On-Line but Off-Track

March 1, 2013

The next time I’m  sitting through yet another talk encouraging us to move courses online because “our students lives are so complicated”, I’ll raise my hand and ask what Those So Encouraging us have read this Columbia Teachers’ College study on who is and isn’t successful in on-line learning:

While all types of students in the study suffered decrements in performance in online courses, some struggled more than others to adapt: males, younger students, Black students, and students with lower grade point averages.

I understand that on-line learning comes in many forms and that we’re only beginning to explore the potential of digital learning to equalize opportunity.

But we know that college is about so much more than eventually getting the right answers on the test, and sitting alone at your computer screen — even with the best “social” features of a course management system — will never afford students new to college the sense of belonging and visibility that evaded so many of us in our early years in college classrooms.

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