My bias for online education

I had to write this brief paper as a faculty exercise. Below is my bias =)

___________

“The Future of Online Teaching and Learning”

I thought this article would be interesting to read because it was about online teaching and learning, but it also focused on higher education. The article starts out by saying that eLearning is experiencing a “perfect e-storm” because educators are trying to merge “pedagogy, technology, and learner needs” in delivery modes such as “electronic books, simulations, text messaging, podcasting, wikis, and blogs” (Kim & Bonk, 2006, p. 22).

The authors examined several surveys that had been conducted and discovered that “only 23-45 percent of online instructors actually used online activities related to critical and creative thinking, hands-on performances, interactive labs, or data analysis” (Kim & Bonk, 2006, p. 23). This was surprising to me because I would expect the number to be much higher since there is so much technology that is available now.

The authors conducted a survey of 562 online educators (66% were teachers and the rest were administrators or instructional designers) (Kim & Bonk, 2006, p. 24). Participants were asked to complete a 42- item questionnaire regarding the “current status and future trends of online education in higher” (Kim & Bonk, 2006, p. 24). Some of the interesting findings of the study were as follows: (1) “a majority of the respondents predicted that the quality of online courses would be superior to (47 percent) or the same as (39 percent) that of traditional instruction by 2013”; and (2) “learning outcomes of online students would be either the same as (39 percent) or superior to (42 percent) those of traditionally taught students by 2013” (Kim & Bonk, 2006, p. 26). I think these findings show that the perception of online learning has changed. I remember when I first started taking online classes; people were telling me that I would not learn as much as I would in a traditional classroom, but depending on the instructor and how the course is implemented, I think more learning can take place in an online environment because there are more opportunities to help students one-on-one (for example, students can contact the instructor via email or contact the instructor through instant messaging).

This article caught my attention because of the title. I have taught online for a few years now and my preference is to teach online. I first started teaching on-campus classes, and when I switched to online teaching I was told that more work was involved with teaching online. I have come to realize that both on-campus and online teaching has the same workload, but I prefer online teaching because I can interact with the students more. I feel like I am making more of a difference in their lives.

This article relates to my current professional role because I an adjunct instructor for several schools with online programs. I believe that the future of online education will increase, and in fact I have more students now than I did a few years ago. I think this article confirms that online education (eLearning) is more widely accepted now and is almost the educational “norm” for working adults (meaning it is the main way of getting an education if someone has a full-time job/family). What is amazing to me is that the quality of online education and the learning outcomes of online learning are perceived to be superior by 2013. I believe this is because more educational tools can be utilized in an online environment versus a traditional classroom. To me, traditional classrooms (i.e. lecture only format) will be a remnant of an old educational practice. Our society is full of technological gadgets and programs and we have to find a way to utilize it for educational purposes if we want to make education less boring and mundane. Incidentally, this article stated the following, “bored students are dropping out of online classes while pleading for richer and more engaging online learning experiences” (Kim & Bonk, 2006, p. 22). I can see the advantages of online education and I can also see how eLearning can be richer than a traditional setting—there is no better way to merge education with technology than online.

References
Kim, K., & Bonk, C. J. (2006). The future of online teaching and learning in higher education. Educause Quarterly 4, 22-30.

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