Second Thoughts on Online Education (Or At Least The People Reporting On It)

Been out for a bit to help welcome a new EduGeek in the world.  I come back hoping to find a great new world of Ed Tech, grown and matured since I last left it.  Instead, I find the same silliness, like this article in the New York Times:

Second Thoughts on Online Education

You probably don’t even need to read it to know what happened.  A large university did a study where they compared the outcomes of a large lecture hall class to the outcomes from an “online” course with taped lectures.

Bad pedagogy vs. bad pedagogy – guess who won?  Oh, come on and say it with me – whining can help you feel better.  Ready?

Who won? No one.

Oh, the author talks about what the results possibly tell us, because certain groups (men, minorities, etc) performed worse in the online version than their counterparts in the face-to-face version.  Some crazy theories about why this is so are also posted: men like to procrastinate (and online videos help that), people that can’t speak English can’t pick up as well on non-verbal clues online, etc.

Could it possibly be that taped online lectures – no matter how well produced – are boring? No one likes to watch a talking head on a screen for hours.  Certain groups probably performed poorer just because they got bored faster.

Guess that brave new world of educational utopia is still down the road a bit….

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

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