How Effective Is Online Education? Essay

2537 words - 11 pages

Abstract: Recently, there has been a rush to create web-based instructional courses. The approach that is being taken to create web-based courses is to create websites that will function as the central distributors of information and materials. Based on the format and content of the course, the student is to go through lesson by lesson to complete courses. In this paper, I address some of the problems inherent in this approach, especially with respect to 18-22 year-old undergraduate education.

Introduction

Technology has had a large impact on the field of education. The proliferation of multimedia resources and limitless amounts of information available through the Internet ...view middle of the document...

Our current theory on education hasn’t adequately dealt with the intricacies of a web-based education, and therefore the effectiveness of such is highly questionable.

Initiative

One of the most essential ingredients to an effective instructional environment is the initiative of the student. For the traditional undergraduate college student, this is one of the areas in which most problems exist [2]. The ‘traditional’ undergraduate college student should be construed as an average male and female between the ages of 18 and 22 who is at a transitional phase in life and learning to deal with independence. If a person who already lacks motivation to attend class with real-life professor is told to take a course with a virtual professor, it is a recipe for disaster. The self-paced nature of virtual courses may breed new levels of procrastination for college students. These types of courses are adequate for more mature students whom have learned to pace themselves, and can stay motivated.

Classroom Relationships

The effectiveness of a student’s learning is greatly augmented via the presence of fellow students [8]. The amount of learning that a person can do by working with another student is critical to the level of understanding and mastery that students can achieve. Students are more likely to ask each other questions related to the course materials than they are to ask the professor. The re-interpretation and paraphrasing of the coursework helps cement the understanding of both individuals.

For traditional undergraduates, the experience and growth that occurs from interacting with their peers is an important part of their undergraduate experience. Provided the institution is diverse (a goal of many schools), the student can learn about different countries and cultures via interactions with students of various backgrounds and origins. Learning is therefore transformed into a full-time occupation. At the same time, the student develops a stronger sense of identity and self. The student’s social and communicative skills become refined such that he or she can effectively communicate with people from all backgrounds. A person graduating from an online university would lack these interactive skills that are essential to success in the world today.

The fact that the student-to-teacher interaction is lost is also significant [23]. The personal relationships that students develop with professors are beneficial to their academic and personal development. By interacting with the professors, they can acquire mentors and role models. Their vision of who they are and what they want is affected by the interactions they have in college. By taking an online course, the loss of direct contact with the professor is significant. Students may feel too detached from the work.

Communication

The effectiveness of the manner of communication in the classroom is an element that is central to the...

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