From Trent Batston for WCET Frontiers:
The presumption that students in a completely online course cannot have the real-life social interactions and informal learning opportunities is, ironically, an unreal argument. Imaginatively designed courses leverage the experiences learners have wherever they reside. Distributed learners, after all, don’t just spontaneously coalesce from a cloud of pixels simply because they have walked into a classroom. And even the most die-hard traditionalist will admit that a successful learner must log focused hours reading, writing, studying, and thinking outside of the classroom.
An inclusive view of online and onsite understands that even an onsite course might also be essentially completely online as in, for example, a studio-writing course –one that teaches writing through writing. And, an online course can in fact be more interactive and student-centered than many courses taught on a campus, for instance a distributed service learning project in which students collaborate online to solve real problems in the communities where they live.
Mode of delivery and quality are largely unrelated. Learning design is the salient factor.
Though it is not entirely understood yet in many (and often critical) quarters, the debate between online and traditional courses is over. Pondering the evolution of the change, however, we are reminded of Arthur C. Clarke’s observation that transformations that attend new technologies are usually over estimated in the short run and underestimated in the long run.
- Leveraging technology for engaging learning design (ictenhancedlearningandteaching.wordpress.com)