Online colleges and programs have proven to be effective avenues of opportunity for students seeking to further their education, especially those that do not have the resources to register at land based institutions. While these programs have proven to be effective, the Gates Foundation is striving to build on the viability, integrity and the appeal of these alternatives to traditional universities, by investing in the future of the online qualification.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that they are going to be investing $9 million into programs such as the MyCollege Foundation and The MITx Project, among others, which aim to allow online students the chance to take certain courses offered by participating institutions where professors are making their lectures available to partnering colleges or online institutions.
Lectures offered by the MITx project will be used by partner colleges as study materials for the students, who will be basing their own courses on these specific lectures. Many partnering colleges will be using a “flipped classroom” model, in which students will study the presented materials, and then be provided with additional information and assistance in order to fully understand the material.
The Gates Foundation has announced that it will be supporting the MITx Project with $1 million, while the MyCollege Foundation will receive $3 million. The aim of these donations is to determine whether this approach is going to be effective once it is offered on a more widespread basis, as well as gather information on how to ensure that the courses are more effective. Results that they are hoping to obtain, include answering questions such as whether the students need additional materials in order to fully comprehend the courses, as well as whether the lectures are sufficient enough to instill the level of integrity and depth that students are going to look for when they apply to these partnering colleges or register for online courses.
These donations are in line with the Massive Open Online Courses approach that is now being taken by colleges all over the country. The general aim is to inspire colleges to follow suit and to provide students with peace of mind when they register with the newer colleges that are now offering these courses. Many believe that this approach is going to open the doors for many new students to begin furthering their education, as well as providing them with the opportunity to further their careers within a broad spectrum of industries. The students applying for these courses do not have to go through the rigorous application processes expected by many esteemed institutions; the information is available for anyone looking to expand their knowledge and obtain a qualification that will assist them in building a brighter future.