Self-paced online courses backed by data analytics could help community colleges get students up to speed, said Khan Academy founder Salman Khan at the San Francisco convention of the American Association of Community Colleges. “About six million people around the world watch Khan’s free online tutorials each month, writes Paul Fain on Inside Higher Ed.
Khan thinks his nonprofit website can help community colleges, which he said are in the academy’s “sweet spot.” And he views community colleges as potential allies rather than competition.
“We’d love to work with any of you,” said Khan, apparently broaching the suggestion for the first time.
Free online courseware could help remedial students advance at their own pace, Khan said.
AACC leaders talked with Khan about collaborations, said Walter G. Bumphus, the association’s president. “It’s going to be good for community colleges and good for AACC,” Bumphus said.
Many conference sessions focused on using online courses — massive and otherwise — to serve more students, Fain writes. Some community colleges are creating their own online tutorials, often geared to remedial students.
In Louisiana, Bossier Parish Community College offers free, online study guides that teach grammar, skill by skill. Students can prepare for placement tests or brush up on the basics while taking college-level courses.
North Carolina’s Wake Tech Community College is using a Gates Foundation grant to create a massive open online course (MOOC) in remedial math. College instructors create the tutorials; Udacity provides the platform.