Online vs. face-to-face

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Gert Potgieter, Apr 4, 2002.

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  1. Gert Potgieter

    Gert Potgieter member

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    Online scholars don't measure up.

    More "bad press":
    • Students enrolled in online courses performed significantly worse than their counterparts in traditional classroom-based courses, according to a Michigan State University study. ... "There is no such thing as an online classroom that has the emotional component that a live classroom has," English Professor Thomas Luxon said. "And education always begins and is fostered by an emotional connection between people. "
     
  2. Gert Potgieter

    Gert Potgieter member

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  3. simon

    simon New Member

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    It's important to keep in mind that university professors have a great deal to loose from the move to distance learning and online classroom methodologies. Therefore there will be strong support for studies that purport to demonstrate that online classrooms are not as effective means of teaching others as is the classroom.

    Many tenured Professors have very "cushy" positons including very good salaries, wonderful benefit and retirement packages as well as the opportuinity to engage in the lofty aspects of academia! Nope, they're not going to let go of their comfortable niche without some hell of a fight!
     
  4. PaulC

    PaulC New Member

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    No Significant Difference...

    1997
    McAlpin, V. F.
    The Effects of Selected Factors on Academic Performance of On-line and Face-to-face Students
    Dissertation
    North Carolina State University

    Data analysis revealed that delivery strategy does not influence the academic performance of on-line and face-to-face students. It also revealed that psychological, socio-demographic and organizational factors do not influence whether or not delivery strategy affects academic performance.


    Go to the following URL to find hundreds of other quotes from research that indicates all is fine in the world of distance learning.

    http://teleeducation.nb.ca/nosignificantdifference/

    The No Significant Difference Phenomenon has been discussed here before.
     
  5. David Appleyard

    David Appleyard New Member

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    I agree with Simon that research conducted through or at a University may not deliver a completely unbias outcome. There will always be some doubt, in my opinion, as to the accuracy of such studies.

    However, there have been studies conducted on the subject of “online vs. classroom” by Universities with interesting results. Leeward Community College conducted a study in September of 2001 and found “no signifant difference” in performance (http://fractal.lcc.hawaii.edu/lcciro/rliongson/Surveys/DistanceEd/DistanceEd.htm). Another study conducted by CSU-Northridge found “the virtual class scored an average of 20% higher than the traditional class” on examinations (http://vygotsky.sfasu.edu/Courses/psy230/study.html).

    Here are some other snippets from studies conducted:

    The Effectiveness of Traditional vs. Satellite Delivery in Three Management of Technology Master's Degree Programs. The American Journal of Distance Education, Vol. 7, No. 1, by W.F. Souder

    "This study has shown that distance learners can perform as well as or better than traditional learners in management of technology master's degree programs, as measured by exams, term papers, and homework assignments. Thus, this study adds to the burgeoning evidence that distance learners should not be viewed as disadvantaged..."

    Distance Education: Review of the Literature. Research Institute for Studies in Education, Iowa State University, by C.A. Schlosser & M.L. Anderson.

    "...students learn equally well from lessons delivered with any medium, face-to-face or at a distance...hundreds of media comparison studies that indicated, unequivocally, that there is no inherent significant difference in the educational effectiveness of media...Further comparison of the effectiveness were not needed. The specific medium does not matter...Students learning at a distance have the potential to learn just as much and as well as students taught traditionally."

    Student Performance Based Outcomes of Televised Interactive Community College Distance Education. Doctoral dissertation, Colorado State University, by D.J. Dexter.

    "There is no significant difference between the campus-based students and the distance learners in terms of final course grades."

    Self-Paced Studies. Chronicle of Higher Education, Vol. XLII, No. 21 (Feb. 2) A19-A20, by D.L. Wilson

    "Grades and performance of the online learners proved neither better nor worse on the average than traditional section students."

    A "2+2" Baccalaureate Program Using Interactive Video. DEOSNEWS Vol. 6, No. 6, ISSN 1062-9416. Pennsylvania State University, by J. P. Witherspoon.

    "...the average grades of Fountain Valley classes were marginally to half-a-grade better than those of their campus-bound counterparts."

    In my opinion, results will always be dependent upon the student and their ability to work independently. Many studies show that there is a higher drop-out rate among distance learners students versus the traditional student. Method of delivery and instructor interaction also play pivotal roles in the success of the student.

    While studies, not unlike statistics, may be skewed to fulfill any poll takers agenda, I firmly believe that distance learning will continue to grow and evolve.
     
  6. Gert Potgieter

    Gert Potgieter member

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  7. Tracy Gies

    Tracy Gies New Member

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    Just for fun...

