Is online education good or bad? And is this really the right question?

By Eric Fredericksen.

For the past twenty years, I’ve heard this question asked many times about online education. It might be tempting for enthusiasts to say “of course it is good,” but I see this as a kind of “trick question.” We should consider asking this question in the context of the traditional classroom.

Have our experiences in traditional classroom been stellar? All of us have had great classes in traditional settings and perhaps some that were not. I would suggest that quality and effectiveness of learning are not tied to “mode” of instruction.

In the same way that we can have good (and not so good) traditional classroom courses, we can also have good (and not so good) online courses. Further, re-conceptualizing and converting a traditional classroom course to an online course doesn’t necessarily make it better or worse.

What does the research tell us? And what are the lessons for teaching – and learning – in the future? Read full article