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Professors Regard Online Instructions as Less Effective Than Classroom Learning

By The Chronicle of Higher Education

February 13, 2009

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Many education professionals believe that online courses are less effective than classroom courses, concludes two surveys conducted by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. The surveys also found "widespread concern" that budget constrictions would hinder online learning programs. The surveys, which polled faculty members and administrators on their opinions of distance-learning programs, indicate that a majority of faculty members acknowledge that distance education offers students increased access and flexibility, but that developing and teaching online courses is difficult. Instructors are not rewarded financially or professionally for the extra time and effort they spend on online classes, and most feel that online education does not create better learning outcomes. Only 30 percent of the 10,000 faculty members surveyed said that online courses provided equal or superior learning outcomes compared to face-to-face classes, while 70 percent said that learning outcomes were inferior. Among faculty members who taught an online course, 48 percent said that online classes create inferior learning outcomes.

A majority of faculty members said that institutions provide inadequate compensation for the additional responsibilities of teaching an online course, and many also said that students need more discipline to benefit from online education. Administrators emphasized the need for schools to incorporate online learning into their mission statements, create a single office to oversee online-learning programs, and foster institution-wide discussions on online learning.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education

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