Harvard, MIT Part of $800 Million Deal to Push Access to Online Education - The Wall Street Journal

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Harvard, MIT Part of $800 Million Deal to Push Access to Online Education - The Wall Street Journal Harvard, MIT Part of $800 Million Deal to Push Access to Online Education - The Wall Street Journal Posted: 29 Jun 2021 04:00 AM PDT Education-technology company 2U Inc., which runs graduate programs for dozens of top universities, is buying web-based course provider edX, a nonprofit founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for $800 million. The deal combines two major players in online instruction as universities around the world push more aggressively into digital offerings. Many schools scrambled to shift courses online when the pandemic shut campuses last year, and they are now expected to build on—and polish—the programs. The sale proceeds will go to a nonprofit, to be run by Harvard and MIT, that the schools say will focus on reducing inequalities in access to education. It will maintain the open-acc

Comment: When you can't get to college, bring college to you | HeraldNet.com - The Daily Herald

Comment: When you can't get to college, bring college to you | HeraldNet.com - The Daily Herald


Comment: When you can't get to college, bring college to you | HeraldNet.com - The Daily Herald

Posted: 27 Jun 2021 01:30 AM PDT

By Tonya Drake / For The Herald

Maybe you know someone who's been sidelined by the pandemic. Maybe, that someone is you. If it is, you're not alone.

Millions of U.S. workers' lives have been disrupted by the pandemic. Now that the economy is re-opening, it's time for many of us to get off the sidelines and back in the game. But some of us are finding that the game has changed. Workforce needs have shifted, and skill demands have evolved to meet those needs. If your work was disrupted by the pandemic, it's time to reskill or upskill. Transitioning into high-demand and flourishing fields is vital to a post-pandemic recovery. Online learning can be the solution, and studies indicate adult workers are embracing that option.

Financial setbacks, competing family responsibilities, barriers to in-person learning and other circumstances have presented roadblocks to pursuing the education and training opportunities many would have under normal circumstances.

A recent study from Strada, Center for Education Consumer Insights, indicates those who experienced a work change during the pandemic are more than three times more likely to intend on enrolling in education. And what's more, these individuals are seeking diverse learning options during the economic recovery.

Further, among disrupted learners who said they planned to enroll in an education or training program in the next six months, 25 percent said they would pursue an online non-college learning option. Likewise, the same share said they would pursue an employer-based learning option.

The data indicates a shift in our approach to education. Workers and learners alike are seeking flexible, alternative learning options to meet their needs. Online higher education is well positioned to meet our changing needs and help disrupted workers get back on track as society re-opens.

Online degree programs offer valuable educational opportunities to people of all backgrounds. Central to the efficacy of online higher education is its accessibility, flexibility, cost and timely delivery of credentials.

Access: There are often geographic barriers to higher education. A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that, as of 2018, 20 percent of rural adults 25 and older had at least a bachelor's degree, compared with 35 percent of urban adults of the same age. For those of us in rural areas, brick-and-mortar post-secondary education is out of reach. Online classes are one way to bridge this gap and help more rural students earn their degrees or work-ready credentials.

Flexibility: With individuals living longer and the baby boom generation aging, young people are increasingly caring for family members. In addition, the burden of childcare has disproportionately fallen on women in response to the pandemic. Some online programs, such as those that follow a competency-based learning model, allow students to log in and learn when it's most convenient for them. As a result, students gain the flexibility needed to balance work, caregiving and school.

Cost: Many online degree programs are substantially more affordable than degree programs at traditional institutions. While cost and quality can vary as dramatically at online schools as it can at brick-and-mortar schools, average online undergraduate tuition rates are typically under $1,000 per credit hour. These reduced costs are often a result of online schools not operating physical campuses.

Credentials: Employers are looking for candidates who have demonstrated mastery of a subject and have the credentials to prove it. Demonstrating competencies is particularly valuable in an era when technology is evolving rapidly, as are in-demand skills. Earning credentials quickly through an online program lets us enter the workforce faster, and usually without a significant amount of debt.

Employer-based learning opportunities are also emerging as a way for disrupted workers to reskill. For example, some companies are developing programs to provide both employer-specific job skills, and an industry-recognized credential within an affordable certificate program. Programs like these seek to pair workers who do not necessarily have the desire nor the resources for the traditional college experience with the skills they need to compete in the modern economy. These types of programs may be a viable mechanism for displaced workers who must switch careers and start at an entry level position in a new field to reskill.

Though we've seen headlines about the declines in higher ed enrollment as a whole, online learning enrollment remains strong. The National Student Clearinghouse reported that institutions that were already providing high-quality online-only programs before the pandemic began saw substantial growth in 2020.

If you are someone who is looking to improve your skills and rejoin the workforce, you might consider nontraditional options like online education as a pathway to new opportunities. It's time to get back in the game.

Tonya Drake is chancellor of WGU Washington and WGU Northwest regional vice president.

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University of Illinois Springfield announces non-credit online certificates in cannabis education - PRNewswire

Posted: 22 Jun 2021 08:15 AM PDT

"The UIS Office of Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) is dedicated to developing skill-based programing and expanding non-credit opportunities," said Rob Kerr, UIS associate director of Continuing and Professional Education. "We are excited to be the first university in Illinois to partner with Green Flower to offer in-demand cannabis certificate programs. The Illinois cannabis sector has enormous growth potential. There are 25 dispensaries and cultivation centers within 100 miles of our campus, and over 16,000 employees statewide. This market is booming, and those with the right training will be positioned to take full advantage of it."

Programs will cover the business of cannabis, agriculture and horticulture, law and policy and healthcare and medicine. These certificates will complement existing credentials and advance the knowledge and practice of cannabis for professionals across multiple sectors.

"Green Flower is honored to be working with the University of Illinois Springfield and in particular the office of Continuing and Professional Education. We saw the commitment by the university of expanding offerings for working adults and lifelong learners as an obvious sign that the university wants to serve all types of students in every stage of their growth and careers," said Daniel Kalef, vice president of higher education at Green Flower. "A little over a year after the state of Illinois made adult-use cannabis legal, the state has shown some of the fastest and largest growth of any state in the country, and as the sales expand, so does the industry and tremendous job opportunities. We applaud the leadership of the university for their foresight in wanting to offer certificate programs designed to prepare people for careers in what is now the fastest growing job market in the country. We can think of no better university or group of people in Illinois with whom to partner and are excited to begin offering these programs to the public this summer."

Courses begin Aug. 23, and enrollment is now open. Students may enroll at cannabiseducation.uis.edu. The cost is $2,500 per certificate, but UIS is offering a $300 discount for students who enroll in the August cohort.

Courses are designed using online learning best practices and are scheduled to accommodate working professionals. Students will develop a portfolio of case studies and projects that can be used to demonstrate sector-specific cannabis knowledge. Upon successful completion of the program, students will earn a certificate of completion from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Questions about the new online certificates can be emailed to [email protected].

Contact: Rob Kerr, 217-206-8644

SOURCE Green Flower

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