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      05-11-2011, 08:52 PM   #1
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Online education

Is it possible for students to learn from online courses?

I heard from an online instructor that they cannot. This was an alarming revelation.

Had this woman been a total stranger with no way to identify her with real people, I might have thought she was one of the petioners who were hired from out of state to come here and gather signatures. I didn't recognize her, but my wife did. She was the mother of a close friend to my daughter. So once my wife identified her for me, I knew this woman was not just a hired hack.

She said that her online students write in LOL, OMG, and other text messaging script on their class papers. She said that these students are failing miserably in their online courses. Thus far they seem to only be able to learn with an instructon in the room with them.

What is the solution to this problem?

BTW: Between my wife and I, one of us signed the petition. The other did not.
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      05-11-2011, 09:40 PM   #2
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Yes and no.
It's all what you make out of it and whether you do take it seriously, or if you don't as you cited. For example, I 1) go to an overcrowded budget hit CA college, therefore I cannot possibly get enough classes because they fill up in about 2 milliseconds. and 2) work over 30 hours a week. These two factors make it impossible for me to get anywhere near 16 units, even with online classes. I take my job and school very seriously, so I do in fact learn. Most kids who are breezing through with the C's get degrees mentality obviously aren't going to learn jack shit.

But if online classes were taken away from me I'd probably never get enough units to transfer. This logic applies to many things in life.
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      05-11-2011, 10:03 PM   #3
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I've taken several online classes, none of them were any easier than regular class. Maybe your professor friend isn't very good? Every class, regardless of format, is 99% dependent on the professor.

When we look back in history, we see rapid specialization of labor. Internet has accelerated this process. At this point most people need far less depth of general knowledge, and far more scope and skill in finding information online. Online format encourages that.
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      05-11-2011, 11:25 PM   #4
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When I was a student there was no such thing as an online course. The closest thing to it would have been independent study, or perhaps a correspondence course. I did several indepent study courses for credit. Never did a correspondence course. As a working class guy, I have taken many brief online training classes. They have never been anything like the instructor led or the independent study I have done. So, I can't say that I have learned much from online courses.

My kid is in Junior High School. They don't take online classes there. The petition being circulated is about whether a couple online courses a year should or not be required in high school. Whatever the outcome, it will affect my kid in high school.

At what grade does instruction in the schools usually begin to teach how to succeed in online classes? Or if they never do that, at what grade level do other states either offer or require online classes in the public schools?

It looks like we will have this petition on the ballot in the near future as the signature drive may already have enough support.

I have an opinion on the subject, but it is uncertain as I don't have enough information.
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      05-11-2011, 11:32 PM   #5
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check out www.educator.com
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      05-12-2011, 12:03 AM   #6
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I think it really depends on the course and the motivation of the person taking the course. My experience with online courses primarily stems from online preparatory courses for standardized exam (I've taken my fair share of these, and still have a few to go).

Unlike small group, instructor-led courses, online course remind me of the old adage "you get out of it what you put into it."

I usually think of online courses as a study aid rather than a comprehensive learning experience - it's really important, in my opinion, to supplement them with learning from books, lectures, personal research, or whatever else.

I also think online courses are a terrible idea for high school students and younger. Students at that age usually do not have the focus or drive to use their computer solely as a study tool. You can thank the internet for that one.
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      05-12-2011, 12:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twoturboz View Post
Yes and no.
It's all what you make out of it and whether you do take it seriously,
Quote:
Originally Posted by pman10 View Post
I think it really depends on the course and the motivation of the person taking the course. "you get out of it what you put into it."
Is it more dependent upon the student making something of it than it is in a traditional classroom environement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Negotiator View Post
I've taken several online classes, none of them were any easier than regular class. Maybe your professor friend isn't very good? Every class, regardless of format, is 99% dependent on the professor.

When we look back in history, we see rapid specialization of labor. Internet has accelerated this process. At this point most people need far less depth of general knowledge, and far more scope and skill in finding information online. Online format encourages that.
Is it possible for the professor to keep control in an online course as well as some do in the traditional classroom? (I say some, because some teachers are miserable failures in the classroom.)
Is specialization more possible in the online course, than in the classroom?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman10 View Post
I usually think of online courses as a study aid rather than a comprehensive learning experience - it's really important, in my opinion, to supplement them with learning from books, lectures, personal research, or whatever else.

I also think online courses are a terrible idea for high school students and younger. Students at that age usually do not have the focus or drive to use their computer solely as a study tool. You can thank the internet for that one.
This seems to be your confirmation that the online course is not for all students. In a traditional classroom, perhaps a class in algebra is not for all students. I don't know if algebra is required of all students by some grade. If a student can't get an A or even a C should they not have to take the course? Do the schools still dish out D's and E's by grading on a curve? Or did that go away in this present day?

I really appreciate the insight. It has been a long time since I have been a student, and to get a better idea of what students face today is really helpful.
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      05-12-2011, 12:37 AM   #8
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No, I believe that kids who will sleep during online education are the same kids degenerating in regular classes... (if that's what you're asking.)

Also, for a Jr. High kid, I'd say no. Online should be only through college level. Jr. High is too key to social development.

High school sure - situational though.
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      05-12-2011, 11:30 AM   #9
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Scottwww:

I was speaking from personal experience. I found that as a high school student, I did not have the focus or perseverance to learn most subjects on my own, and so having an actual, in-person instructor (combined with peer pressure) encouraged me to keep up with my work and study at least somewhat effectively. There are dynamics in a live classroom that cannot be replicated in an online classroom: the presence of your friends and peers, the ability to walk up to the teacher to ask for clarifications or assistance, etc.

As far as grading systems, my high school was A-F. Most of my teachers graded on a curve, with the goal of keeping the class average around a B-/C+. However, it's been at least a decade since I've been in a high school classroom, so I can't comment on current grading techniques. I don't know when schools are mandated to take Algebra - I can just tell you that I took it in 8th grade. No idea if that is normal or not.
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      05-12-2011, 11:38 AM   #10
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I have taken courses online as well as many of my close friends. It's all what you make it. If you able to learn on your own (mostly), on your own time, while still meeting the class deadlines, then yes it works out great. You have to be disciplined and motivated to do online courses or you will procrastinate and fail.
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      05-12-2011, 01:17 PM   #11
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I have taken courses online as well as many of my close friends. It's all what you make it. If you able to learn on your own (mostly), on your own time, while still meeting the class deadlines, then yes it works out great. You have to be disciplined and motivated to do online courses or you will procrastinate and fail.
So, the grade results of taking online classes may give indication of not only their understanding of the subject matter, but also indicate the students ability to be a self-motivator and to work without direct supervision?

By requiring a couple online classes a year, might a desirable trait be developed in a high school student who would otherwise struggle when faced with online classes that are required by an employer? Or for continuing education credits in their profession?

One of the things that irritated me about school when I was a student, and irritates me today with my kid as a student, is that they don't teach how to learn. The only teach a subject. Of course they need to teach subjects. But why not teach how to study. How to research. How to work in the real world?
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      05-12-2011, 01:18 PM   #12
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When I took a business class online, i was really involved and did plenty of research... mainly cause I enjoyed the topic and wanted to learn

when I took a Business Ethics class... at the beginning I read everything, did my work, was interested... then the actual 'ethics' part started to come into play and I got bored and didn't care anymore...I may my gf at the time do my research paper for me and take the final for me.
Since it was an online class, the teacher couldn't tell.

I took an accounting class online...and it was one of the most difficult classes I have ever taken. Not that accounting is that difficult.. but not having someone explain it to you made it difficult.
Thus, my friends and I took our online tests etc together
Cheating yes...but no way to prove it.

Online classes are what you make out of them... I learn more from a class setting cause you're forced to go
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      05-12-2011, 01:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
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So, the grade results of taking online classes may give indication of not only their understanding of the subject matter, but also indicate the students ability to be a self-motivator and to work without direct supervision?

Yes, I believe it indicates the students ability to be a self-motivator and work on his own. Many people I know simply can't do online course as they lack motivation to finish or actually learn. It doesn't necessarily give an indication of the understanding of the subject matter because you have the ability to "cheat" on test/quiz that in a normal class setting you wouldn't have that advantage. I would say if taking online courses and you aren't actually interested in the class, you would not learn as much as you could in a regular class where they would have to actually study and be prepared for the tests.


By requiring a couple online classes a year, might a desirable trait be developed in a high school student who would otherwise struggle when faced with online classes that are required by an employer? Or for continuing education credits in their profession?

Yes, but I would allow them to do something they are interested in, that way they would actually make use of it and learn...Not just get by by searching Google for the answers.

One of the things that irritated me about school when I was a student, and irritates me today with my kid as a student, is that they don't teach how to learn. The only teach a subject. Of course they need to teach subjects. But why not teach how to study. How to research. How to work in the real world?
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