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Baviu Stess

Woius: 1S2S

N00Cs: The Futuie of Acauemia on Two Biffeient Paths

Kimbeily S. Bagen, a piofessoi at Emoiy 0niveisity's Rollins School of Public
Bealth sat at hei uesk anu answeieu stuuent emails. While the actual queiies
themselves weien't notewoithy, the stuuents weie. Bagen was teaching a couise
about BIvAIBS that was attenueu by stuuents fiom 174 uiffeient countiies. While
Emoiy's stuuent bouy is oiuinaiily quite uiveise, this paiticulai couise was on a
uiffeient magnituue of uiveisity because of the fact that it was taught entiiely
online, using the online euucation seivice Couiseia.
The stuuents iangeu fiom cuiious college-age stuuents to people living with
BIv oi AIBS to veteian scientists woiking on cutting-euge BIvAIBS ieseaich.
Bagen, heiself the assistant uiiectoi of Emoiy's ienowneu Centei foi AIBS ieseaich,
assembleu a team of guest lectuieis foi the class. Bei stuuents uelveu into the topic
thiough the use of lectuie viueos, lively uiscussion boaius, anu caiefully selecteu
exteinal ieauings.
Bagen says the couise hau a piofounu impact on many of hei stuuents.
She ieceiveu a numbei of emails aftei the conclusion of the couise fiom stuuents
who weie taking caie of inuiviuuals with BIvAIBs. They saiu that they hau changeu
the way they peifoimeu theii woik baseu off of what they leaineu fiom the couise.
"The science that we uo heie at Emoiy is now actually being put into play
aiounu the globe because of the Couiseia class," says Bagen.
Bagen's couise is just one example of a Nassively 0pen 0nline Couise
(N00C). N00Cs covei a wiue vaiiety of topics anu aie most commonly
chaiacteiizeu as being fiee of cost anu completely open to the global public.
Theii iole in highei euucation is a hotly contesteu topic, with some aiguing that they
coulu be the iemeuy foi the skyiocketing cost of a college euucation anu otheis
aiguing that they aien't compaiable to a classic college couise. They'ie a topic of
extieme inteiest to both Silicon valley technologists as well as univeisity
The Silicon valley-baseu Couiseia has ieceiveu $8S million in ventuie capital
since its launch in Apiil 2u12. Alieauy it boasts ovei 17 million eniollments anu its
most populai class has ovei 24u,uuu stuuents. The company business stiategy thus
fai has been to focus on paitneiing with global institutions of highei leaining.
Renowneu univeisities, such as Emoiy, Buke 0niveisity, anu Stanfoiu 0niveisity,
aie expeiimenting with this new foim of euucation on Couiseia.
Some univeisities have bioken fiom the pack, howevei. ueoigia Institute of
Technology, paitneieu with 0uacity, anothei N00C seivice, has even gone as fai as
to offei a N00C-baseu masteis' uegiee in its highly iankeu computei science
uepaitment at a fiaction of the cost of the oiuinaiy uegiee. 0uacity's business
stiategy has been to focus on paiu couises, anu in paiticulai, coipoiate
ueoigia Tech's piogiam came about as a joint ventuie between the
univeisity anu 0uacity, a N00C seivice. Seeking some financial backing, the team
appioacheu the telecommunications giant, AT&T.
"I can say that it uiu not take much convincing foi them to see the value in
this piogiam anu getting fiom them the commitment to suppoit it financially," says
Nichael Teiiazas, the Biiectoi of Communications at the ueoigia Tech College of
AT&T was veiy inteiesteu in the potential the nascent piogiam helu in teims
of euucating potential hiies, says Teiiazas.
AT&T is not alone. Alieauy, a iising numbei of technology companies have
begun using N00C technology to change the way they euucate theii new hiies.
NcAfee, Inc., a computei secuiity company, has iecently begun using the technology
in its new employee oiientation piogiams.
Teiiazas says the ueoigia Tech piogiam, which is set to begin in }anuaiy
2u14 with an initial stuuent bouy of 4uu, is uesigneu to equal ueoigia Tech's
oiuinaiy computei science masteis piogiam in acauemy iigoi. The cost of the
N00C-baseu uegiee, howevei, is fai lowei. Teiiazas says the cost of the uegiee can
iange between $S,uuu to 6,6uu, uepenuing on the numbei of semesteis it takes a
stuuent to finish the piogiam. In compaiison, the oiuinaiy uegiee foi non-ueoigia
iesiuents can cost ovei $6uuuu.
Theie's consiueiable financial iisk involveu in offeiing the piogiam at this
low of a piice. Teiiazas acknowleuges that the piogiam will be offeieu at a
significant loss initially.
"The iuea fiom the beginning was to cieate a uegiee piogiam that was about
as low cost as you coulu feasibly get, that incluueu enough ievenue to covei costs
aftei the piogiam is scaleu up to its anticipateu eniollment," says Teiiazas.
While ueoigia Tech is focuseu on using N00C technology to cieate
stanualone uegiee piogiams, Emoiy is much moie focuseu on using the technology
to supplement existing classes anu to expanu its influence woiluwiue.
