Friday, July 31, 2009

Benefits of online unversity courses

It is always great to listen to a professor talk about the benefits of online learning in one of his classes. In this case it is Dr. Gregory Stone, an associate professor of research and measurement at the University of Toledo and a board member at ABCTE. He is teaching online classes and is amazed by two things:

  1. More discussion of topics by students
  2. More students appear to be doing the reading

Both anecdotal but make a lot of sense. Students are naturally shy and, with a few notable exceptions in every class, this generation does not seem too eager to answer questions in front of their peers. In an online atmosphere students can prepare their responses and have a lot less fear of putting comments on bulletin boards and chats.

As for connection to his students, Dr. Stone says he has a lot more contact with more individuals in the class which has been a huge bonus for online classes. But the biggest surprise is the fact that most students appear to be doing the reading to be prepared for the chats – much more then did the reading in brick and mortar classes.

Bottom line is better learning for his students to the point that he would prefer to keep this class online. However, not all classes benefit from the online experience once again pointing to the hybrid model of learning that will be the future of education.