National U funds institute for individualized learning research
- “Precision Education,” a new $20 million initiative at National University in San Diego, will study how colleges and universities can create a personalized experience for students by using advanced technologies, and the Times of San Diego reports the funding will cover the initiative for the next four years.
- The intent is that advanced tech, including data analytics performance tools, can help the university take an individualized approach to the needs of students, and school administrators hope the focus will better serve their student population and raise the chances students will graduate.
- School officials said the university is a particularly pertinent location for the institute, as the school was founded to specifically target a student population of adult and diverse students, and its personalized approaches include evening classes, online learning and campus locations that offer easy access to commuters.
Earlier this year, a number of higher ed leaders expressed their concerns about online learning’s impact on traditional institutions, noting concerns that schools were not compliant with regulations, might not see the enrollment growth they were hoping for, and did not have faculty buy-in. Advanced tech can help answer some of the more difficult questions that institutions have had as online learning and alternative education programs have increasingly become the norm. Some schools are using tech to emulate the model of robust debate and dialogue you can find in an in-person class, facilitating online discussions for students who may never physically be in the same room — and some professors also argue that the rise in accessible tech for all students makes high-quality online learning courses that much easier to achieve.
However, as campus life increasingly becomes fractured in order to accommodate students with varying schedules and commitments, administrators must ensure schools are investing in new ways to ensure that outreach on programs, schedules and opportunities is still readily available. Earlier this month, San Jose State University partnered with a mobile app provider to offer students flexibility and access to a variety of campus information, from events to class schedules. These types of tools will likely become ever-present as colleges continue to transform to suit the needs of nontraditional students, and administrators should be looking now to find the best approach for their particular institution.
- Times of San Diego National University Introduces $20 Million ‘Precision Education’ Project