More on Online Learning

iheToday’s Inside Higher Ed had an interesting article. I’ve extracted some key statements from the article:

… many colleges still know precious little about how best to organize online programs, whether those programs are profitable, and how they compare to face-to-face instruction in terms of quality. …And while a strong majority of the administrators surveyed said they believed the quality of online education was comparable to classroom learning, about half said that at their colleges the professors are in charge of assessing whether that is true.

The growth of online programs, especially at public institutions, continues to be based largely on the anticipation that such programs are the wave of the future in terms of broadening access and increasing enrollment.

A study released earlier this year by the Sloan commission and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities found that many in higher education — particularly professors — still had doubts about whether Web-based learning measured up to the kind that happens in the classroom.

Bourne said that despite the reservations of some faculty members (most of whom, he suggested, have little experience with online teaching or learning), the question of whether online teaching produces similar learning outcomes to traditional methods has been settled by 15 years’ worth of research saying it does.

But Green contended that institutions’ complacency with respect to scrutinizing online learning outcomes is misguided. “I don’t think the campus conversation about quality is over by any means,” he said. The reason, he said, is that broad-lens studies cannot offer insight on the effectiveness of a specific online program at a specific institution. “The burden still falls on the campus” to find out whether the online equivalents of its degree programs measure up to their face-to-face forbears, Green said. “If you’re teaching the same course and not using common assessment, then you just don’t know. And for too many of these things, we just don’t know.”

Here at Albany Law School, we are in the process of offering our first completely online course.  This course has been offered several ways in the past:

  • entirely at Albany Law
  • at Albany Law with some students participating at George Washington Law via videoconferencing
  • at Albany Law with some students participating in their DC apts via Adobe Connect

More details to come…



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