The Quality of Online Classes

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by John of Japan, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Check it out. 72% of profs who teach online (and these are volunteers) think their students don't deserve the credit: http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/22/72...ses-dont-think-their-students-deserve-credit/

    Have you taken online courses? If so, what did you think?

    I took some online seminary courses. I would imagine that grad courses online are closer to the campus thing, since they involve a lot more outside reading and more writing. So I can see how undergrad courses might be lacking. But even so, I treasure the personal, in person contact between the prof and the student, and that is somewhat lacking in online education. I'm still friends with two of my seminary profs from 1976!
     
  2. webdog

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    Could it be these professors might be somewhat biased as chances are they earned their educations through physical classroom?
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    Exactly.

    I have been in both situations. I see no difference in the quality of teaching being delivered.
     
  4. RG2

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    I think it's important to read the article carefully. They interviewed professors in these FREE Massive Classrooms, not professors who teach normal online classes.

    These classes are offered for no tuition, and are open to everyone. So you have a lot of people who probably don't really care, and you have a bunch of people who wouldn't be able to actually pass minimum requirements for entrance to a university. Right now they aren't for credit either, so there's no incentive to actually do work in the class.

    "The Chronicle survey considered courses open to anyone, enrolling hundreds or even thousands of users (the median number of students per class was 33,000). About half of the professors who responded were still in the process of teaching their first MOOC, while the rest had led an open online course that had completed at least one full term."

    I can tell you that every online class I've taken from a reputable university has been more difficult than the in class variant. It required more reading and more tests and papers.
     
  5. John of Japan

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    Thanks! This clears up some things. I had never heard of an MOOC program. I can see how these profs would think the way they do now.
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    I don't know too many in higher ed who are ecstatic about MOOC and allowing them to be transferred in as creditable hours for a degree. There are lots of challenges, particularly as it relates to assessments.

    From what I've both done, been involved in, and facilitated as a student, adjunct and online faculty member online classes have potential to rival learning in on campus classes. If the syllabus is rigorous, the assessments are complete, and instruction is competent there can be good things accomplished through online studies. I do not, however, believe any degree (well maybe some certification programs) should be solely online. Nothing can replace a classroom interaction.

    That said, not all classroom environments are conducive to attaining educational goals.

    Properly developed online courses coupled with a) rigorous course assessment, b) periodic assessments for a degree program, c) student/faculty interaction, d) critical thinking assignments, and d) thorough video lecture can produce quality results.

    I'm not convinced online only is a good method.
     
  7. reverist

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    I'm currently teaching, as an adjunct, an online class for the first time. It is hectic, with a semester's worth of work broken up into eight weeks. It's tough to know whether they deserve the credit or not. I feel that the writing is substandard (so far), and there's just no way to know that they're really not cheating on the quizzes/tests. But I believe the lesson with online courses is this: you get out of it what you put into it. Those who want to learn will learn through the online format. It just makes it easier for those slackers to slip by (which is problematic).
     
  8. RG2

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    I actually differ in opinion on this part. I believe there is plenty more chances for someone to slip by in a regular class than in a online class. Online classes usually require more interaction, where it's easier for a people to slip into the background in a normal class. Attendance is easier to monitor in online classes than large lecture classes. Now I do have to admit cheating is pretty prevalent in either situation.

    It seems that a professor would be able to grade harder in online classes than in standard. You haven't seen the student, you haven't built a relationship with the student, you don't have to worry about the student knocking down your door crying because they got a bad mark.

    I don't think there is a perfect situation. I know though that people don't seem to appreciate things they don't have a stake in. If the class is offered for free, people don't think they need to put in the work.
     
  9. kfinks

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    My entire MBA was online. The materials used were the same as the campus classes, the class same was approximately the same, the testing was normally the same, and the assignments were usually a bit more rigorous due to the required participation in the discussion forums.

    I was able to interact just as effectively with my professors via email and chat rooms as I would have in a classroom.

    One of the added benefits was the interaction with a variety of students across the country with varying careers and backgrounds. This enabled us to form teams for group projects regardless of physical location.
     
  10. John of Japan

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    If you don't mind my asking, where do you teach? (You can PM me if you don't want to say here.)

    It may be that someday I'll be able to retire from the mission field and teach missions somewhere.
     
  11. Havensdad

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    This is where I completely disagree. Online interaction (forums, real-time chats, etc.) far surpass face to face interaction in terms of learning. The advantages are too numerous to count:

    #1 The Human brain tends to remember material better, when a person is forced to write it down, rather than just spouting out whatever comes to their mind. This has been shown over and over. A person is more likely to remember information that they were given via a written format, and they are more likely to remember important points that they came up with, when they are forced to write them down in an organized fashion.

    #2 Written communication allows one to go back later, and review what was said. This is almost always impossible with a classroom environment, and people end up coming back and saying, "Hey what was that important point you made?" With the other person replying, "I don't remember."

    #3 Many (I would say most) people in a B & M classroom, do not engage in classroom conversations; it tends to be dominated by a few of the brighter students. Classroom interaction is rarely part of the grade, and even if it is, "officially" it is usually ignored by professors. In an online environment, discussion participation is graded; EVERY student must participate in the discussion, and there grade is directly affected.


