Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gallup poll finds majority of professors remain skeptical of online education

The survey was commissioned by Inside Higher Ed and involved asking more than 2,200 professors for their opinions about the effectiveness of MOOCs and other online course offerings.  Only 20% of those surveyed believe that online courses can deliver the same kind of learning experience as in-person classes with the majority believing that such offerings provide an inferior experience.  Interestingly, the survey found that as faculty themselves gain more experience with online courses, their view of the quality and effectiveness also grows.  

Among the key findings (registration req.):

• Few faculty members (7 percent) strongly agree that online courses can achieve student learning outcomes that are at least equivalent to those of in-person courses. Educational technology administrators are more likely (27 percent) to strongly agree with this statement.

• Most faculty members (85 percent) say the quality of online courses is lower than that of in-person courses with respect to the interaction with students during class, and 78 percent said the same about online courses’ ability to reach “at risk” students. Professors were evenly divided on online courses’ comparative effectiveness in delivering content to meet expected learning objectives.

• Asked to rate factors that contribute to quality in online education, whether an online program is offered by an accredited institution tops the list for faculty members (73 percent), and about 6 in 10 say that whether an online program is offered by an institution that also offers in-person  instruction is a “very important” indicator of quality. Only 45 percent say it is very important that the online education is offered for credit, and about 3 in 10 say it is very important whether the offering institution is nonprofit.

• Technology administrators are far likelier to associate quality with academic credit, with 63 percent citing that as a “very important” indicator of quality in online education.

• 62 percent of faculty members strongly agree that institutions should start MOOCs only with faculty approval; nearly as many (59 percent) strongly agree that MOOCs should be evaluated by accrediting agencies.

• 5 percent of faculty say they have never taught a face-to-face course; 4 in 10 (39 percent) have taught a blended or hybrid course.

• Of faculty who have never taught an online course, 30 percent say the main reason they haven’t is because they’ve never been asked.

• Just 9 percent of technology officers strongly agree that their institution rewards teaching with technology in tenure and promotion decisions; 11 percent of faculty strongly agree.

Continue reading here for a cover story as well as a link to the complete survey results.



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I am sure more than 95 % of former bank tellers, grocery store cashiers, telephone receptionists and operators, gas station attendants, “down-sized” white collar middle managers, etc. would have said the same thing.

It isn’t about quality of service. It is about economics and technology. Wonder why careers and disciplines are “dying on the vine” or why there is such “real” unemployment in the US (as opposed to Department of Labor reports)? It will be perhaps only another five years when “distance”, “remote”, “tele-education” systems supplant maybe 50% of the full time faculty at many institutions. For law schools this will occur and the average teaching load of a full time faculty member will move from 3.5 courses per year to six or more. This will be accompanied by a dramatic reduction in faculty numbers.

Posted by: David | Aug 28, 2013 8:39:02 AM

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