,Chief Client Officer and President, Global Markets at Blackboard. Were proud to partner with institutions that are innovating to advance student success.

The Keiser University teams will also be announced alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld 2020, Blackboards annual user conference to be held virtually July 21 and 22. Blackboard is the leading provider of learner success-focused technology solutions and services. Its product portfolio is unmatched in the marketplace, spanning teaching and learning, analytics, community engagement, and student services. For more information on the Blackboard Catalyst Awards, please visit

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Keiser Universitys Online Division Wins Blackboard Catalyst Award - Keiser University

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The Future Of Online Education: An Interview With Adam Brimo, CEO of OpenLearning Limited (ASX: OLL) – Simply Wall St

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We recently interviewed Adam Brimo, CEO of OpenLearning Limited (ASX: OLL). Based in Australia, OpenLearning, together with its subsidiaries, provides a platform to education providers for the delivery of online education courses. Mr. Brimo co-founded OpenLearning in 2012. We appreciate the time taken by him to answer our questions and would like to thank him for sharing his thoughts.

Simply Wall St: What changes have you seen in your industry since you co-founded OpenLearning in 2012 and what emerging trends are you most excited about?

Adam Brimo: The world has changed significantly since OpenLearning launched in 2012. Online education has gone from a nice to have to an indispensable segment of the higher education sector, and now, due to COVID-19, it is the primary mode of education delivery around the world.

However, the quality of most online education around the world is low and the outcomes dont always match up to expectations. Most online courses are made up of videos and quizzes testing memorisation and rote learning which does not provide learners with the skills needed to compete in the modern world.

OpenLearning solves this problem by providing a platform and a methodology for online education that focuses on collaboration and project-based learning. In addition, OpenLearning is a turn-key solution for education providers to move online, offering a platform, services, and a marketplace to increase brand awareness.

Today, were excited by the increasing importance of critical and analytical thinking for the future of work, which will increase demand for OpenLearnings approach and Platform.

SWS: Revenues have declined in the past year. What components of the business have caused this decline?

AB: In FY2019, the Company carried out a planned transition from a professional services business that provided a learning platform for free to a SaaS business. This change in strategy resulted in a decline in Services revenue in FY2019 as compared to FY2018 but led to strong growth in Platform SaaS and Marketplace sales, which grew by 91% and 108% respectively y-o-y.

As of the end of 31 st March 2020, OpenLearning has had over 3 million enrolments from 2.17 million registered learners across 8,000 courses provided by 76 education providers, making it one of the worlds largest online education platforms.

A strong result considering the Companys change in business model to focus on SaaS and its restructure.

SWS: You seem to have lowered your operating expenses in the past year as well. Was this directly the result of lower revenues? Whats the relationship between cost and revenue in your organization?

AB: As a result of the Companys transition from a services model to high margin SaaS business model, which accounted for 37% of gross sales in FY2019, the Company saw a 20.30% increase in operating cash receipts to $2.24m.

As a result of a restructuring carried in FY2019 to support this transition, the Company was able to reduce operational cash burn and operating costs significantly Q4 FY2019. This provided a strong tailwind to the Companys FY19 results.

OpenLearning is a highly scalable cloud platform and the Company saw its gross margin from platform SaaS fees increase from 4% in Q4 FY2018 to 57% in Q4 FY2019 as revenue grew at a faster rate than costs.

SWS: Based on the latest reports, the company has enough cash on hand to continue operating for almost 2 years. What according to you is the best use for this cash?

AB: OpenLearning had cash at bank of $6.6m at 31 st March 2020, ensuring that it is able to fully execute our growth strategy in FY20 and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves as the world looks towards online education in the years to Come.

The Company is primarily investing these funds in sales and marketing to grow the number of education providers using the platform, accelerate the onboarding process for new clients and further develop its platform to ensure it stays at the forefront of online education.

SWS: Lastly, why do you enjoy your work?

AB: Every day we are delivering on our vision to increase access to quality education. This solves a significant challenge for learners, education providers, and society at large. I also enjoy working with the amazing team at OpenLearning, who are located in Australia, Malaysia, and distributed worldwide all passionate about improving education.

