January 2010 Archives

Report finds 1 in 4 students taking online course

The Sloan Consortium released the results of its annual survey on the state of online learning in higher ed today--and not surprisingly, more students than ever before are attending classes from the comfort of their computers.

Some of the highlights:

  • Over 4.6 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2008 term; a 17 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.

  • The 17 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.

  • More than one in four college and university students now take at least one course online.

For more, read the full report.

How to Run a Meeting Like Google

I am not generally a Google cheerleader, but they do have an innovative culture that I think is useful to examine closely. Business Week interviewed Marissa Mayer, Google's vice-president of search products, who has on average 70 meetings a week. Most of her process would not work well in higher education, but some of the ideas would be worth trying.

For instance, at Google, a large countdown clock is displayed on the wall, ticking off the remaining minutes of each meeting. While I don't love the idea of a big clock in the room, it might help make everyone responsible to the time and agenda. Too often, a discussion on one topic will take up most of the meeting time, leaving too little time for the remaining agenda items. It is a problem I struggle to effectively address - some issues need more time. But sometimes, it is more about time management or lack of focus.

I also love the idea of office hours for managers in higher education. Mayer got the idea from her time as a professor, and it is familiar to all of us in higher ed. She uses the office hours at Google to have brief meetings, often about 7 minutes, to discuss timely but not large issues. She described the office hours as a way to reduce latency. Office hours for managers in higher education could be really useful; it would reduce the time decisions are delayed because the next meeting with a decision maker is two weeks out.

The entire article is worth reading.

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