I was recently in a forum where Berno Nilssonasked asked the question, “What do you think about online learning?”
My response was:
I believe that online learning is a growing educational forum. I feel that all educators need to consider this as something that is not an alternative but is considered necessary integration in education. Students today are living online. We need to meet them in the arena they know best.
Judith Hammock, another responder, wrote:
I believe that online distance learning will continue to build momentum in the future. It brings education to students who do not have access to colleges and universities and provides them opportunities they never had before. Online teaching, to me, requires some special skills. These include the ability to show your enthusiasm for your subject matter through writing, good organizational skills, and the ability to engage your students without your physical presence.
Having had experience with online learning both with teaching and as a student, I feel that the best instructors provide a caring atmosphere which keeps the students engaged.
Conversely there is the argument that online learning takes away from the personal, humanness that we should nurture as we grow. We need to tread slowly in this journey into the digital. For example C. L. Max Nikias writes:
…between the ages of 17 and 22, a person’s mind and spirit open wide, as she begins to explore her world, her place in it, and what she intends to contribute to her society. It is during this age that some of a person’s most intense bonds and affiliations take shape. Because of this, the best undergraduate college or university education should be experienced in community, so that shared social, athletic and cultural experiences can be as mutually transforming as the intellectual experiences inside the classroom, library or laboratory.
My argument is also that online learning does not need to be separate from learning at school, especially in earlier years. Teachers should be guiding students through ways to learn online. I have a blog post that talks about Searching beyond Google
and a page that Explores ways to Collaborate Online.