Real-Time Lectures and FB-Style Profiles for USC Online Program

With tools like virtual classrooms and interactive student profiles, an increase in customization is advancing online education at many schools. Educators at the University of Southern California (USC) have found specific benefits to bringing classes online.

"Putting the education online means you can see what issues are universal," Melora Sundt, associate dean of academic programs at USC's Rossier School of Education, told The Atlantic. "It's wonderful to hear students say, 'I have that issue in Kansas!' and 'I have the same issue in Massachusetts!' Our class becomes the country."

The USC program boasts a live video feed of professors and classmates, allowing for real-time lectures where students can virtually "raise a hand" by pressing a button to ask a question. Online profiles have also become more sophisticated at the USC program, allowing students to join groups--like "4th grade teachers"--much in the way that Facebook allows its users to organize socially. The school has taken pains to hold its online education programs to the same standard as its campus-based programs: Tuition is the same, a 15:1 class ratio is maintained and 20 weeks of in-classroom practice are still required.

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