Why Online Courseware Can't Replace A 4-Year Degree
Dec 28, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

More techno-scepticism following in the wake of this year's MOOC hysteria. Andrew Grauer argues that online learning will not replace traditional learning until the resolution of "key issues currently plaguing the advancement of online education." All very fine, but the "key issues" he flags are ridiculous:

  • teaching methods to deliver the same lecture experience via your computer as in a live classroom

  • online communities that are sufficiently collaborative yet plagiarism free

  • easily and readily connecting with a professor, tutor or classmate when a question arises during a lecture

The supposition, of course, is that replicating the classroom experience is what online learning should strive toward. But i think we can do rather better than that. To paraphrase an example used in the article, if the skill being learned is how to play golf, taking a class is like being told how to play golf, watching videos is like watching golf, while online learning is like a golf simulation system. Sure, it's not golf - but it's a lot better than a lecture about golf. And that - I might add - is why online learning will replace traditional learning. Not this year. But soon.

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Re: Why Online Courseware Can't Replace A 4-Year Degree

I see F2F and online learning as potentially complimentary. Looked at as a coherent set of objectives, some aspects of learning will best be done online whereas other aspects will be better accomplished in F2F settings. [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: Why Online Courseware Can't Replace A 4-Year Degree

During the Industrial Revolution, Education System was about stuffing children with facts and facts alone (Hard Times by Charles Dickens) and thus the schools did not teach but manufactured products. A set curriculum, a muffled creativity, biblical teachings! Somewhere the trend stayed and thus we saw a need to engage students more, and thus a stress on practical learning. And now when technology has taken over, we are looking towards increased reliance on internet for education and skill-building. Saying NEVER is an understatement. Walled Education is valuable when you talk of Yale or Harvard or Oxford. But what of all the other walled institutes which are the major contributors to maximum graduates every year, all over the world. Not all of them are recognized or provide quality education. Hence, the supposition is absurd and almost on its way to be obsolete. The year has almost ended, but 2013 will be the year of Online Education!! [Comment] [Permalink]

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