What is Online Learning?

Online learning is not new; the category encompasses any learning that takes place through web-based platforms, whether formal or informal. The learning can be structured like as in traditional courses or entirely self-paced. What has made the topic new is the recent and unprecedented focus on providing learning via the Internet that has been stimulated by the tremendous interest in massive open online courses (MOOCs). What is new in this space is that online learning has “come of age;” the design of online learning is (more and more) specifically intended to encompass the latest research, the most promising developments, and new emerging business models in the online learning environment. At many institutions, online learning is an area newly ripe for experimentation — some would argue it is undergoing a sea change, with every dimension of the process open for reconceptualization. On campuses around the globe, virtually every aspect of how students connect with institutions and each other to learn online is being reworked, rethought, and redone — but it will be some time yet before ideas coalesce enough to be validated by research and implemented broadly.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 27, 2014 Still gung-ho about it, still think it's the greatest thing to hit education since the invention of blackboards and chalk...at the bottom of my list this year because of some setbacks, both internal and external. Last year, our director, in a rare display of intestinal fortitude, declared that every: teacher must take an online course or their contracts won't be renewed; student must take an online course or they won't graduate. I put together our External Online Program, with a variety of vendors for everybody (ASB Online, Pamoja Education, K-12-Dot-Com, etc.). A few teachers have started online courses, but to date not one student has. I did some investigation...turns out that most of our teachers...and ALL of our counselors...have been badmouthing online learning to our students. The EdTech Backlash, in other words...enough of that here...I'll get back to it in Trends. OK, the proverbial bottom line for students taking at least one online course during their K-12 years is to prepare for college, where they'll almost certainly be taking online courses. It's as simple and important as that. We want our teachers to take a course to prepare for teaching courses online. We have one online (blended) internal course going now...the IB's Sports Exercise and Health Science..class. Had to do it because we couldn't get a full-time teacher. It's been successful, so what this means is that we have a way, via blended but especially completely online courses, to offer students the "one-off" classes that we couldn't otherwise afford or manage. Not too many Japanese teachers in Mexico, for example...online learning means just about everything is possible. And, if the project fully gets off the ground, Peterson Schools could have students all around the world. Considering that we have no more space on campuses, this is really the only way we'll be able to expand our student numbers. I maintain that once people try it, they'll like it...so much, in fact, that traditional onground education will be a second choice.
  • This is a big one. It’s not necessarily new though. Something has to change here. I’ve been teaching language online for K-12 and Middlebury Interactive Language for seven years. I also teach in what they like to refer to as the Brick and Mortar classroom. I’m finding more negatives than positives for K-12 students learning in this way. Students and parents have the expectation that because the course is online it will be easier, but actually the opposite is true. I am also taking a graduate class online at the moment and I know the discipline it takes for me to stay on track. Young students have trouble with time management and this becomes a huge detriment to their learning. Many wait until the last minute, then complete assignments at once. The best way to achieve success is through constant contact with the teacher and with live virtual classes, but many students do not have time to attend. Since it’s here to stay, we need to adapt it to the type of learning our students now experience in the classroom. Blackboard Elluminate allows for breakout rooms and I like to use this feature in order to foster more collaborative learning. Yes, constructivism has it’s place, yes online learning lends itself easily to learning analytics and individualized programs, yet students need the skills to work and collaborate with others. I would also like to recommend that cloud computing be a part of this online experience in order to connect students. There is so much opportunity for exposure to diverse ideas. We need to jump on this opportunity. As long as we build collaboration into the mix, we will be on the right track. lisagustinelli- lisagustinelli lisagustinelli Feb 9, 2014

  • Online learning is still growing in all sectors for education - especially k-12. Many states have requirements for students to take an online class before they can graduate high school. These types of requirements show the importance of learning online to higher ed, parents and employers. There are many ways to incorporate online learning into classrooms, whether flipping, hybrid or fully online curriculum - the options are just starting to emerge. - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 9, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 27, 2014 Very thorough description, especially the mention of the "growing pains" online learning is currently enduring..er, experiencing.
  • Coursera.com Skillshare.com and https://www.edx.org are just a few examples of online courses. Yes, the challenge is completionbut what if more high schools bought into these programs and had an in-house facilitator that did the follow-up with each student. In other words, have a coach who is there to make sure the student completes the assignments, maybe even add to the course. Maybe there is a blended learning experience here between the online course and an in-house instructor/coach. Offer credit to these classes. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 3, 2014
  • Online learning can be enhanced with authentic materials ( a great opportunity for students to connect with real people in the field of study) and experiences. lisagustinelli- lisagustinelli lisagustinelli Feb 9, 2014
  • Typically online, this gives students the option to be creators, just not regurgitators of information. - Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 9, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 27, 2014 Covered above in (1), I think.
  • Could be a major pedagogical shift. However, I do not believe online learning has found the right ingredients that equals success…just my opinion. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 3, 2014
  • Online K-12 courses today are too inflexible. They are "canned curriculum" and leave little wiggle room for the creative, innovative teacher. In the classroom, teachers make the learning "their own" with creative ideas that may be outside of what is written in the curriculum guide. Online learning is rigid in it's delivery in order to obtain "quality control". In the K-12 classroom, the teacher really gets a feel for the whole child. In online learning, we are simply working with a snippet of what a child thinks and can do. There is little opportunity for a child to be inquisiitive or to learn by going off topic. lisagustinelli- lisagustinelli lisagustinelli Feb 9, 2014- Holly.Lu Holly.Lu Feb 9, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 27, 2014 I've created one blended course, currently in progress. The goal is to first create more internal offerings and to ultimately expand beyond internal courses to offering classes to students worldwide, using the model of the Online School for Girls: http://www.onlineschoolforgirls.org/ As mentioned, we have an External Online Program in place for both students and teachers to take online courses for personal and professional development.
  • iNACOL is an important part of the k-12 online learning world

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