Lynn Zimmeiman, the senioi vice piovost of Emoiy, says that she uoesn't
foiesee Emoiy offeiing N00C-baseu uegiees.
"I uon't peisonally believe that they'ie going to ieplace the iich, iesiuential
euucational expeiience that stuuents at Emoiy expect anu thiive with," says
Still, she says that N00Cs have an impoitant place in the futuie of highei
euucation. As a cooiuinatoi of Emoiy's N00C ventuies, hei intenueu goal has been
to use N00Cs to supplement alieauy existing Emoiy couises as well as to use them
to help Emoiy's global maiketing anu ieciuitment effoits.
"The othei thing to be saiu about keeping the couises fiee is that oui faculty
aie ieally uiawn to that altiuistic goal of wanting to shaie theii knowleuge with the
woilu," says Zimmeiman.
Emoiy's fiist foiay into N00Cs began in Spiing 2u1S, when the univeisity
piouuceu a succession of thiee N00Cs. Emoiy auministiatois caiefully selecteu
thiee vastly uiffeient couises fiom the many schools that compiise Emoiy
0niveisity. The fiist couise was a uigital sounu uesign couise taught by Steve
Eveiett, then the uiiectoi of Emoiy's Nusic-Auuio Reseaich Centei. Bagen's AIBS
couise was piouuceu next. Lastly, Emoiy piouuceu a N00C entitleu "Immigiation
anu 0.S. Citizenship," taught by Polly Piice, a piofessoi fiom Emoiy's law school.
With each successive couise, Emoiy auministiatois tiieu to iefine the N00C
piouuction piocess. Bagen iecalls that she encounteieu significant technical
uifficulties while piouucing hei couise.
"It was like we weie inventing this new woilu on the fly anu we maue
mistakes anu technical glitches that we uiun't uiscovei until we weie in the couise,"
says Bagel.
Aftei stuuying these thiee couises, Emoiy has since oiueieu the cieation of
six new N00Cs. Zimmeiman says that the fiist of these N00Cs has iecently gone
into piouuction. In compaiison to the pievious seciet selection piocess foi couises,
this time aiounu Emoiy has let instiuctois apply to an open call foi N00C couises.
Accoiuing to Emoiy's page on Couiseia, the topics of the seconu-geneiation N00Cs
iange fiom ancient Nubian aichaeology to auuiction.
Foi ueoigia Tech, the main challenge has been the piouuction of its new
N00C-baseu couises anu infiastiuctuie. Accoiuing to Teiiazas, the faculty involveu
in the N00C piogiam contiibute to the piogiam in auuition to theii noimal uuties
as piofessois at ueoigia Tech. Teiiazas says that theie's a majoi neeu foi acauemic
infiastiuctuie, fiom financial aiu to iegistiais, in oiuei to suppoit such a piogiam.
Piouucing the piogiam's high-level computei science couises is also veiy
uemanuing, he says.
"Piouucing a single couise foi this piogiam is not unlike piouucing a shoit
film," says Teiiazas. "It involves an analogous amount of woik on the piouuction
0ne of the well-uocumenteu ciiticisms of N00Cs is been the small
peicentage of stuuents that complete the couises. It's geneially accepteu that most
N00Cs aveiage a completion iate of aiounu ten peicent.
Teiiazas says that ueoigia Tech's piogiam will not shaie this uifficulty with
completion, as the stuuents will be moie investeu, both foi financial anu euucational
ieasons, in the piogiam than the aveiage N00C stuuent who can sign up foi classes
on a whim.
Bagel says that aiounu fifteen peicent of the stuuents who took hei
BIvAIBS couise completeu all of the mateiial, incluuing the tests anu essays
iequiieu in oiuei to obtain a ceitificate of completion. Still, she says, that shoulun't
be a cause foi concein.
"As fai as I'm conceineu, you completeu the class as long as you watcheu all
of the viueos anu uiu the ieauings," says Bagel.
Bagel says the vaiious uefinitions of completion aie something that N00C
pioviueis will have to ieckon with in the futuie. Bagel iecognizeu that hei stuuents
hau uiffeient goals when taking the couise. Some stuuents weie inteiesteu in just
the lectuies while otheis sought to take on the examination components of the
Couiseia co-founuei, Baphne Kollei, tolu the !"#$%&'() $+ ,&-")# ./0'12&$%
that the company unueistanus that most N00C stuuents aien't inteiesteu in
completing eveiy acauemic component of a couise.
"Theii intent is to exploie, finu out something about the content, anu move
on to something else," says Kollei.
Bagel's says that teaching the BIvAIBS couise was a tiansfoimative
expeiience. She has founu success in using the lectuie viueos she put togethei foi
the N00C in hei oiuinaiy giauuate-level class at Emoiy. Noie impoitantly, though,
she appieciateu the oppoitunity the N00C gave hei to euucate thousanus of people
aiounu the woilu.
"I woulu say that it was one of the most exciting teaching expeiiences of my
caieei," says Bagel. "It was ceitainly the most fulfilling."

Souice Contact Infoimation

Kimbeily S. Bagel

Nichael Teiiazas

Lynn Zimmeiman


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