Universities found themselves in a state of flux in 2012, facing new disruptions from online learning platforms, thanks to Coursera and edX, as well as a looming problem in student debt and increasing costs incurred from expansion.
Big-name schools such as the University of Texas and Columbia University chose new partners, while debate bubbled up at the University of Virginia, going as far as to lead to the temporary ousting and reinstatement of President Teresa Sullivan. The year also put a spotlight on a number of terms that educators should be familiar with by now. Here are seven ed tech topics that everyone should know by heart, because they are bound to play even bigger roles in 2013:
Massive open online course (MOOC) providers claimed territory and partners in 2012, but all of them will face big questions in 2013. Whether a MOOC bubble is ready to pop or a MOOC egg is ready to hatch and give birth to a new breed of classroom altogether, these online courses started a conversation that will follow the fate of higher ed (and perhaps K-12 as well).
2. HYBRID PROGRAMS
Critics argue that MOOCs will never be able to replace face-to-face education in classrooms, but the fact is that they don't actually need to. Hybrid programs that combine online instruction with more traditional strategies may be able to solve a number of problems, and educators are getting ever smarter about how they implement flipped classrooms and blended learning plans.
3. MOBILE LEARNING
Mobile education apps and an insurgence of BYOD occurrences have reshaped the way students study and learn. Handheld touchscreens mean more IT demands, but they also mean that education resources are becoming more accessible for learners on the go and in a variety of environments. Expect to see companies such as Udemy and Grockit continue to carve out space here in the coming year.
4. ONLINE VIDEO LEARNING
Online video learning providers continue to pop up all over the Internet, and everyone from Khan Academy and Learnist to MIT and iTunesU are innovating how instructional video gets experienced and accessed. For remote students, video can be a vital medium when in-person class sessions aren't available. Right now, numerous companies want to own this space in education, and investors are putting millions of dollars into the companies they believe can compete.
5. EDUCATION SOCIAL NETWORKS
Education Dive looked a wide range of social networks that cater to educators this year, and options are evolving. LinkedIn introduced more ways users to define and promote their profiles, ResearchGate rolled out a new reputation score for academics, and Epernicus is competing to become a go-to resource for researchers. Look for options to only get more robust next year.
6. FOR-PROFIT AND ONLINE REGULATION
For-profit education companies hit a speed bump in 2012 with increased government scrutiny, and President Barack Obama's reelection gave Apollo and DeVry more reasons to worry. Moreover, don't expect Coursera's temporary ban in Minnesota to be the last time that state or federal government takes an interest in MOOCs as they gain a larger footprint.
7. TABLETS IN THE CLASSROOM
New instruction models often mean new hardware, and departments at the college and K-12 levels introduced more iPads and other tablets to students in 2012. Of course, institutions are still trying to understand exactly how different teaching styles mesh with iPad instruction, but as best practices come to fruition, expect to read more about these devices down the road.
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