Online learning: Wave of the future or demise of the academy?

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  • gizmo33 St. George, Utah
    June 25, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    online learning ? it is the future there will be a time coming when there will be no more schools to go to no more colleges to drive to . its coming there will no longer be newspapers no more magizines no more driving to the grocery store every aspect of your life will be done over the home logistics computer. the food will be brought to you. you will no longer have to go shopping for clothe you order it on the logistics computer and it will be brought to you. no more theaters to drive to all new movies will be broadcasted to your home and you will charged credits for it like your groceries and clothing. everything you need done will be done at home. no more postal service its the future.

  • kaparowitz A.F., UT
    June 25, 2011 12:09 p.m.

    Online classes can offer a way to learn at your own pace, which for me is usually much faster than going at classroom speed. My experience has been very positive. I would add that a mixture of both online and in person classes can give a person a broad educational experience.

  • Silence Dogood Caliente, NV
    June 25, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    I did an undergraduate degree traditionally and a graduate degree online. The online degree was more rigorous. I really appreciated the experience. I was able to keep my job and work on my degree from home. Since I live over 100 miles from the nearest university online classes were wonderful.

    As technology is better applied to these classes plagiarism will become a non issue. It Can be more easily prevented in an online environment.

    Applying technology and online classes to a degree or a hybrid of online/traditional classes will improve the quality of degree programs.

  • SL Rexburg, ID
    June 25, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    What people don't understand is that online classes are actually MORE difficult than face to face classes. That is not to say, however, that they are better. In fact, online courses can be disastrous for freshman. They be better suited as graduate courses.

    If the technology gets good enough that the online course can mimic face to face, then it might work. Until then, the "click here, then here, then here" approach is extremely confusing and inefficient for younger students.

  • Utah Teacher Orem, UT
    June 25, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    I've taught online classes and traditional classes. Of course for the universities it is all about money. I can understand that. But when we start taking it down to junior high and high school there are a whole new set of problems.

    I was hired to teach online science courses. The students were never able to do the labs for the chemistry course. The instructions for the class would say something like "Get 100 mL of Hydrochloric acid". Not something they can find at the local department store. The Biology classes also asked for the students to "get your microscope". You get the idea.

    If online classes are going to work for public ed we will need to have some sort of hybrid of the two. Lab materials they can access and use but then we will need someone to supervise their use. If we don't do this, they students will not receive an education equal to regular classrooms.

    Of course for some subjects online learning is ideal. Something where they can read an learn.

    The idea is fairly new but will take off.

    I just hope we don't isolate ourselves from each other. Interaction is part of education.

  • The Utah Republican Alpine, UT
    June 25, 2011 9:08 a.m.

    Every student learns differently. Every subject requires different teaching methods. That means there are infinite, or at least a very great many, different best ways to teach, each depending on the student and the subject.

    Right now we pretty much use one way - the way that it's been for the past thousands of years - a group of students with a teacher giving facts, asking questions, and giving more facts.

    We have to be careful not to settle into a single way of teaching, whatever that may be.

  • c00kster Provo, Utah
    June 25, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    While some classes might be best taught in a classroom, there are many which can be taught online and as technology advances many of the concerns will be addressed. Currently there are few classes which take advantage of computer adaptive learning/testing where lesson components and tests are structured to meet the learning style of the individual student, resulting in greater efficiency and efficacy. Of course there will be opportunities for cheating or having someone else complete one's work, just as there have been in the traditional model. We shouldn't fear change and should embrace it, unless one happens to be a lousy dinosaur of an instructor and is worried about their job once technology allows for the best instructors nationwide to be accessed by students via the internet. Many students will still want to attend classes for a variety of reasons and yet I see both models as having value and working together to provide the best education possible.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    June 25, 2011 6:48 a.m.

    "People are always down on what they ain't up on." Still true today.

  • Terrie Bittner Warminster, PA
    June 25, 2011 6:41 a.m.

    Actually, I feel in-class learning is the true dumbing-down of education. Most often, my classes consisted of sitting in a lecture being spoon-fed information and opinions and then going home to memorize them so I could recite that information and the opinions on a test. In no way did this prepare me for "real life." Today, I'm not in school and if I want to learn something, I have to teach it to myself. I was fortunate that I was raised to be an independent scholar by my parents. I know how to do this.

    A well-run online class can teach students how to learn independently, which is a far-superior method of learning once they graduate. They should learn to seek out the best books and mentors and to think through a topic without help. In addition, a more-independent learning method can encourage a student to explore opposing viewpoints.

  • kcmannn Salt Lake City, UT
    June 25, 2011 5:49 a.m.

    So far the online classes are very inefficient. They cost more (I know you would have thought otherwise but it is true) and less than half of the students pass. Until or unless that changes this medium will not advance.

  • My2Cents Kearns, UT
    June 25, 2011 5:05 a.m.

    The biggest problem with on line schools is that there is no way to prove or verify who is doing the work and class studies. Then the cost is too expensive for what it is an students are never verified or interviewed. Most of the time theses classes do not allow the students any campus rights or amenities.

    The only thing these on line classes do is create a money making scam for the schools. The meaning of college gets lost and the personal feeling of accomplishments are not there the quality of learning is always in doubt because the students have no measure of comparison to other students. College is a team learning experience as well as a knowledge base of learning and sharing of knowledge.

    Technology cannot replace education and the learning experience.

  • shuttdlrl Smith River, CA
    June 25, 2011 4:00 a.m.

    I think online learning is a better way to increase advanced education. We learn through watching television and I believe it is the perfect medium to increase better education. Classes could be televised and testing and homework could be online. Honesty will always be a challenge.