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3 OPM study questions for David Satfen from 2U

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For a number of years we have been propaganda for companies in the Internet Management Programs (OPM) space for support independent research on institutional and student outcomes associated with non-profit / non-profit partnerships.

We are therefore delighted when one of the OPM executives we dealt with has agreed to discuss some ideas in this space.

As Chief Executive Officer for Strategy and Interaction 2U, David Satfen has a good position to address any issues that may arise OPM in support of independent research, and can allocate resources to such efforts if persuaded. We are grateful to David for wanting to make this conversation transparent and open.

The question. In our previous discussions about the need for independent research on the results of the OPM you supported, but expressed some concerns. Chief among your fluctuations was the problem of getting results data (from schools and students) both from other OPMs outside of 2U and from schools that run online programs with their own resources. Can you talk about your problems in more detail and perhaps share some ideas on how to overcome these obstacles?

First, thank you for the opportunity to discuss this important topic. I appreciate the place and the openness with which you approach these issues. I remember our conversations well. At the time, 2U and others in our space were frustrated by the lack of available data and research in addition to what we collect and analyze “inside”, which could give us a clearer idea of ​​how students enrolled in online graduate programs education, persevere, graduate and have positive career outcomes.

The reality is that before we can determine what these outcomes look like for OPM-based courses compared to the wider landscape of online programs, we need more data on online outcomes compared to traditional residential programs. For the most part, this does not exist, and it hinders our collective understanding of the challenges and opportunities in online learning. OPM partnerships remain growing, but are still a relatively small part of the industry. Thus, while it is important to ask questions about the results and quality of OPM-supported programs in terms of policy, we have bigger questions to answer, especially at a critical time when institutions continue to rethink (and in many cases begin) their digital travel transformation.

To understand the essence of this issue, about a year ago 2U and others in our space turned from the University of Tennessee, Professor Knoxville and an independent scientist. Robert Kelchen to find and analyze data on online learning outcomes from the OPM partnership. He recently published his findings and wrote about them for Inside Higher Ed – his conclusion, in fact, is that there is no way to determine student outcomes in online programs supported by OPM, compared to other online programs, and in online programs in general, regardless of partnership models, with using the currently available College Scorecard and IPED data. It also provides some useful policy advice to address this issue, which we fully support.

As we’ve shared with you before, we’re serious about data transparency and will continue to do so as we grow with edX. 2U was the first OPM to publish a transparency framework and annual transparency reports which include the results of our partners ’online programs (we’ve done two, and there will be more) and a commission research with Gallup to study the results of our programs (We have also published two of these studies, below). From our own interactions with partners and their students we see the positive impact we have on people’s lives, but we also recognize the need to do more work to promote even greater transparency of results. And we are committed to that work.

The question. Do you have any thoughts on where the research infrastructure should be built around non-profit / commercial partnerships? Should it live in a university? Should 2U set up an independent research team in the company? What do you see as the pros and cons of each approach?

We believe that a recent analysis conducted by Robert Kelhen in partnership with other edtech companies is a good model because it has retained complete control over the data analysis.

Before we think about conducting more independent research such as this, from Kelhen’s findings, it seems clear that we first need better publicly available data. Without this it is very difficult to answer the species the questions you asked because the necessary data are either unavailable or contradictory in different institutions, which hinders the comparison of apples with apples.

We are committed to helping our partners do more of this work, for example, by supporting MIT and the nonprofit Harvard, Learning Rethinking Centeras well as the University of North Carolina at the Digital Education Research Center at Chapel Hill.

The question. What issues do you think should be considered the highest priority? Do you think the unit of analysis (at least for initial research) should be institutional outcomes (impact of OPM and non-OPM partnerships on universities) or individual learners (e.g. graduates, debt, income, etc.)? What research would you like to see?

I would be most interested to see a study that analyzes the 3, 5 and 10-year impact of both online and degree programs and non-degree programs on students’ lives, taking into account many factors: income growth, overall happiness, and career satisfaction. era, level of indebtedness, further training and further. Some postgraduate salary studies stop at a 1-year mark, which in many areas does not provide enough time to measure career satisfaction, which may include factors other than just earning potential.

Gallup just posted a blog post on Return on investment in training camps that we provide with universities and the results are convincing – a year after graduation, the average salary for all surveyed training camp graduates was $ 11,000 higher than what they said they earned when they attended the training camp. Among graduates who worked full time in both years, the average salary rose from about $ 59,000 during the training camp to $ 70,000 after the training camp. Average revenue growth was 17%.

Having more independent verification of longitudinal studies based on the results of graduate students ’diplomas and training camps online, regardless of whether these students attended OPM-supported programs, would also be very valuable. However, as Kelhen notes, diploma programs that start with better data collection by colleges and universities are at the forefront for all learning methods, and this may also require improved data collection efforts by the federal government to make outcome data more accessible to population. Ultimately, better data will benefit students and create sound policies.

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