By Steve Kolowich
Yale University is creating a master’s program that will hold many courses online, continuing the Ivy League institution’s foray into “blended” learning.
The online program, to be offered by the Yale School of Medicine, would aim to replicate its residential program for training physicians’ assistants. Students would meet in virtual classrooms where they would discuss course material using videoconferencing technology. They would also have to complete field training — accounting for roughly half of the coursework — in person, at Yale-approved clinics near where they live.
It is the second professional school at Yale to try the “blended” model for a graduate program, following the Yale School of Nursing, which opened a partially online doctoral degree in 2011.
Yale has taken an active but measured interest in online education in the past decade. In 2007 it became one of the first elite institutions to post lecture videos online at no charge. In 2011 it began offering online summer courses to small groups of undergraduates for credit. In 2013 it joined with Coursera and started building MOOCs.
But a degree program that includes fully online courses is a step toward a different vision of how Yale and other highly selective traditional universities are likely to incorporate online education. Free online courses might make headlines, but tuition-based professional degrees in high-demand fields such as health care are where online courses, and the companies that help build them, are gaining a foothold.
Other top-tier universities have created online versions of their professional-degree programs, which is something Yale noticed when taking stock of its online presence in 2012. The Johns Hopkins University, for example, offers an online master’s program in public health that delivers about 80 percent of its coursework on the web.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/yale-announces-blended-online-masters-degree/56003 ]