    "The results come as no surprise to many Dartmouth professors, who are not yet willing to abandon the classroom."

    Yes, but haven't we all had profossers that we wished would abandon the classroom?

    'Ultimately there is no substitute for a good faculty member...'

    So, why do colleges so often offer us substitutes for a good faculty member?

    Tracy<><
    Who returns you to regularly-scheduled programming
     
  8. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

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    Its hard to comment on this without knowing what the Michigan State study was really testing.

    The description above is ambiguous, but it suggests that the "on-line" students were given access to readings, taped lectures and visual aids, but were NOT given access to the professor or to other students.

    That's an impoverished model of DL. It resembles the model that sends students reading assignments, then tells them to show up for the exam.

    I wonder what the result would be if on-line students were given access to the professor equivalent to what in-classroom students get, allowing them to ask questions and to hold discussions. What if remote students were given the opportunity, or even required, to participate in class discussions using software similar to what Degreeinfo uses.

    The real question is whether class interaction transmitted by communications media are inherently less educational than interactions mediated by sound vibrations or by light reflecting off the professor.

    Of course eliminating access to professors and to other students probably does harm educational outcomes. Is that really surprising?

    It remains an interesting question how much degradation there is. I suspect that some very good educational outcomes (though not *as* good) are still possible through independent study. We all know the value of reading books.

    But the truly questionable assumption here is that DL implies the elimination of the professor.
     
  9. irat

    irat New Member

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    tested what

    I too would like to see the specifics of this study.
    I know that the local bricks and mortor University has a challenge system which allows a student to challenge and "test out" of a class. The tests are created by the professor(s) of the class. Generally they are the equivalent of a mid-term and final examination. The last numbers I saw were that the pass rate was about 92%. Of course, only the students who are pretty sure they can pass actually make the challenge. I would think somone taking an on-line class would be in a better position than someone studying on their own???
    All the best!
     
  10. Lawrie Miller

    Lawrie Miller New Member

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    Well, yes, it is surprising, at least to me. Personally, I've never found lack of such interaction an impediment to learning. Do you have anything other than a "probably" that supports your position in this regard, Bill?
    I think the most questionable assumtion is that this "emotional component", if it exists, is a) filtered out in online learning, and b) even if it is, that it ever had any material impact on learning outcomes, anyway.

    .
     
  11. Andy Borchers

    Andy Borchers New Member

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    I've accepted the "no significant difference" argument for some time. I suspect, however, that there may be an element of truth in the report about DL hurting due to a lack of "emotional connection".

    First, note a key point about "no significant difference". While there may be no significant difference "all other things equal", rarely are "all other things equal". On-line and traditional instruction can be good or bad - not so much due to mode as factors like instructors, student motivation and the like. I'm highly suspicious of some on-line programs and their offers of "no pain" education. I've yet to see learning without significant effort. When some on-line programs try to cram instruction into 6 week term using underpaid adjuncts - I shutter with the result. If it is so good, why don't we see on-line programs using national standardized tests - such as the ACT MBA and undergraduate business area tests - to show their results?

    Also, on-line does lack a degree of contact between faculty and student. I've taught on-line and on-ground for years. The written word doesn't do a good job of conveying the messages I need to communicate. Give me a blackboard, give me face to face - I can say more in a traditional on-ground setting. Whether this is reflected in outcomes or not - it may not. But there are so many subjective things that faculty and students pass along - often in sidebar discussions - that all the email and web pages in the world won't say.

    Regards -Andy
     
  12. Tracy Gies

    Tracy Gies New Member

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    "There is no such thing as an online classroom that has the emotional component that a live classroom has," English Professor Thomas Luxon said.

    We have here an English professor who seems to be implying that emotion cannot be conveyed effectively by the written word. Boy, he must be good at what he does!

    Tracy<><
     
  13. Tracy Gies

    Tracy Gies New Member

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    Re: Re: Online vs. face-to-face


    I would also like to add that there is no such thing as a classroom (online or otherwise) that has the emotional component that real life has. So, given the choice, I prefer to get out of the classroom and live it!

    Tracy<><
     
  14. simon

    simon New Member

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  15. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

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    Some thoughts on the "emotion" factor:

    On one hand, I don't take classes in order to form deep emotional relationships. My intention certainly isn't to fall in love with my professor. (Sorry.) On the other hand, there may a motivational factor. Appearing there physically in front of a classroom may motivate a certain kind of student to keep up with his/her work better than merely having to push "send". Of course, as suggested in the Dartmouth story, another kind of student may feel more comfortable speaking up online.

