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Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Online learning is misunderstood. Here’s how. | Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

"One out of three college students takes at least one class online. But we still get a lot wrong about the medium, according to professionals who work in the trenches" observes Goldie Blumenstyk, senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education covering innovation in and around academe. 


One out of three college students takes at least one class online. But the medium is still often misunderstood by the general public, and even within higher education itself.

So what do the professionals who work in the trenches wish their colleagues knew about online education? You might be surprised. I certainly was.

I asked that question during a talk I gave last week during the Minnesota eLearning Summit at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus (where, by the way, the campus creamery makes some yummy chocolate ice cream).

From Glori Hinck, an instructional designer at the University of St. Thomas, I heard a reminder that the classes aren’t just a one-way, “passive transfer of information.” Even online, she pointed out, “students can have a learning community.” I’d like to hope that is true in all cases, but certainly she’s right that such connections are possible — and ideal.

Christine Mueller, senior executive associate dean for academic programs at the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing, argued that online classes are often more carefully designed than their bricks-and-mortar counterparts. “Our faculty are actually learning about how you construct courses and curriculum,” she said. “Honestly, most faculty, and I’m one of them, never learned that. We learned our discipline. But we didn’t learn how to teach.”

That sentiment has been around for a while. But it did make me wonder: When will that no longer be so true? I keep hearing that graduate programs are taking teaching more seriously as part of their training of the professoriate. Is that enough? And does that training equip new professors with the skills they’ll need to teach online?...

And for a deeper look at that model — and many other insights on business models — check out this just-published report on “Sustaining the College Business Model” by my colleague Scott Carlson, Senior Writer at The Chronicle of HIgher Education.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education