Posts Tagged ‘online’
I was troubled when I read The Trouble With Online College.
The author of that article made a case that online college or university courses suffered from very high dropout rates and that they did not help the unmotivated, academically-challenged student.
The trouble with online courses lies not only in the numbers game or only in learner motivation, but with their design.
Attrition rates or the fact that online courses seem to attract only the highly motivated is a symptom, not the cause. The cause is poor design.
If a face-to-face lecture is converted to a “talking head” online course, what is the difference between the two? If courses are not redesigned from the ground up, people are going to stay away from them or get bored and walk away. Why should a student attend boring lectures or unhelpful tutorials in person and online?
I am glad that the author makes the point right at the end of the article that poor course design is to blame. But I wonder how many readers reach that point or how or how many non-instructional design savvy policy makers understand that point.
That was my response when I read the Straits Times article Varsities making more lectures available online (click image below for archived copy).
They are still just lectures. They may be very efficient, but they are not very effective. They are an industrial age model trying to hobble on a catwalk that belongs to information age models.
In theory, the lectures might be useful to someone without the means to get a university education. But the walled garden prevents access. In the age of open access, this strategy of offering lectures online but building a fence around them is already outdated.
Institutes of higher learning (IHLs) need to make money, but they need not do this with lectures.
Ask anyone who has a university education what they remember or value the most and they are unlikely to mention lectures (the exceptions being the one or two really good or really awful ones).
No, IHLs offer the campus or university experience and this typically happens outside lecture halls. More often this happens in canteens, field trips, meals with faculty and areas for play.
Lectures are typically for the dissemination of information. The rest of the university experience develops the creative and critical capacity of an individual. If anything is to be put online, it should be the equivalent or even better experiences that develop creativity and critical thinking.
RSS feeds delivered these useful resources. I am putting them online as I also use my blog as idea cloud that I can revisit.
Online teaching tips
Do students cheat more in online classes? Maybe not.
Student “learning styles” theory is bunk