Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012 | Inside Higher Ed

I find this a little depressing, though full of interesting figures.

It is interesting and astonishing that there is still such notable resistance to online learning among conventional faculty, even though there are positive signs that many recognise potential and actual value in extending the media and methods they are attached to. The notion that blended learning (in this report meaning a mix of online and face to face) done right could conceivably be worse than face to face is particularly bizarre, as it carries no learning implications one way or the other about dropping what people already do. If what they already do is OK, then it is hard to see how (assuming mindful design and a recognition of systemic interdependencies) it could be made worse by adding new capacities and possibilities.

I think that this all springs from asking the wrong questions in the first place.  Asking whether online learning is better for learning than face to face learning makes no more sense than asking whether people using paint brushes produce better art than designers using Photoshop. It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

Despite the stupidity of many of the assumptions and questions in this report, it provides a very interesting snapshot of attitudes, prejudices and beliefs held by college professors in the US, as well as a good overview of how institutions are thinking about the use of various tools and methods. In spite of its blindspots, this is good information, and fuel for the struggle to get over some of the hurdles that stand in the way of common sense and good teaching practice.

Address of the bookmark:

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.