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Online classes are not the same but I do believe they can be as effective. I have students tell me they know their classmates in my online classes better than in most (all) of their more traditional classes. I think the issue is not about online vs. traditional but how the instructor engages students. If an instructor takes advantage of the myriad of tools available to engage, involve, and communicate with students there is no reason it cannot be just as effective as traditional instruction.

I sometimes think it can be more engaging. I teach at a college which includes a large number of commuters. I've taught that 3 p.m. class with students who have been on campus all day. Even if they did their reading the night before how much are they bringing to class with them after a day of other brain-engaging activities? In an online discussion it literally is just in time and typically students enter a discussion fresh from the reading. Similarly, students tell me when they are interested in a discussion they find themselves returning more often to engage and see what others have posted. In a traditional class they must wait until it is time to meet rather than when the activity is most engaging to them.

This is my response to Edmundson's piece: http://masclemetawriting.blogspot.com/2013/01/not-trouble-with-online-education.html

Mark Egi

We have introduced Blended online learning, with our 7-12 students using online content but meeting in the regular classroom with their teachers. We are also experimenting with having every other day class sessions for seniors. One positive thing is that teachers can monitor students progress through the interactivity in the content, and students seem to come to class more prepared to participate/discuss/collaborate.

Dr. Delaney Kirk

Thanks for sharing. A main issue that I've seen is faculty get thrown into online classes without any preparation or training and expected to make it work.

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