At Oregon State University, students use a “virtual spectrometer” to measure the absorbance of different solutions in an online chemistry course that features a “virtual lab.” At the University of Central Florida, aspiring teachers practice their skills in a simulated middle school classroom that features digital avatars controlled by trainers who act like students. At Weber State University, students in an online marketing course issue time-stamped critiques of student presentations.

These are some of the ways technology is transforming teaching and learning in higher education. And the trend is likely to continue.

Consider the following statistics from a January report produced jointly by the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, titled Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States. According to the report:

• More than 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course in the fall of 2011, 570,000 more than the prior year.

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