    Online instruction is simply superior, in my opinion. Its not just "equivalent"...its better.
     
  12. RG2

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    I agree with everything you said, but I must change a word in this statement. Conversation is not dominated by the "brighter" students. It is dominated by the more extroverted gregarious students. I've been in many classes where the people dominating the conversation were some of the people with the lowest grades, but they were the forceful talkers that pretty much squeezed everyone else out of the conversation.

    Online classes allow time for introverts to gather their thoughts and place their responses. It allows time for listening and reflection instead of just bulldozing.

    Anyway, I guess I agree that it doesn't REPLACE classroom interaction. However, who's to say that what we currently have in classroom interaction is the best thing?

    On to another topic, I have to admit one thing I've enjoyed about a lot of the online classes I've taken is simply the ability to back and review the lecture again.
     
  13. John of Japan

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    These are good points, especially about who dominates a discussion and how the more introverted students can participate better online. Thank you.
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    Of course I'm not the least bit surprised that you disagree...or that you've misrepresented my position. ;)

    I would say that in my experience as faculty and a student who has done both on campus and online class (both teaching and being a student) there is a difference.

    As I noted in my previous post, I don't suggest that all a degree needs to be done on campus. In fact, some online studies are more conducive to a well rounded degree. Think of the student who spends 2 years in an on campus situation and then 2 years in a field education/training scenario. Depending on the profession or degree this could be invaluable.

    However, (this is where I put my online prof hat on) too often the students I've encountered in my online classes fall far below the academic level of students I've encountered when teaching on campus. This is just a simple truth. As an example:

    One semester I taught the same course as an adjunct on campus faculty members (showing up for my evening class once a week) and also facilitated the class in two online classes. I presented the same lectures, required the same research, but added interaction assignments and a quarter term test for the online class while providing several pop quizzes in the on campus class.

    At the end of the semester when I went to review their written assignments and the critical thinking portion of their quantitative exam, the online students work was considerably lower than the on campus students. Since this was not an entry-level class, the disparity would have come from ingrained study habits and academic performance.

    I queried several colleagues who had the same set up (though in different disciplines) and they admitted the same tension between their on campus and online students.

    The point is this: I'm all for providing effective online options for degrees. Too often the old guard of the educational establishment simply fear the welfare of their institutions and are given over to a specific pedagogical style. Online can be effective. However, we need to make sure the students in online work are held to just as high a standard as their peers.

    The empirical data about online vs. on campus studies simply doesn't provide a framework for saying that online is automatically superior. No realistic person in the educational world would agree with that at this point. Of course, I also acknowledge that there is a new paradigm out there that should be pushed.

    One of the biggest challenges in higher education is that essentially we are telling an entire generation (or two at this point) that if you spend $______ on your degree you are going to be able to make a comfortable living. We aren't giving them a product that crafts them into lifelong learners or even properly moulds them into adults. Instead we put them into a process, spit them out at the end, and in between have given too many of them little incentive to actually learn how to think. That is a huge problem in higher ed.

    College isn't for everybody, but it should be available to anybody.

    Online represents a good mix of discipline and pedagogical options. However, the discipline and accountability of a live classroom have benefits that online hasn't replaced. I can't get around to seeing online as superior. There is simply no data other than ad hoc conjecture which leads us to believe this. Yet if we continue to develop appropriate systems and procedures we can see a better online classroom develop.

    Thanks for the reply. :)
     
  15. reverist

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    Hi John, sorry I didn't get back to you. I teach in an adjunct capacity for Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville. They're looking to expand their online offerings eventually, but for now course offerings are limited. I myself do not know the next online class I will teach! lol
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Thanks for the info, brother. God bless.
     
  17. Deacon

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    My daughter had the opportunity to take on-line courses with Liberty on the GI bill of her husband while living with us when he was overseas.

    I overlooked her while testing in theology because I was interested to see how they compared.
    I was impressed with the rigorurus program.
    Reading, video, written assignments and disscussion groups filled out the program's learning methods.

    I personally think her on-line experence was more vigorus than any classroom experence I ever took.

    I see it as the future of education.

    Rob
     
  18. John of Japan

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    Interesting, Rob, thanks.
     
  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Ive been taking college level courses myself recently & experimenting with the online variety at the university I attend & for the most part, the more technical the course, the more inclined I am to participate in the on line variety (for the reasons you described). If its related to social type courses like negotiations, psychology, business then I prefer face to face interaction .

    Im now toying with developing a church with an INTERNET link for the elderly, the shut in's, & anyone who cant get out of the house. Ann might be able to help me with that.
     
  20. Havensdad

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    Simply disagree. The online format is more challenging, and requires self discipline that the scheduled, B & M classroom simply does not.

    Yeah, except the actual studies that have been done, that show fairly definitively that online instruction is superior (at least, according to the quantitative data)...


    There is simply no advantage to the B & M classroom. Used to, you could say there was interaction that you could not get through distance ed.; you simply cannot say that anymore. B & M is time wasting, provides no interaction for less vocal students, and is typically more expensive to boot (housing, travel, etc.).
     

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