Online Learning - good trend?

If it's news, but not politics, then it goes here.
Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 8700
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby Huckleby » Wed May 02, 2012 1:44 pm

Detritus wrote: Online courses can be designed well, and can work well, but most are not and do not except for self-motivated and well prepared students who would learn in practically any environment. As study after study has shown, at-risk students are best served by individual attention .... Blended instruction--combining face-to-face and online instruction...approach doesn't allow corporate reformers to reduce educators to hourly wage earners, it's not a popular approach with the Rhees and Gateses and their friends.

I generally agree with what you say. I'm not sure you can dismiss Rhees and Gates as people who just want cheap teachers. I don't personally like Rhees, and don't want to defend her demonizing style, but lets not respond in kind.

I think online learning for college level work might make some sense.

Francis Di Domizio
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 3458
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:11 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed May 02, 2012 1:47 pm

Huckleby wrote:Guess he's neither a teen or troubled anymore. Anyone, he was a smart kid who read a lot. Not into drugs. But he was lazy and unmotivated, didn't go to class.
Well, they hooked him up to a computer, and got 3 years worth of credit done in about 4 months. So they hand him a phony high school diploma and he's on his way. I guess its better than nothing, and the school certainly can't be blamed for a kid who just won't or can't perform in a classroom setting. His phony degree didn't prepare him for much.


What exactly were you expecting a high school degree to prepare him for? There are plenty of kids who make it out high school by the normal method who aren't prepared for much either.

Rabble wrote:Speaking as one who has taken both kinds of courses, no that's not true.

What makes it a good or bad experience is the teacher and your own motivation.


Again, I think different students are going to react differently to live rather than online, but you raise a good point, a good speaker is going to engage you no matter what the medium is. A poor speaker might do a little better live since there is at least the social pressure to be attentive and engaged.

rabble
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby rabble » Wed May 02, 2012 2:50 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:Again, I think different students are going to react differently to live rather than online

There are always going to be students who react well to certain teaching methods, or teachers, or subjects, and poorly to others. They're a small percentage and they can be accommodated.

But they'll probably get rolled over by the education juggernaut just like they are now.

snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 12950
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 02, 2012 8:33 pm

I think it partly depends on what is being taught. I've had online courses teaching new software and some of them are OK. Some are awful. That's a perfect thing to teach on a screen, because you're going to be DOING it on a screen. I hate the on-line tutorials where you get to watch an animated cursor run through about twenty steps and they expect you to memorize the whole thing real fast just seeing it happen once. Doesn't work for me -- I need the list version so I can refer to it step by step the first couple times.

I think I learn factual stuff best by reading, and hands-on stuff best by reading and then trying it. Listening is my weakest input channel and lectures aren't as helpful as reading the same material. And if somebody is standing over me trying to tell me what to do at every step while I'm learning a hands-on skill, I mostly want to scream. I need to watch and then go work it out on my own. I have observed other people who find the standing-over thing really helpful and even ask for that type of assistance. A good teacher picks up on these differences and works with each in a separate way.

So how the on-line class is organized, and how it compares with your preferred learning style, will make a big difference. Maybe as tutorials and e-learning develop, learners will be able to select or modify courses as they go along to fit their strengths.

Little kids need face time, though. Their brains and social skills are still developing and the more in-person attention they get the better. I don't think any little kid would develop in a healthy well-rounded way if they sat in front of a screen all day, even a screen with a camera and their teacher's face popping up now and then. It's not the same as the real world.

Francis Di Domizio
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 3458
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:11 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu May 03, 2012 7:38 am

interesting (and pertinent) letters to the editor on JSOnline this morning

From one student
New learning styles needed

I appreciate the Journal Sentinel's coverage of the recent changes to the teaching methods of some area middle schools ("Laptops replace lectures in schools," April 29). It is encouraging to know that some variation is finally beginning to exist among lower-level education.

As a junior in high school, I have endured countless hours of lectures, notes and other grueling school practices that probably have been more detrimental to my learning than beneficial. Lectures by teachers tend to be extremely boring and long, making the task of paying attention difficult in most cases. Not only do these accepted forms of teaching grow tedious, they also force young students into the bad habit of depending on elders for everything.

The system employed by Waukesha STEM Academy teacher Kim Crosby teaches students to learn habits of independence and creativity in the ways in which they go about their work. With new forms of technology drastically improving, the need for youths to learn how to operate and innovate is amplified.

Alternate learning styles are vital to all levels of education today.


And another
Technology can't do it all

This is in response to "Laptops replace lectures in schools" ("Laptops replace lectures in schools," April 29). As a current high school student, I feel that without the traditional education system, I would have a hard time keeping up with my tasks.

Deadlines and schedules stress out all students; however, a valuable lesson is taught. Students learn the importance of getting tasks done in a timely fashion with impressive quality. Education in today's schools is made to mimic real-world applications.

Later in life, students will have jobs and be required to report to a boss. If that student were to do his task whenever he wanted, I would certainly think it would jeopardize his position.

Technology is a fantastic teaching tool, but it can only do so much. In school, I love having in-depth conversations with my teachers and classmates. There is a tone and voice that are heard and expressed with emotion, whereas chatting online increases the opportunity for misunderstanding due to the lack of emotion.

