Trends in Online Education: More predictions

It must be the season for predictions!  Jes posted yesterday about the Horizon Report, and there is more to come!  In the meantime, our neighbors to the north have some thoughts as well.  Sir John Daniels of Ontario’s Distance Education Network Contact North introduces three trends he thinks will have a high impact on higher education in this interesting video:

Sir Daniels predicts three trends to watch

1.  The growth of private, for-profit institutions.  He suggests that the for-profit sector does online learning “better” because they treat education as a business.  Economy of scale is necessary for this team-based approach to distance education.  It is difficult for traditional higher-education institutions to adopt this model because it requires a significant investment, both up-front and on-going, by faculty, staff, and administration.  This brings to mind the question of quality.  Sir Daniels suggests that the systems approach used by for-profits carries with it an assurance of quality, but do you agree?  Is a lone ranger faculty member, developing and delivering his or her own online course, at a disadvantage?

2.  Open Educational Resources.  Horizon mentioned this in the 2010 report.  From MERLOT  and OER Commons to MIT, there are a wealth of free learning materials available for use, and the databases are growing.  Who are your go-to content providers?  Do you find yourself wondering what the intersection of OER’s with traditional, degree-granting institutions will look like?  Will all schools develop an “x” like MITx?

3.  Mobile Technology.  2010 Horizon mentioned this, and Jes wrote about it a while back as well (check out her post for a STELLAR video).  In fact, I feel like every paper, blog, and resource I read these days is focusing on mobile.  Jim just told me that the latest Dreamweaver has a “What will this look like on my phone?” button. Maybe that’s not what it’s called, but it should be!  Should we stay device-agnostic or go ahead and write all our books in iAuthor?  Does mobility allow for a greater sense of community?  How do we take advantage of that in a learning environment?