ADEA has a well-established relationship with the Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE). Delegations from each organization attend the annual sessions of the other on a regular basis. This year’s annual meeting of the ADEE was held in Birmingham, England, and ADEA’s delegation was led by Dr. Stephen Young, the Chair of the ADEA Board of Directors.
Staff from the ADEA Policy Center were invited to speak at the ADEE meeting on pertinent issues pertaining to massive open online courses (MOOCs). The introduction of this new method of delivering curriculum content has been followed closely by the ADEA Institutional Capacity Building (ADEA ICB) Portfolio.
According to a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, MOOCs are significantly less expensive than traditional postsecondary institutions on a cost per completion basis. For example, the median cost per completion at a four-year college or university is $68,140 and at a two-year college, $57,210. By comparison an estimate of cost per completion for a MOOC is $8,860 for a four-year degree and $5,129 for a two-year degree.
However, the creation of the coursework requires a significant investment from the parent institution so in the short term, institutions may have to forego profits and make large upfront investments in the creation of the MOOC. Many in higher education look to see if this is a viable model. This type of coursework is not a solution for everyone because MOOCs require self-directed learning and access to the Internet. Many people around the world still do not have reliable Internet access.
In their presentations, ADEA staff noted that MOOCs are pedagogical tools that expand access to education. MOOCs use technology to change the way we teach and potentially improve learning outcomes. According to several studies in the Journal of Dental Education, dental and dental hygiene students enjoy the benefits of e-learning, but in a hybrid format that combines in-person interaction with a professor and access to online resources and tools, often referred to as the “flipped classroom.”
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