LTEC 6040 – Week 1 Blog

Why Online?

Question – Why have we moved so many courses online? As students, do you feel like online courses are as good as face-to-face courses? What are the major differences between online and face-to-face (F2F) courses for you as a student? Whether you have taught one or not, what do you think the differences are for the instructor? How do we know if the formats require different skills or result in different learning outcomes? Do we?

  • One of the primary drivers for the growth of online courses is costs. There is a major move to reduce the overhead cost, maintenance, and management of a brick and mortar building.  This pressure comes from both state and federal governments.  A secondary driver is the availability of new technologies.  There are both benefits and detractors associated with implementing new technologies in instructional designs. Since this is an emerging capability there are challenges associated with converting face-to-face courses to online courses.
  • As a student I have been taking online courses for the past 10 years. Some of the courses are as good as face-to-face, but some are not managed well if at all. Due to my work schedule I find that, regardless of the quality of the course design, it is more convenient for me to take online courses instead of the extra time it takes to drive to school multiple days of the week and the time in class.  I need the flexibility that the online course affords my educational needs. 
  • The demands on the instructor is to continuously monitor and keep up with the weekly content and postings from the students. Depending on the number of students would determine the overall workload required to manage the course. In many of the online courses that I have taken, the management of the course was not done well as I didn’t see where the instructor engaged much with the course.  All of my course work was not graded until the last week of class.
  • Without a well written syllabus the student doesn’t really know what the required skills are to successfully accomplish the course. I usually see the requirements of the computer, but not the required skill set of the student. Usually, the textbook has a description of the course outcomes, but some of my previous courses did not have that documented in the syllabus.

Mark Osborne



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