Pros and cons of online education

Growing online courses’ shortcomings must be addressed.

The Oracle

Universities are offering more and more online courses, despite widespread concern over their effectiveness. A major survey of public colleges and universities released last month by the Association of Public Land-grant Universities found that 70 percent of faculty found online courses inferior or somewhat inferior to classroom instruction when it comes to learning. Some teachers feel that classroom interaction is an invaluable part of education, while others believe that online courses are easier for students and highly susceptible to cheating. Forty-eight percent of professors with online teaching experience believe that online courses arenâÄôt up to par for educating students. Not only are online courses seen as inferior, they are also harder to put together, as 64 percent of faculty members surveyed believe teaching an online course takes somewhat more or a lot more effort. Many professors are not computer savvy, so universities should provide them with tools to help convert their lesson plans to an online format. If teachers donâÄôt like teaching online, it will prove difficult to increase the quality of the courses. Despite faculty dissatisfaction, online courses are here to stay. They allow for greater access and are in high demand among college students. They are becoming established in universities, and the survey found that over 36 percent of faculty members have taught or developed an online course. Universities need to address these concerns and work with faculty to increase the quality of online courses. As more students rely on these courses for their education, it becomes critical that they be held to the same standard as traditional classes. This editorial, accessed via UWire, was originally published in The Oracle at the University of South Florida. Please send comments to [email protected]