Traditional practices may be hard on students, but life lessons are taught. And that is simply something that technology cannot do.

Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 8700
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby Huckleby » Fri May 04, 2012 2:04 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/04/opini ... unami.html

David Brooks has an editorial today claiming that online courses will have the same degree of impact on colleges as the web has had on print media. He sees it on balance as a positive thing, because colleges will blend online fact dissememination with discussions.

I am skeptical. I like the idea of college online courses for those who otherwise couldn't afford to go to college. But I fear the power of the marketplace to cheapen education, see the crappy degrees churned out by Phonenix University.

I am more hostile to online education for young kids. Commitment to public education is already wavering with the push to subsidize private schools. I see cheap online courses being pressed regardless of outcomes.

Francis Di Domizio
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 3458
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:11 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Fri May 04, 2012 2:29 pm

Huckleby wrote:I am more hostile to online education for young kids. Commitment to public education is already wavering with the push to subsidize private schools. I see cheap online courses being pressed regardless of outcomes.


As long as educators are designing the courses, I don't see an issue with using online teaching as one of many tools. I think the real danger is what Snoqueen said:

Snoqueen wrote:Little kids need face time, though. Their brains and social skills are still developing and the more in-person attention they get the better. I don't think any little kid would develop in a healthy well-rounded way if they sat in front of a screen all day, even a screen with a camera and their teacher's face popping up now and then. It's not the same as the real world.


As far as online courses cheapening education, I'm not certain that hasn't happened to some extent with standard colleges already. How many schools these days are cutting departments and courses? The University of Florida was just about to cut their Computer Science department. Wouldn't want to waste any money getting students prepared to deal with technology after all.

Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 8700
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby Huckleby » Thu May 10, 2012 7:27 am

Last week, Romney spoke to college students in Ohio on issues of education affordability. He said that Dems just offered more free stuff. His vision was to require that students take a fixed percentage of courses online in order to lower costs for students.

Online courses, like charter schools, may be a useful tool when implemented properly. Problem is that they both are caught-up at center of the ideological war over the role and size of government.

Detritus
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 2664
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 9:42 pm

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby Detritus » Thu May 10, 2012 8:58 am

Huckleby wrote:Last week, Romney spoke to college students in Ohio on issues of education affordability. He said that Dems just offered more free stuff. His vision was to require that students take a fixed percentage of courses online in order to lower costs for students.

Romney's "vision" (already underway in Florida...) is predicated on the assumption that online courses are cheaper than face-to-face courses. This is only true when the online course is training rather than education (eg. an HR piece on changes to your benefits). In other words, when online courses are done well, they are as expensive as or more expensive than face-to-face courses.

This may not always be true, particularly as technology improves and people learn how best to use the technology. But at the moment, and for the forseeable future, it is true.

In any case, Romney's characterization of the Democrats is quite wrong--they have been right up there with the Republicans in dismantling public support for public education, along with bloating the profits of the health care industry, the two factors driving the huge increase in tuition and fees over the past 20-some years. There is really no daylight between the two parties in this regard.

Francis Di Domizio
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 3458
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:11 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu May 10, 2012 10:27 am

Detritus wrote:Romney's "vision" (already underway in Florida...) is predicated on the assumption that online courses are cheaper than face-to-face courses. This is only true when the online course is training rather than education (eg. an HR piece on changes to your benefits). In other words, when online courses are done well, they are as expensive as or more expensive than face-to-face courses.

This may not always be true, particularly as technology improves and people learn how best to use the technology. But at the moment, and for the forseeable future, it is true.


two thoughts on this:
1) At the college level there are some subjects that are well suited to training course rather than education classes. Not all fields, and you couldn't say that it would work for 15% of every student's classes. But it is an something that should be explored.

2) While the best online courses do end up costing more now, if they are developed correctly, a good deal of that cost should be involved in the creation, and able to be aggregated over time. There will always be some maintenance fees and of course you have to pay the educators, but there isn't a reason to rebuild the infrastructure or software every time you offer the class.

Detritus
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 2664
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 9:42 pm

Re: Online Learning - good trend?

Postby Detritus » Fri May 11, 2012 3:53 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:
two thoughts on this:
1) At the college level there are some subjects that are well suited to training course rather than education classes. Not all fields, and you couldn't say that it would work for 15% of every student's classes. But it is an something that should be explored.

2) While the best online courses do end up costing more now, if they are developed correctly, a good deal of that cost should be involved in the creation, and able to be aggregated over time. There will always be some maintenance fees and of course you have to pay the educators, but there isn't a reason to rebuild the infrastructure or software every time you offer the class.

Actually, no, at the college level, unless you're doing something cutting edge, developing an online course is at most only slightly more expensive than developing a face-to-face course. This is particularly true now, when so many college-level face-to-face courses already make use of online systems to provide readings, feedback, and perhaps discussion for the students. The increased cost of completely online courses comes from the instructor's time. The marginal cost of an additional student in an online course is larger than the marginal cost of adding that student to a face-to-face course. This is not the intuitive (or at least common) understanding, but it has been pretty well established in the research.


Return to “Headlines”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests