|By amd on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 09:03 pm: Edit|
My son is taking an AP Calculus BC course at Oklahoma State University, via the Internet. (Last year, he took an AP Calculus AB course here.) If I were to judge this university by the professor of these courses and the TAs, the university is perfectly fine.
|By George Meany on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 10:57 am: Edit|
I think distance education is great, giving the masses access to perhaps otherwise unobtainable higher education. However, it looks like the elitist-purist community thinks that the only "proper" way to get college credits is in the classroom, interacting with real-time biological entities rather than a virtual source.
I must admit that there's something to be said for being able to thrust your hand skyward and pierce a prof's position with an inspired counterpoint. Ah, those were the days. Maybe that's what's missing from the distance experience. (Maybe I'm a latent elitist.)
|By amd on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 01:18 pm: Edit|
1. I think that way in the future Distance Learning may supplant what we have now.
2. Lectures are an anachronism - a holdover from preprinting days.
3. Seminar and discussions have a place. However, often, the views uttered are banal.
4. The problem with most courses is that the pace is controlled by the teacher and not the student.
There have been exceptions as in the widely tried Personalized System of Instruction (pioneered by Fred Keller). (Fred based PSI on B.F.Skinner's work.) The College of Arts and Sciences at the Univ of Florida attempted to teach all its courses once using PSI.
5. Moving from the sublime to the mundane, I am very pleased by the TA's of my son's course. Almost all interaction is very beneficial. The TA's are not even all math majors - however, their knowledge and attitude are impressive.
|By ParThree on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 02:48 pm: Edit|
Amd, I think the benefits of a body-in-the-classroom are overrated. Once in a blue moon you may get a truly inspirational professor or an oustanding exchange of ideas in the classroom, but not usually. My personal learning style was far more suited to bookwork - I attended class mainly to know what might be on the tests so I could study on my own. From a pure learning standpoint, I can see that distance learning might be an equal, if not superior, alternative to lectures and recitations.
However, the residential college experience is still hard to replace. A lot of learning and maturation goes on outside the classroom. Some of the interests I developed in undergrad school, mostly outside the classroom, ended up being major career influences.
I think a residential undergrad experience is still VERY desirable for any student that can afford it. However, I can see distance learning supplementing this experience, e.g., allowing a student to enroll in classes not offered on his campus. This could make colleges more efficient - they could focus on what they were good at, and let students take classes from the best colleges in other specific areas. Why have a few second-rate classics courses if you could offer Harvard's full classics curriculum? (I'm thinking a bit in the future now...)
Distance learning might also be great for post-grad learning experiences, leading to advanced degrees, certifications, or just expanded knowledge.
Of course, some students may not be able to afford a traditional, four-year residential undergrad experience. Distance learning would have the potential to be very cost effective for either full-time or part time students, either working from home or in a local college setting.
|By amd on Thursday, December 27, 2001 - 03:59 pm: Edit|
I agree with you that 'a residential undergrad experience is still VERY desirable for any student'. However, do they need four years of it? Just like Study Abroad, colleges may offer Study at College programs and students may take different amounts of it, based on their interest and size of their wallet. These programs may in fact be optimized to get maximum benefit from the presence of the students at college. Parents won't care whether a college has a reputation as a party school or not, if their kids are going to be their only for short periods of time. Of course, all these will change the present college setup quite a bit, as will all revolutions.
|By ParThree on Thursday, December 27, 2001 - 04:41 pm: Edit|
Some people suggest doing community college for a couple of years before transferring to a major state U. I think it's the same kind of issue as partial distance learning, which cuts to the core of what one expects from the college experience. There is little doubt that other approaches are cheaper than 4 years at a residential college, and may enable similar learning of course material.
I think that the true residential college experience is, in fact, pretty close the the 4 year span. Not that there can't be variations, but I think the initial experience of being a new freshman and living with many others making the same adjustments is particularly important in the maturation process. Progressing through 4 years with many of these same people, plus encountering new ones, is important too. The sense of community among fellow freshman transitions in subsequent years into a more independent mode, membership in new communities (e.g., Greek, departmental, special interest, etc.), and deeper friendships with a smaller group of people.
Is this traditional path essential? Not really... but the thought of planning to enter one's college as a third year student bothers me, as does carving up the four years into segments of on-site and distance learning - these approaches rob the student of the community experience. Who knows, maybe the four year on-campus experience will go the way of one-on-one tutoring, but while it is available, I think it's not something to be written off lightly.
|By amd on Thursday, December 27, 2001 - 05:11 pm: Edit|
'carving up the four years into segments of on-site and distance learning'
This is exactly what I am suggesting, with the on-site happening throughout the four years; we could throw in a lot more one-on-one tutoring (and students working at their own pace) via internet and phone calls. This should be done driving down the total cost. If this is done, kids can take 5/6 years to graduate if necessary.
'these approaches rob the student of the community experience'
Can this be avoided via special community building classes? Currently, things are left to chance. Some kids simply drown in the community experience and drop out/transfer. (All is not well, despite the high cost.)
|By Dolce (Dolce) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 04:52 pm: Edit|
oops-I had to edit my post because I realized this was Oklahoma State, not Univ of Oklahoma. Sorry
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