Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Kizmet, Jul 10, 2017.
everyone has their worries
Faculty, students share distance learning concerns | Education Dive
It as been my experience over the years that polls showing "concern over online student learning outcomes" primarily showcase the fact that those completing these polls appear to be unaware of decades of research showing no significant difference between the achievement of learning outcomes of students learning"face-to-face" versus those who receive their instruction through some kind of technology (including online courses).
That story is just a PR blurb and short summary of the results of something else somewhere else. There are links, but clicking on them just produces edu-clickbait sites or places that want you to to register in order to download their materials, Nope, sorry.
Faculty apparently voiced concerns about "learning outcomes" and wanted more transparency on the subject. About 75% think that their own school doesn't have adequate procedures in place to assess learning outcomes of DL learners. (I can say that the regional accreditors are aware of that outcomes problem, which extends very much to B&M education too. They are pressuring schools to put in more "benchmarks" (??) and whatnot. What they want schools to actually do in practice is usually expressed in vague and incomprehensible edu-speak.)
Faculty also worried that they wouldn't have adequate institutional support if they ended up teaching DL classes without sufficient understanding of and skill in the computer and tech aspects. And inevitably, faculty worried about being adequately compensated for teaching DL classes and about being left to educate themselves how to do it effectively.
A majority of students wanted face-to-face contact with other students and with their professors, and thought that was important. Many of them expressed disappointment with the DL classes they took and wish that they had shopped around more.
The only surprising thing mentioned seems to be that many DL students turned out to to live in the vicinity of the university that they are taking DL classes from. Their reasons for enrolling in DL classes seem to often be scheduling issues and the problems of combining classes and work. So the authors seem to have made some suggestions about how universities can improve face-to-face contact and support opportunities for those nearby DL learners.
Anthony is so professional and well-spoken. I was going to write that people just "talk out they ass."
Just based on the short post, I would like to address the comment they made about faculty concerns - not having tech training. As a DL student, it is maddening beyond my ability to express it properly, when a faculty member assigned to teach a DL course has
(1) poor mastery of technology - poorly organized Blackboard/Moodle with leftovers from the previous course, course modules aren't open in time, broken links, empty files or folders, links to sites where the teacher has a subscription but the students don't, etc.
(2) doesn't reply frequently or quickly to posts or questions - something I expect in a classroom open 24/7 - seriously, waiting more than a day for a reply is unacceptable.
(3) doesn't type well
(4) simply dumps their files from their F2F course into an online platform and calls it done.
These issues have caused me to abandon more than one DL program.
Of course, I've also been equally upset with in-person faculty for things like...
(1) Not following the syllabus
(2) Requiring me to buy $400 in books and not actually assigning any readings from any of them or putting any material in those books into the graded assignments.
(3) Posting office hours and not being there during those times. Ever.
On the one hand I see why it would seem easy to just train all of the faculty. On the other hand, I feel like a group of people who have dedicated their lives to the research and teaching of a discipline can also watch a brief YouTube video to figure out how to more effectively Moodle. Some of them are fantastic. Some of them are terrible. Just like in a regular classroom.
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