A Classroom of One: How Online Learning Is Changing our by Gene I. Maeroff

By Gene I. Maeroff

This is Gene Maeroff's "report from front" at the brief heritage and standing of on-line studying within the usa and around the globe. Maeroff is a reporter who takes you to the colleges from Penn State's global Campus to the Florida digital university to the newly rising on-line studying tasks in Afghanistan. His trip finally offers a photograph of how during which expertise is altering the minds of individuals with reference to the character of upper schooling. He appears on the approach to digital supply, the standard of the data being brought and caliber of interplay it engenders. He appears to be like on the method newbies are adapting to this new expertise and what kind of accountability is wear the student's shoulders. ultimately, and perhaps tellingly, he seems to be on the enterprise of on-line learning.

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These exchanges provide answers when you cannot find them yourself. Classmates challenge your conclusions. They add insights during discussions. Classmates model good learning behavior. DELIVERING THE GOODS 25 They pose hypotheses that did not occur to you. There are wonderful classrooms like these at all levels of education in which masterful teachers weave everyone’s comments into a fine fabric that forms a beautiful tapestry of learning. There are also small seminars, especially at the graduate level, in which students thrive as interaction among classmates and with the teacher builds a foundation for deep understanding.

They are mistaken. Why should traditional schools and colleges not embrace e-learning and draw it into the mainstream, making it their own, and adapting their policies and practices to do so? Online courses need not be abandoned to those who seek profit from them, though they have a right to do so. Such courses need not be ceded to those who would do a less than excellent job with them. Even some traditional not-for-profit institutions have tended to overlook the most important aspect of online learning: what it can do to enhance the delivery system.

An impetus was the outreach mission, through so-called extension courses, that was vested in the many landgrant institutions established by states during the second half of the nineteenth century. Outreach by correspondence courses continues into the cyber age. The University of Missouri’s online high school stemmed from a correspondence program, and for some students distance education is still a combination of correspondence and online courses. Penn State’s World Campus, its online division, evolved from a distance education program rooted in the correspondence study that the university began in 1892 for farmers throughout the state.

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