I am joining this connected classroom effort, because I love connection, and there really can’t be enough of it when it comes to learning online.
Although I myself enjoy being an online learner, I believe I am in the minority. In my work as a teacher and online support person I get a lot of student contact, and I like to spring an ad hoc survey on them: “how do you like online learning?” The tongues stick out mocking nausea, heads shake, the thumbs head south. My unscientific research nets a good 90% disapproval rate from both the old and the young who I get to talk with at our community college. It’s a horribly general yet telling question that puts a wet finger in the wind of online coursework; people, the breeze is a bit foul.
The reasons are multifarious but a disconnection from classmates and most of all the teacher stick out sorely. Technical problems follow closely behind that and then the other tropes trample up: boredom, confusion, miscommunication and the lot.
I am a fierce believer that this doesn’t have to be the case. I’ve seen it done well. As long as there’s electricity, eLearning is here to stay; it has the power to change the world for the better, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.