PLN Activity 8

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http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/online-courses-could-widen-achievement-gaps-among-students/42521

Jake New proposes an interesting point of view on online courses in this article. He explains that online courses could be actually widening the achievement gap of today’s students. Jake says that although studies have shown that online courses can be of great benefit to older students who are living at home and can’t attend a physical school, there are other studies that have been done that suggest online courses decrease a student’s likelihood of getting a degree.

I found this piece of information rather insightful and began to wonder why this may be the case. I came up with a few possible reasons:

  1. Students taking these online classes already lack the motivation and drive to attend a classes in a physical setting.
  2. There isn’t as much of a feeling of community when you’re online because the face-to-face interaction isn’t there; whereas at a university, you attend classes and see familiar faces around classes, which may prompt you to enjoy the college experience/education moreso.
  3. Student’s who are enrolling for these classes may just be looking for an “easy way out” of attending school by taking online courses, but end up learning that they have the same (if not harder) level of difficulty as any other class.

Regardless of the reasoning behind this data, it prompted me to wonder what education will look like in 10, 15, or even 20 years. Online courses are a rather new idea, as they’ve only been around for the past decade or so. Will they become more popular in years to come? Or will people lose interest and start to prefer attending physical classes instead?

What do you think?

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