    Actually, the biggest emotional element that I can see isn't really instructional at all. It is the additional difficulty in forming friendships and mentor relationships. It's an unpleasant fact of life that who we know is often as important as what we know. Our careers are advanced by faculty recommendations and by the social networks we form with other students. That's more difficult with DL. But on the other hand, if most DL students are older mid-career adults, they already have social networks and are less dependent on school to form them.

    My bottom line on this "emotion" stuff is that while there may be something there, it certainly doesn't invalidate DL or anything like that. It's just another factor among many, and may not be of great importance.

    It may be premature to make conclusions about it at all, since nobody has even defined precisely what they are talking about, let alone determined its impact on DL educational outcomes.
     
  16. kajidoro

    kajidoro New Member

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    Re: Re: Online vs. face-to-face

    The emotions of resentment I had in having to go to class because I had to as part of my grade even though it was always nothing more than a review of the textbook reading assignments. Additional resentment of being surrounded by 18 year olds who obviously didn't read the material and teaching levels at the lowest common denominator.

    I'll take my online learning over face-to-face any day.

    Christian
     
  17. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Wow, I'm becoming emotional just reading about this issue! :D
     
  18. Leslie

    Leslie New Member

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    online vs f2f

    A professor who cannot motivate, communicate and interact effectively online is doing a disservice to the students in the online class and of course the students' success will be negatively affected.

    Interpersonal relationships can and do form online without any f2f contact. Professors can and should be available online. Text-based communication can and should be as effective online IF the facilitator (prof) knows how to teach online. And let's face it -- too many professors cannot teach in f2f situations so how on earth can they be expected to know how to teach effectively online?

    That is the key. Yes students do have a responsibility for their learning. However it is the professor's job to facilitate learning. A prof who is ineffective in text-based communication has NO business trying to teach online in the first place. "Sidebar" (social as well as academic one-on-one) communication that takes place in traditional schools between and before/after class is also evident in online classes and in many cases is MORE evident in online classes than in traditional classes. Effective facilitators encourage this type of communication as much or more than academic/content communication.

    If a professor is not doing all of this, then said prof is an ineffective online instructor and needs to either get appropriate training/mentoring in CMC and text-based communication or just flat get out of the online classroom.

    Leslie *who teaches online instructors how to communicate and facilitate learning effectively*
     
  19. Tracy Gies

    Tracy Gies New Member

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    Re: online vs f2f

    Excellant observation. That is true in both the online and traditional environments--and not just at the college level, either. It probably begins, at the latest, in high school. Perhaps the real gold of DL is that there are fewer people standing in the independant students' way.

    What an interesting career. I wish you succes.

    Tracy<><
     
  20. Leslie

    Leslie New Member

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    Re: Re: online vs f2f

    Yes that is the true gold of DL. My belief is that children can and should take responsibility for learning from a very young age and it should begin as early as kindergarten. My bachelors degree is in Early Childhood Ed with a minor in psych so I have a bit of experience in the early ages and stages of learning.

    When I taught 2nd and 3rd grades, each year I began a systematic year-long plan to teach independent learning. And you know what? I had kids then at 7 and 8 years old who, by mid-way through the year, were way more independent and self-sufficient learners than the college kids I taught f2f two years ago.

    Having the college kids (undergrad business communications and sociology) for only 1 or 2 short quarters, it was difficult to get them to the place where they could do anything without being led by the nose -- which is something I refuse to do and so it caused them quite a bit of stress LOL. I was trying to overcome 12 years of conditioning in 10 short weeks. Not impossible but certainly nerve-wracking and frustrating for all concerned.

    One of the major elements in my grad classes for teachers is teaching them how to encourage and support their students' independent learning. I also teach educational technology grad courses for K12 teachers (as well as online instruction for higher ed instructors and business trainers) and the K12 teachers have a difficult time giving up that control to let the kids be independent learners. It's like beating my head against a wall sometimes -- but in order for students to learn independently, teachers must first learn to support and encourage that mode of learning by giving up their misguided control.

    Interesting parallel between K-3 online learning and college-age and adult online learning. K-3 kids who learn online do as well or better than working adults and the traditional college-age kids fall far behind them all! Even by grades 4-6, some kids are becoming too conditioned to be able to really get into online learning and take initiative and responsibility for their learning. K-3 kids soak up information like a sponge (and so do many adult learners) and do not need to be "led" to learning. Pity that enthusiasm and motivation are squashed by middle school age and doesn't begin to re-emerge until adulthood.

    Leslie
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2002

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