President Kim Cassidy recently joined a number of other education leaders for “Online Learning: Shaping the Future of Higher Education On and Off Campus.”
Held on the MIT campus and cohosted by MIT and Harvard University, the summit focused on the opportunities and challenges arising during this exciting time of change to the established models of higher education. The summit comprised a mix of plenary sessions and break-out groups, with facilitated conversations to generate key questions for senior leaders to take back to campus.
Cassidy took part in a panel on the impact of online innovations on residential education. She was joined on the panel by senior leaders from MIT, Stanford, and the University of Michigan.
“It was a valuable experience to hear about the different digital initiatives on other campuses, from Massive Open Online Courses to more blended learning approaches,” says Cassidy. “What really struck me as interesting was how many of these larger institutions are reframing the use of technology in ways that are similar to how we have approached digital learning. The tools may be constantly changing but the focus has to remain on pedagogical goals and student success.”
Bryn Mawr started to focus its technology-enabled education strategy on blended learning in 2011, when, through a grant from EDUCAUSE Next Generation Learning Challenges Program, the college looked at improving performance in historically difficult, entry-level science and math courses by incorporating the use of online open source courseware modules into traditional, classroom-based versions of these courses.
In 2013 the College received a $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help continue to build its blended learning course offerings and to develop resources for other liberal arts colleges interested in the approach.
Most recently, Bryn Mawr received a $1.65 million “First in the World” grant from the Education Department that uses a blended learning approach to provide students with personalized, self-paced mathematics instruction delivered in the form of online modules (combined with face-to-face coaching support) to be completed concurrently with the gateway STEM course in which they are enrolled.