I was talking to someone about higher education the other day, and the fact that I got my master’s mostly online.
He said that online was the wave of the future. Well, notice I said mostly online. We were teacher’s and we met about three times a semester, at the beginning of the course, right before mid-terms, and right before finals.
The first meeting was to steer us in the right direction and make sure we had everything we needed. Some of that was textbook money, etc., since the district was paying for it, so we might have skipped that.
The second meeting was to get everyone together and let us present our research to that point, and prepare for the mid-term. Same thing on the third.
Now we were teachers working on an advanced education degree so the opportunity to share our work and getting it critiqued was huge – the district was training us to train other teachers. But still, getting together and discussing things face to face was good. We could have done it virtually, but it wasn’t the same.
I’ve also taught high school students on line. I’ve only met one high school kid who could do it, and he still needed to hunt me down and talk to me in person a couple of times. The rest of the kids weren’t driven enough to do that.
So if we want to see “online” education for high school students we need someone in the room to keep them on task and someone in the room to make sure they are going in the right direction. And we need enough of those people per student so we don’t lose some.