Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NYT: The Trouble with Online College

The New York Times Feb 19, 2013

[Excerpted] Online classes are already common in colleges, and, on the whole, the record is not encouraging. According to Columbia University’s Community College Research Center, for example, about seven million students — about a third of all those enrolled in college — are enrolled in what the center describes as traditional online courses. These typically have about 25 students and are run by professors who often have little interaction with students. Over all, the center has produced nine studies covering hundreds of thousands of classes in two states, Washington and Virginia. The picture the studies offer of the online revolution is distressing. 

The research has shown over and over again that community college students who enroll in online courses are significantly more likely to fail or withdraw than those in traditional classes, which means that they spend hard-earned tuition dollars and get nothing in return. Worse still, low-performing students who may be just barely hanging on in traditional classes tend to fall even further behind in online courses....

Majia here: I'm teaching an online class this semester. I am tremendously missing the dialogue that goes on during my face-to-face class. I'm missing meeting new students and seeing familiar faces. I feel like I'm administering, rather than teaching and inspiring.

I'm only teaching this class online because our in-person class enrollments have declined so precipitously because so many students have moved online.

I understand that the online environment is "easier" for our working students, but I strongly find it inferior despite my efforts to enliven the class with videos, interesting lectures, and discussion forums.

Online reinforces the "dissemination" model of  information, rather than a dialogic and productive model of knowledge creation.

Dec 23, 2012
Why Poor Kids Fail in College. The New York Times today has a very interesting and detailed analysis of stalled class mobility and the failure of university education to eliminate barriers to mobility. The story follows working class female students success in ... December 22, 2012 The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/education/poor-students-struggle-as-class-plays-a-greater-role-in-success.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121223&_r=0 ...

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