Monthly Archives: November 2013

Why should one enroll for an Online Degree Program

A majority of prospective candidates polled select ‘to increase my knowledge’ as the topmost reason for enrolling into a U18 online degree program. A close second is the desire to acquire higher qualifications.

Career Advancement is third, albeit by a slim margin. The application of skills to their careers / profession ranks lowest by a wide margin.

If you were taking this survey, how would you rank your priorities? Take one now, by clicking here 

U18 Candidate Survey

uNext – An Online Education Technology Platform

U18 is and was always meant to be a Technology and Services Platform, providing Universities with both access to Technology as well as the Services required to run a successful Online Education Program.

Coming in as early as 2009, when one could at best depend upon foss (free and open source) solutions like moodle, Angel (since then acquired by Blackboard)  amongst a couple of others, OR commercials systems like Blackboard that’d set you back quite a few $$$’s per student per year,  meant that we needed to build our own systems and applications to provide a robust, seamless and customised to our requirements experience to the students and Universities.

Out of this necessity was born uNext, a suite of applications working together to provide a seamless experience to the online university student. An online application system integrated with the University’s ERP, and then further plugged into an LCMS, a social networking/collaboration forum, an ebook library, an online proctored testing platform and a backend that ensures all the housekeeping tasks happen as they’re supposed to, makes uNext a killer product.

Combined with this , a set of Android applications gives students access to all there features on their phones and tablets,  making a U18 program a truly ‘liberating’ experience.

2014-15 should see the uNext platform being offered publicly , to non-U18 partner Institutions. Watch this space for more.

 

moocs and their like

Much has been made of MOOC’s or Massively Open Online Courses, and the recent successes of Coursera and Udacity , amongst others. With students enrolling in the hundreds of thousands for Courses like ‘Artificial Intelligence 101′ and millions of Private Equity and or University Endowment  $$’s being committed to this ‘future-of-the-University’, it is understandable that the pioneers of this model would be facing an immense amount of pressure to deliver.

All the more reason that FastCompany’s recent article on Udacity’s founder and Stanford Professor , Sebastian Thrun , comes as no surprise.

In the aftermath of a failed experiment at providing San Jose State University  credit to Udacity students  for certain courses,  Udacity has pivoted its business model, and intends to now target Corporate sponsored diplomas and trainings instead. The article mentions a Georgia Tech Doiploma for AT&T employees, paid for by AT&T, in the hopes of “getting access to a new pool of well-trained engineers”.

Its important to note that the United States views MOOC’s or indeed the entire higher ed ‘challenge’ differently form the developing / under developed world. For them, its primarily a cost problem. Tuition fees are high enough to put most students into debt for several years after they Graduate. MOOC’s seemed to offer a solution, delivering high quality courses and content at free or ‘next to free’ price points.

Countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the rest of South East Asia and  much of Africa on the other hand, have  a demand and supply problem. We simply don’t have enough Colleges and Universities (that meet a certain benchmark of quality) to educate our youth.

Affordability is lesser of an issue than availability and accessibility.   Hopefully, the coming few years will see that improve.

 

P.S U18 is proud to run its own MOOC, uglobal.org , providing free certificate programs from its Partner Universities , including Don Bosco University and IGNOU . With upwards of 3000 students in its first few months,  uGlobal is firmly on its way to becoming the largest initiative of its kind in this part of the World.