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View Diary: List of Colleges and Others Offering Free Courses Online (109 comments)

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  •  Not sure.... (4+ / 0-)

    As someone who much prefers reading for reading sake and engagement to be in person (thus hardly any posts here although I enjoy reading Daily Kos quite a bit), my view is skewed because if I were forced to take an online class I would not be one of those more engaged due to the on-line comment sections. I would do the minimum for the class and then go find people at a bar, coffee shop, wherever to actually talk to about the material.

    As an educator for 14 years with all but one class taught face-to-face, one of the trends I really don't like in education is that so many of the reforms are based solely on content knowledge.  That is important but the longest lasting impact any student will receive from an educational experience is more about skill building than content knowledge.  For the online education debate, the very people who need to be able to interact better in a virtual world (like me) tend to shy away from taking or teaching online classes.  The very people who need to develop inter-personal skills in the face-to-face world shy away from those and stick with online classes.  Being able to retreat to what is safe and comfortable is not the best way to handle education since much of what we do in this field when it is done well is force people to engage ideas, experiences, etc that are beyond our normal comfort zones.

    •  I prefer online for a different reason (3+ / 0-)

      I am one of those students who talks up in class, though I think that is primarily because I am so much older. However, I far prefer online classes which require discussion because I have a difficult time talking to people in person due to severe and extended abuse growing up. The only information I can provide to an in-class setting is what I entered the class with. If someone says something I disagree with, or the professor asks or says something I am not sure about, I am incapable of coming up with an original response in person because my brain just won't function at full capacity. I literally sit through every class with part of my brain on full alert to danger.

      I have been struggling with this my entire adult life, and I don't see it ever completely going away. I was not even aware of how scared part of me was until a couple of years ago. Considering the fact that I know I am not the only person who was abused as a kid, I would not be surprised if there are a lot of students out there like me.

      People who meet me online first are always surprised when they meet me in person because I am nothing like I come across online.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 06:29:57 PM PDT

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      •  This is such an important point. I have deaf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radical simplicity, FloridaSNMOM

        students in my classes all the time, and of course they benefit tremendously from the online environment.

        I think your experience of your brain on full alert to danger is not uncommon. Students in my face to face classes often do not want to engage for fear of looking stupid. I also get students in my classes that have rushed in from work and are hungry, they're missing their kids because they haven't seen them since 7 a.m. that morning, or they haven't had time to read the chapters.

        In an online class students get the opportunity to come to the class that day when they are ready: they've had dinner, they've kissed the kids goodnight, they have perhaps read some of the text for an hour, etc.

        In addition, I'm available to my students via email and classroom every day of the week. I never had that kind of availability with my professors in undergrad or grad school.

        "At stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country." ~Sen. Ted Kennedy

        by Wendy in FL on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 08:14:29 PM PDT

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