Online courses are the future. Just ask professors at institutions such as Stanford University or Harvard University.
Are Certain People More Suited To Online Learning? What Skills Are Needed To Be Successful?
It is pretty hard to have negative feedback when you have an anonymous feature. No politics, shaming, or trolling. It can be hard to break. The winner of the contest didn’t only win a new Lexus ES, but $4,500 to the Institution.
Roughly twelve months ago, a contest was put up on Twitter with the purpose of helping online learning. A student at Texas A&M took the challenge head on and successfully navigated it all. That student may have been the best prepared student in the history of distance learning.
Whether you are a student or you are even a citizen, you have probably seen online courses before. It might be old hat for you to read that credits aren’t being made available, or that academics aren’t involved.
The idea was that everything that the students had seen on Wikipedia was the stuff they needed to know. Perhaps with a better mix of content, the ability to quickly understand and apply the content, and to get an overview of how the instructor would potentially share it with the class, these classes would begin to have an impact and spark student interest.
It should be clear that while the intent was to potentially prove a valid point, online learning is not as simple as reading Wikipedia and understanding what it says. What is a Wikipedia article? I would say one of the first things to be done in the online learning environment is to have clear and concise content so that all the students are on the same page.
The first question might come to mind about how this can be achieved given the hand-me-down content that comes out of the current system. Is this possible? Now the answer to that question is more in question when looking at the results of this particular contest.
Let me provide an example: Let’s say you are dealing with a course that has online reference materials that may be found via Wikipedia. When the other three students all don’t have a clue what Wikipedia is, is it possible that one of them could be the best in the world?
Do we truly know that this one person had improved beyond anyone ever saw? Is it likely that we would have seen that to even be a possibility? It just has not been shown to be a way to break ground in the vast majority of online courses.
Of course there are a few more clear questions to ask here. If in fact you have a subject matter expert and someone can be deemed best in the world and you are the mentor of that expert, is that going to affect your thought process?
The bigger picture isn’t necessarily this one group or that one group in particular. Some of the most popular blogs right now are about education. If those writers know the topic, do we have confidence in how they are compiling these results? Without getting into too much of the controversy, I will reiterate that the approach to online learning is not possible in all schools.
Parents are being presented with that reality more and more. The college student is being led to make some tough decisions about what they want out of life. Clearly, not everyone is a member of those generations who were allowed to take these classes.
I do believe though that online learning has some great advantages. Is a large amount of content that would be best suited to the general public available? Clearly it is. Who are you with that may have no idea what this information is all about? This is all an educated guess, so I think you should give it a serious look.
The latest generation of consumers is going to be aware of and demand very specific information and they will want to understand it. The Internet is helping to provide that desire.
While I did not love the primary example, the message from this contest was an eye opener to me. I do think it will be to others as well.