This should make every parent question the effectiveness of all online course work, especially if there’s no teacher present. These online courses never made sense to me as stand alone schools. They seem tailor made for supplementing what's already being taught in the classroom.
I’m posting this because coincidentally the UW-Madison just announced the roll out of these online courses, for free. No harm done you say? It seems to me the university could spend their time and effort on something that works.
jsonline: Low-cost online courses may allow a more diverse group of students to take college classes, but a new study from Columbia University suggests they also could widen achievement gaps, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported this week.
Researchers at Columbia examined 500,000 courses taken by more than 40,000 community- and technical-college students in Washington State. They found that students in demographic groups whose members typically struggle in traditional classrooms struggled even more in online courses, the Chronicle story says.
The study found that all students who take more online courses, no matter the demographic, are less likely to attain a degree. However, some groups—including black students, male students, younger students, and students with lower grade-point averages—are particularly susceptible to this pattern.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced this week it will begin offering a handful of massive online open courses (MOOCS) this fall.
The big question is whether MOOCS can successfully educate students without offering direct interaction with faculty.