Is it Time to Get Onboard with Online Education?
The Education Optimists blog
Sunday, August 23, 2009
In several recent interviews and blog posts I've expressed my hesitation about the move toward online learning in higher education. My concerns are fairly common ones and go like this: How do we know that students are engaged, or even awake, when participating online? How do we know that online learning is as effective as classroom learning? How do we know that any negative consequences outweigh the cost savings? And what exactly are those cost savings? (After all, technology isn't cheap) And finally, despite claims to the contrary, the digital divide still exists-- so how do we know that low-income and rural populations will get the access to online learning they need?
Admittedly, I'll always be forced to note that for most of these big questions there's little evidence to the contrary-- e.g. we don't know much about the effectiveness of classroom learning in higher education either, we don't know its relative cost-effectiveness, and we don't know how many are left out of higher education because they can't make it to a classroom setting...