SWS: Thank you for your time, it was great to hear your thoughts about your industry & work, and were sure our readers will appreciate it, too.

Our team here at SWS had a great time putting together these questions. Readers who would like to know more about the company can visit ASX: OLL.

P.S: We are trialling company interviews for a limited time to gauge reader interest. If you are an executive or company representative and would like to organise an interview similar to this one, please contact us at

Our interview was conducted via email on June 24, 2020. Minor grammatical corrections have been made to the text. Simply Wall St was not compensated for the production of this interview and has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Company representatives are responsible for the answers provided to our questions.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation.

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The Future Of Online Education: An Interview With Adam Brimo, CEO of OpenLearning Limited (ASX: OLL) - Simply Wall St

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Parts of Vetoed Florida Online Education Program Will Be Revived – Newsmax

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Parts of a nearly $30 million education program vetoed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will be revived and transferredfromthe University of West Florida,Politico reports.

On Tuesday, DeSantis vetoed the Complete Florida Plus Program, which teachers and students relied on when school went virtual, amid budget cuts.

Just before the program was set to be dismantled completely, the State University System Board and Governors and UWF announced that parts of the program would be saved via an emergency rescue.

The program in its current form will no longer exist. Programs deemed essential will be brought back under a new name. The move allows the program to be taken away fromUWF's controland gets around a law that prevents money from being spent on vetoed programs, according to Politico.

The programs include online courses and an online library service that provides 17 million books to 1.3 million users.

Until the transition takes place, DeSantis spokesperson Helen Aguirre Ferr told Politico that leftover rolled over funds will allow the program to continue to operate.

It is unclear what programs will be deemed essential under the transition.

2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Parts of Vetoed Florida Online Education Program Will Be Revived - Newsmax

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VIDEO: St. Clair County students will have 3 options for education in the fall – Trussvilletribune

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By Erica Thomas, managing editor

ASHVILLE The St. Clair County Board of Education met on Tuesday, June 30, to discuss plans for the upcoming school year.

Superintendent Mike Howard said meetings to put plans into place will continue over the next couple of weeks, but the school system has decided to offer students three options: Traditional school, hybrid school and virtual school.

The hybrid option offers students some in-classroom time and some virtual classroom time.

The full-time virtual option will be offered through the countys Virtual Preparatory Academy and that option is available for all St. Clair County students as well as for students in surrounding school districts. Anyone interested in the Virtual Preparatory Academy must apply online.

The start of school is set for Wednesday, Aug. 12. Howard said operations for each school will depend on how many students take part in online education.

It could vary depending on the school but teachers will be required to have a virtual presence and to help any student who is online and not in the school, traditionally, Howard said.

The superintendent said the coronavirus pandemic has caused educators to face ever-changing obstacles.

Its going to be a challenging year for everybody, Howard said. I encourage everybody to remember that the word of the year is flexibility,' said Howard. We all have to be flexible.

Employees will be required to wear a face cover if they are unable to maintain a 6 feet distance from others in the classroom. Employees will also be required to wear a face cover in common areas, including hallways. Students will be strongly encouraged to wear masks, according to Howard.

As more recommendations and guidelines are handed down by Gov. Kay Ivey, the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama State Department of Education, Howard said more changes should be expected.

Its basically shooting a plane with a slingshot, explained Howard. From 30,000 feet. Its kind of like the target were hitting right now. You make a plan and it changes 10 times before you make a new plan, so its very challenging right now.

Howard said his goal is to plan ahead and consider all scenarios. He said as long as the school system makes the best decisions day-by-day, the students will benefit, even in a trying time.

Were going to get through it, said Howard. Well survive and were going to provide a great education for our students.

School system leaders have several meetings planned over the next few weeks. After the BOE makes plans based on the ALSDEs Roadmap to Reopening Schools, school system administrators will meet with members of the community. Parents, community leaders and local lawmakers have been invited to voice concerns and to give input.

After hearing from the community, the superintendent will meet with each school administrator to outline specific operations for schools.

You can watch the full St. Clair County Schools June Board meeting below.

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VIDEO: St. Clair County students will have 3 options for education in the fall - Trussvilletribune

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