Friday, October 25, 2019
Demands of the Virtual Classroom :: Teaching Education
Demands of the Virtual Classroom Preparing online courses is not easy. In a study by the NEA, 53% of participating instructors admitted that courses online take more time to prepare and deliver. Much of that time is devoted to weekly e-mail contact, a task that 83% stated is part of their regimen. Rarely is additional remuneration given to compensate for the heavier workload. (Newsgroup Message 6/23/00) The additional effort on the part of the instructors does not necessarily facilitate the process for the students. Successful participants must be disciplined, able to work on their own, can deal with uncertainty, and are not easily distracted. (PCC)(Kleiner) In addition, students must be prepared to endure setup difficulties, hardware malfunctions, and Internet traffic (Neal) in addition to the burden of the acquisition of the required technology. The question of whether the return of the student and instructor efforts is worthwhile remains unanswered. To date little empirical evidence exists that proves that electronic technology improves learning. David Noble, a technology historian from York University in Toronto, avers that identity formation is a process that can only occur face-to-face. (Neal) In fact, research has shown that the social interaction in traditional residential programs contributes to the intellectual and ethical development of undergraduates. For the simple dissemination of information where knowledge is passed hydraulically from instructor to student, Internet instruction seems to be an unsuitable methodology. (Neal) Such theories seem to prove out in a retention rate that varies anywhere from 20% to 97%.(Kleiner) Considering the Costs With such doubtable results emanating from greater effort on the part of both student and teacher, the question arises about why Internet classes are becoming so popular. The push seems to come from a joint effort on the part of software developers, legislators, and college administrators who are eager to be known for their technological strides. The resulting trends are demanding that many schools jump on the bandwagon to cater to the non-traditional students. The University of Phoenix has an enrollment of 68,000 students from 15 states, more than Princeton and Duke combined. That figure is expected to triple by the year 2002 and includes only students who are at least 23-years-old and employed.(Marcus, A Scholastic Gold Mine) Peter Drucker has predicted that such trends will result in the "end of the university within 30 years". (Neal). On the opposing side, however, the National Center for Educational Statistics has predicted that the investment may not produce the results that Peter Drucker forecasted.