Online education is emerging in all school environments. In “Disrupting Class”, the authors project that by 2019, fifty percent of all high school coursed will be delivered online. (Christenson, Horn, Staker, 8), and a growing number of universities have extended online offerings. Using the internet as a supplemental tool to traditional education is logical, but with the high levels of education necessary to compete in the world economy, individuals and institutions must conduct due diligence to determine which classes should be offered at what level, and to whom in insure we are doing the best we can for our future.
As the world around us changes, our education system needs overhaul to remain competitive, but that does not necessarily translate into the method of content delivery. Students coming out of the No Child Left Behind era were taught to test with a lesser emphasis on critical thinking. In addition, social media is making face-to-face communication a lost art. Receiving a comprehensive education is salient, and the ethics involved in pursuing a degree can be easily compromised when the wrong individual is offered or chooses online classes. Teachers and administrators in the middle and high school setting can now give up on problem students and with a somewhat clear conscience, push them toward options like Florida Virtual School. Many times these students need additional care and guidance to have a chance of becoming productive citizens. Removing them from the classroom is not likely to accomplish this and passing this task to ill-equipped parents may add extra pressure into an already volatile situation.
I am taking my first online course this semester and have frequently found discussion postings copied and pasted directly from the internet. Text books are easily accessed, and discussion and quiz questions are a few key strokes away. The class schedule instructs students to participate in discussions by responding to the question posted for each chapter, and respond to two classmate’s posts with a substantive response. The result is twenty something people stating the same thing in their original post, frequently an exact copy and paste response found online. Substantive responses are generally similar to, “I love how you formatted your response,” and “Love your bullet points” (and yes they are talking about the actual bullets, not the bulleted information). Traditional class discussions would be more informative, even allowing for the ones that sit in the back without participating. Are they learning or simply passing?
Dropout rates within the online realm are higher than in the traditional education setting. In an article in the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik reports that a branch of Cal State University enrolled 300 students in three introductory online courses. California Governor Jerry Brown attended the announcement ceremony, declaring the endeavor an ‘…exciting moment in the intellectual history of our state and the...