Improving Public Universities - Is Online Education the Answer?

Maria Balilo's picture

 

Should we make online education a permanent part of the school curriculum?

 

The University of California aims to use online education as a new revenue source, and a solution to challenges the public university system is facing - accessibility, efficiency and costs. One big issue is the persistent problem of overcrowding in first-year introductory courses such as Reading & Composition and General Chemistry. UC administrators are thus targeting these freshman classes in their initiative to make education cost-efficient and more accessible - by offering them online instead. Many professors are against the idea of "building educational models according to business practices"; online education, they claim, does not include important factors like personal engagement between teacher and student, a university's  intellectual culture.. which impact a student's quality of learning.

 

But then again, times are changing and public universities continue to struggle for relevance. What do you think of expanding the role of online education as a solution to challenges faced by the UC? Pragmatic or counterproductive? 

Eric Jaye's picture

Have you seen this?

http://ocw.mit.edu/index

MIT offers almost all of their course content online for free. 

In an environment in which it is harder and harder for even the best students to get into college in California, and even those who do get in have trouble finishing in four years because they can't get enough classes, online options like this are sure to become more and more important.

Qmania's picture

Yes and No

Let's integrate more online options to complement classroom learning and make education more accessible.  It's getting way too expensive.  People learn better with online edu. too.  A recent study showed "On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/study-finds-that-online-educati...

However, I do think there is a difference between success in test making and success in a classroom environment, where students are tested with real-time, spontaneous interaction and discussion with peers.  It's like learning a new language, Rosetta Stone helps a lot, but if you're not practicing in the real world you won't go far.

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