Jul 7, 2009

Calling All Online Students

Online course usage is growing by the day. As the acceptance of this highly sought after medium expands, more and more schools are rushing to implement online aspects to their curriculum. The latest study from the Department of Education is sure to fan these flames even further, giving online proponents weighty evidence to back their case. But what exactly is this document saying?

The ninety-four pages puts forth quite a lot of data, but there are some very important aspects to consider before declaring online education as superior. First, it describes courses that integrate in-class instruction with online elements (a “blended” model) to be the most effective when compared to wholly online or strictly face-to-face models. However, the study goes on to state that these blended courses that exhibited superiority “differed in terms of time spent, curriculum and pedagogy.” (page xvii). Clearly, it is how these elements are used that matters the most.

Earlier, the study reports “online learning can be enhanced by giving learners control of their interactions with media and prompting learner reflection.” (page xvi). As a student in an online course, what does this mean to you? In an earlier blog, the possibility for a student-driven curriculum was explored. Could this be the next step?

The opportunities for online courses are just now beginning to truly take shape, and the fate of education as we know it hangs in the balance. The key is to create something that allows the student to learn as effectively as possible.

So now I leave the question to you, the student. What form should this new medium take? What has worked best for you? What hasn’t worked? In what way can online education promote “control of [a learner’s] interactions with media and [prompt] learner reflection”?

The future is in your hands.

1 comment:

Jonathan Lopez said...

Students demand more online courses: