Wiping the Blackboard

by reestheskin on 12/07/2016

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I came across this report from Blackboard Learn via Stephen Downes. The report is based on research Blackboard did in the US. I had to pinch myself to check I was reading it right.

Amongst the conclusions or findings were:

[direct quotes]

  • When students take a class online, they make a tacit agreement to a poorer experience which undermines their educational self worth.
  • Students perceive online classes as a loophole they can exploit that also shortcuts the “real” college experience.
  • Online classes don’t have the familiar reference points of in-person classes which can make the courses feel like a minefield of unexpected difficulties.
  • Students take more pride in the skills they develop to cope with an online class than what they learn from it.
  • Online classes neglect the aspects of college that create a lasting perception of value

I do not think this is inevitable with online courses or teaching online, rather it represents a failure to understand that the ‘L’ in LMS is usually subservient to the ‘M’. I suspect many of these points apply to online material as part of residential courses, too. Getting the online bit right requires large investment of academic staff time. I do not see how you can do it well without increasing costs  — at least in the short term.

Mike Caulfied has some useful  points to make on this report here