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Stanford Appoints First Vice Provost For Online Learning

The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann has an interesting interview with John Mitchell, a computer science professor at Stanford and the university’s newly named, first-ever vice provost of online learning. You can read the piece here.

In the conversation, Mitchell suggests that technology that gives students more flexibility in developing their own route to completing their degree is a key goal. At the same time, he envisions the “self-learning” of MOOCS (massive online open courses) will be a supplement, rather than a replacement, for traditional higher education programs, Mitchell said.

“I don’t think that prepared, canned video is itself the one major answer to the future of education,” Mitchell tells The Atlantic.

This is a huge topic in higher education circles, as colleges and universities look for ways to expand their reach without sacrificing quality or the effectiveness of instruction. That’s a tough balance to strike.
(For more on MOOCs click here.)

I had an interesting conversation of my own a few weeks ago talking about online learning opportunities for younger students. Lisa Guernsey, director of the New America Foundation’s early education initiative, shared some interesting way technology once reserved for entertainment purposes is making the transition to teaching tool. (Click here to find the Q&A on EdMedia Commons.)

With the new school year underway, I’m interested in hearing about your experiences with new classroom technology, both at the K-12 and higher education level. Has your local middle school incorporated iPads into math classes? Are you taking a MOOC? Do you think these sorts of changes will help — or hinder — efforts to improve public education?

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