[Air-L] Using brick-space measures- Online Education Beats the Classroom

William Brantley wbran001 at waldenu.edu
Thu Aug 20 06:44:18 PDT 2009

Steve brings up a good point here.

During the timespan of the metastudy (1996 to 2008), Internet technology has changed greatly while traditional classroom technology has changed little.  In fact, the biggest change in f2f teaching has been the increasing use of PowerPoint which probably diminished classroom interaction thus leading to less student engagement.  As Steve pointed out, the new media became less like the old media and developed methods to better engage the student.  Leaving out the differences in innovation makes for an unfair comparison.

To me, whether online or f2f is better is a false dilemma.  Online technology is valuable as a content delivery system but it is the conversations with peers and the teacher that turns information into knowledge.  As I read the report, I see it as evidence that a blended learning approach is the most effective (http://thejournal.com/articles/2009/07/01/meta-analysis-is-blended-learning-most-effective.aspx).  And that fits in with my experience as both a traditional instructor and online instructor.  This is an interesting study but I think the debate should be more about how learning itself has changed rather than the learnings tools have changed.

Bill Brantley
Credentials: http://www.linkedin.com/in/billbrantley

Original E-mail 
From: Steve Cavrak <Steve.Cavrak at Uvm.Edu>
Date: 08/20/2009 08:00 AM
To: tom abeles <tabeles at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Air-L] Using brick-space measures- Online Education Beats the Classroom

On Aug 19, 2009, at 2:56 PM, tom abeles wrote:

> Has anyone suggested that the brick and click comparisons may be  
> measuring the wrong variables. with the changing nature of knowledge  
> and knowledge acquisition? In other words are the studies measuring  
> what could be measured using an old lens and the easiest variables  
> to assess, like the drunk looking for keys where the light is rather  
> than in the dark where they were dropped?

>From my reading, the (meta) study was of 99 cases of a course that  
had two sections - an online section and a non-online section. So yes,  
they were measuring by the old standard, and yes, the new approach did  
old things better than the old way.

In someway, it addresses faculty's apprehension of "doing worse"  
rather "doing better."  (It also illustrates the first law of "new  
media" - the first content of new media is old media.

Once faculty get comfortable with the newer format, often they get  
quite innovative. And yes, as iTunes U and YouTube show, often they  
fossilize their old methods.

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