Educational Technology

July 31, 2012

Barriers to the Adoption of Online Learning Systems

Filed under: Educational Technology — admin @ 12:35 am

by Kevin M. Guthrie, Educause Review

Over the course of the last year, new models for online learning have captured the attention of the higher education community and the American public. In particular, “massively open online courses” (MOOCs) hold out the promise that tens of thousands of students can take courses online from elite universities for little or no charge. The implication in this proposition is that the online environment offers the possibility for a small number of faculty to teach thousands of students effectively. But up to now, that has not been the experience of postsecondary institutions delivering instruction online. Online learning in various forms has been deployed in U.S. higher education for more than a decade, but most of these online courses are delivered much as classes have been delivered traditionally—with e-mail, online videos, and videoconferencing substituting for face-to-face class time and without taking full advantage of the potential added value of online environments. In general, faculty-student ratios for online courses have been roughly the same as those for traditional courses, with some faculty saying that teaching online actually takes more time than teaching face-to-face. Clearly, if the promises of MOOCs are to be realized, the technologies supporting these courses will have to shoulder a greater part of the instructional burden.

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