Defending Online Learning

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Kizmet, Mar 8, 2012.

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  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  2. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    From the report: "For some time now, we’ve heard the following criticism of online education: “Its only virtue is that it’s cheap; it has little educational value compared with traditional, fact-to-face education.” This claim no longer can withstand scrutiny. In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education published a review of no fewer than 44 studies evaluating post-secondary students. The report concluded that “students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” (emphasis is mine)

    A critic has finally seen the light.
     
  3. Cardinal Biggles

    Cardinal Biggles New Member

    There were a number of noteworthy statements made in that piece.

    One I liked in particular was: "More than 6 million students enrolled in at least one online course during the fall 2010 term, an increase of 560,000 students over the previous year."
     
  4. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    It was a rather refreshing article, so I posted a response on the site.
     
  5. suelaine

    suelaine Member

    Ever since I first became involved with online/distance learning, any reputable study that I have ever been shown pointed out the same thing: that online students performed as well or better than their traditional counterparts in similar courses.

    The only part that I have found to be annoying is that the naysayers were people who had no experience with online courses themselves, or did take a course or two, and did not like the experience, so they speak loudly to any who will listen with their opinion that online learning is inferior. As for it being less expensive, I feel that it SHOULD BE less expensive, but it is not.
     
  6. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    If you go to No Significant Difference - Presented by WCET, you will see information on over 350 "media comparison" studies demonstrating your point. The naysayers have no data--only their opinions.
     
  7. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    That never seems to stop them, though. Reminds me of that old joke, "Don't confuse me with facts, I've already made up my mind."
     
  8. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    Online learning is not less expensive and its probably that way to protect brick and mortar learning. If it cost $300 to take a $1000 course online, nobody would take the butt in seat course. Pure virtual schools like NCU charge high prices for online learning because they can.
    I think the regional accreditors are partly to blame. Their mission is to ensure that schools are actually teaching students and that students are actually learning. Schools spend money and time providing evidence that students are learning.
    If there were a more efficient way, say standardized tests, schools would simply point to the numbers of students who passed the tests as evidence.

    What if I were to create a CLEP/DSST school. A kid signs up for US History I. Kids sit in class while I lecture, they watch videos, do projects, write papers, and take practice tests. At the end of the semester, the kids all take the CLEP test as part of their grade. The grades could be 70% CLEP 30% other stuff. That should be sufficient evidence that the kids learned what they needed to learn for the regional accreditors.

    School basically shifts to being a CLEP prep class like MCSE prep courses in the computer industry. A school with a high pass rate is rated higher than a school where most kids fail the test.
     
  9. okydd

    okydd New Member

    I am a firmed believer in distance education. I have been doing distance ed since I was in high schools. Distance education has been good to me. Now I am an old man. *However, to say that there is not problem with online education is just plain silly -- and that everyone who criticized online education to be ignorant is just ridiculous and self serving. There are many institutions who have hurt the reputation of online/Distance education. Why do you pretend this is not true? Online / distance education is like any other product, buyer be aware. Buyers need to do their investigation and when they visit degree info it be nice for them to find *objective information.
     
  10. Denver

    Denver Member

    Good point, as I mentioned in my post on FU Berlin this month my 2009 thesis was compared full time study abroad programs with a blended program of one-week residencies with the rest online. My goal was to measure the cultural benefits of these programs using the surveys that full time programs use to show the benefits of their programs. I was told at best I might see 10-20% effectiveness compared to a full time traditional program. Based on my study, there was no significant difference in most categories. It seems working in an international group online with brief residencies provides similar benefits to the traditional model of a semester/year abroad.
     
  11. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Why do online schools charge so much?
    ryoder said it all in three words.
     
  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I don't often think about the politics of distance learning but is it at all surprising or interesting that the National Review, the leading conservative political magazine in the country, has come down solidly in favor of distance learning?
     
  13. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    I think most conservatives believe in the free market and innovation. They understand that a company that provides a superior product while keeping costs low will excel. This principle can be applied to education as well. Distance learning reduces costs and improves access to courseware. It reduces one's carbon footprint as well since one does not need to drive to school and take up a spot in the parking lot.
    It does, however, irk some stalwarts of the industry who love their tenured jobs.

    I realized this weekend one of the reasons why I never finished my CS degree locally. Over the past 15 years, I kept checking the schedule and all of the CS courses were held during the day. I had a full time job and simply couldn't attend the classes. My brother, who wants to expand his knowledge of computer programming, is attending CS courses at the local university's online branch campus. He said that our local main campus is filled with old, tenured professors that do not want to teach night or weekend classes. They won't even take 4:00PM classes. These guys have it made. They start work at 9 and leave by 4.
     
  14. PilgrimPastor

    PilgrimPastor New Member

    Of course! I have actually had a person with a Ph.D. from a brick and mortar... oh excuse me, I found out later that she was ABD but never mentioned that to anybody... scoff right in my face about my attendance online while in Seminary... It is bias on the level of racial prejudice with some people. :smashfreakB:
     
  15. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

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