[Air-L] Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom

Radhika Gajjala cyborgwati at gmail.com
Wed Aug 19 16:04:20 PDT 2009

Christian I agree.

Its not online vs offline - but difference in pedagogy and engagement. The
student has to be active in online discussion to be "present" - likewise the
instructor has to be engaged on various levels in order to keep up with
"teaching" in an online setting.

It also takes much more time and effort on the part of the instructor before
- in preparing - and during class ...


On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 4:57 PM, Christian Nelson <xianknelson at mac.com>wrote:

> Oops, forgot that pesky new policy and responded only to Gerry.
> Anyway, here are my concerns about this news.
> First, I wonder if the researchers controlled for student ability and
> motivation. Online students tend to be the more bright and motivated ones.
> Second, I wonder if they controlled for amount of student-teacher
> interaction. I suspect that most online teachers are adjuncts and
> non-tenured folks from whom much student interaction time can be demanded,
> and student-instructor interaction seems unavoidable in online courses, much
> as online instructors might seek to limit it. (At least, that was true in
> the one I took. My professor vigorously tried to avoid or at least lessen
> interaction, but had a hard time doing so.)  On the other hand, most
> off-line teaching is low in student-teacher interaction. Research indicates
> that even most discussion section teaching is lecturing--the same kind of
> thing you'd find in a large lecture hall . . . or on a TV delivering
> distance ed. courses for that matter. In light of that, it is little wonder
> that students might do better online, given that interaction is unavoidable
> in online courses.
> If amount of interaction is the cause of the difference found here, it is
> then misleading to pose this as a difference between online and
> "face-to-face" teaching, and unfortunate that it does so, because I'm sure
> that truly discussion-focused face-to-face teaching trumps online teaching,
> at least as its found in the majority of places today. And there's no
> guarantee that online teaching will maintain its level of student-instructor
> interaction--soon we'll have teaching via video-conferencing and with it a
> likely increased presence of lecturing and its equivalents online.
>  --Christian Nelson
Radhika Gajjala
Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies
Interim Women's Studies Director 2009-2010
233 Shatzel
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH  43403

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