Transitioning to online education can seem difficult for students who have only taken traditional face-to-face classes in the past. According to Marian Stoltz-Loike "Making the decision to pursue an online education can be intimidating for students" (Stoltz-Loike, 2017). Even though there are multiple advantages to taking online classes, there are also multiple disadvantages. Online education can provide students with more time flexibility when it comes to fitting school into a busy work schedule, or for students who have any additional interests and hobbies (Tania Heap, 2017). However, there is a surplus amount of evidence that shows that online education in High Schools and Colleges tend to hurt the group of less proficient students who need extra help with assignments from a teacher, preferably in a classroom setting (Dynarski, 2018). Therefore, the main question to figure out is whether online education is as good as traditional on-ground education. In the following, I will provide information and evidence to answer both sides of the question, to explain the reasoning for both sides.
Article Against Online Education
An article that I came upon that happened to be against online education was published on the New York Times website with the following title, Online Courses Are Harming the Students Who Need the Most Help and is written by Susan Dynarski. In this article, the author provides evidence and reasoning for why they believe online education is a high disadvantage and is harming many students' learning abilities. The following are some of the critical points given in this article:
Premise 1: The results of a study that was held in Chicago High School showed that the students who were taking online courses learned less and retained less information than the students who took the same courses in a classroom setting.
Premise 2: Recent research taken by professors from Harvard and Stanford show that there is a high drop rate for students who enroll in online college courses, especially if the students are unprepared or the first in their family to start college.
Premise 3: An extensive amount of evidence collected in this article show that online courses are too challenging for the students who need more academic support and guidance from a teacher face-to-face and perform better in an actual classroom.
Conclusion: Online education is a bad choice for students who need extra help from a teacher and are more academically challenged.
Evaluation of the Reasoning
First, the article that is being referenced provides a good amount of research and evidence to back up the conclusion. However, the premises given do not seem to apply to all students who take online courses. Some students would want to receive learning instructions from a real live individual with whom they can easily interact immediately and necessarily. Such students are impatient in waiting to ask questions, and therefore, online learning does not effectively suit them. On the same note, there are also some curricula which do are not well presented to an online learning environment. The case is typical among those courses which require physical activity to demonstrate the mastery. These include health and safety courses which enhances safety skills that must be onsite. The instructor need may need to observe the participants while they use the equipment physically.
Article for Online Education
The article which supports online education which I came across was published on 7th August 2018 on the Chronicle website by Goldie Blumenstyk. The title of the article is Online Learning is Misunderstood. Here's How. The author attempts to provide evidence on the various ways in which people have understood the concept of e-learning and gave the strengths of the learning method, and why people should embrace it. The article provides the following key points.
Premise 1: The learning process is not just a one-way passive transfer of information. The online platform provides students with an opportunity to learn, and the fact is true in all cases. It is possible to create resilient connections which are ideal.
Premise 2: The author of the article surveyed the Minnesota eLearning Summit by asking the question: what do professionals who work in the trenches wish their colleagues knew about online learning. Among the outstanding response was that online classes are creatively designed, and various faculties are learning about how to develop curriculum and courses. Most faces to face instructors learned about the subjects but failed to learn the appropriate teaching methods.
Premise 3: Traditional classroom settings are usually isolated by various factors such as age, gender and life's situations. There are also time constraints, and every learner does not get the opportunity to speak during a timed session. It is only extroverts who are more aggressive that are heard, while introverts or individuals affected by cultural constraints and physical disabilities remain unheard.
Premise 4: The rise in mergers and acquisitions and for-profit colleges converted to the non-profit status which is an emerging trend in higher education which embarks on providing higher education programs online, for example, UniversityNow. National managed to acquire various colleges and converted them into online institutions which were non-profits. The initiative was unusual for nonprofit organizations but managed to pick up successfully. The trend is continuing, meaning that online education has successfully been implemented.
Evaluation of the Reasoning
The article successfully suggests that online learning presents a perfect opportunity for personalization since it is carried out by an individual. The learners can utilize online learning when the need arises. The learning method can, therefore, adapt to how individuals respond. Students can review and reuse online learning, and share the concepts on social media networks. There is also the power behind the authoring tools which enhances options for interactivity which allows learners to develop experiential learning experiences. However, online learning can be wasted if the learning methodology is a 'one size fits all' experience which fails to recognize the learner. As a result, there is a need to integrate face to face learning in the digital realm through using a face-to-face slide deck which is hosted online. Also, the non-interactive reading experience is not utilizing the available tools, and there are risks of losing learners' engagement. Through using virtual classrooms and online networking, social learning becomes effective since it brings online experiences effectively.
Blumenstyk, G. (2018, August 7). Online Learning Is Misunderstood. Here's How. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/Online-Learning-Is/244173
Stoltz-Loike, M. (2017, March 31). 5 Ways Online Graduate Programs Prepare Future Teachers. Retrieved February 15, 2019, from https://www.usnews.com/education/online-learning-lessons/articles/2017-03-31/5-reasons-online-graduate-education-programs-build-good-teachers
Susan Dynarski, (2018, January 19th). Online Courses Are Harming the Students Who Need the Most Help. Retrieved February 15, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/19/business/online-courses-are-harming-the-students-who-need-the-most-help.html
Tania Heap, (2017, June 05). 5 Benefits of Studying Online (vs. Face-to-Face Classroom)
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