In January Stanford President John Hennessy said in a Faculty Senate meeting that online education is a tsunami academia has to face. He added that
“We want to get ahead of this wave. I want to be surfing the wave, not drowning in it.”
according to TechCrunch.
Yesterday Stanford announced the appointment of Computer scientist John Mitchell as new vice provost for Online Learning. According to the article this is only part of a larger initiative that aims to prepare the university towards the requirements and potential of the 21st century.
The creation of the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning (VPOL) is also a commitment to bring new teaching and learning methods to Stanford students around the globe. It is planned as a laboratory for Stanford and its teachers, providing leadership and information monitoring the evolution of online learning over the next years.
Stanford sees technology also as a mean to widen its reach and attract and teach students no matter where they are.
In order to bring more and more of its courses online, Stanford Online will focus on involving faculty in new teaching and learning methods and supporting course production and online delivery during the coming academic year.
Stanford already found great success in online learning through their partnership with Coursera, an online learning platform founded by two Stanford professors on leave. The courses have attracted hundreds of thousands of online students in the past year.
A redesigned website of Stanford Online will be launched on September 21st, making it easy for students to search and find online courses and information for everyone else interested in the development of the VPOL and its initiatives.
Of course, the main problem to solve will be the accreditation of the online courses besides the recent teething problems of low quality and plagiarism.