Thursday, February 23, 2012

Students Oppose Online Learning in Ontario

It's interesting that some of the most outspoken criticism of Ontario's plans to use more online learning in higher education is coming from.....students. Weren't we told that today's learners want more technology and less lecturing? That the current model of education is outmoded and that students wouldn't put up with it anymore?

From the Canadian Federation of Students:
"The fact that they're talking about such a massive overhaul without having reached out to faculty or students is cause for concern," said president Sandy Hudson.
"To think that three in five of all courses — the majority of courses in a year that students would be doing — would be online, that is definitely harming the quality of education," she added.
"If this is a measure to save money ... how far behind are Ontario students going to be with the rest of the country, with the rest of the world, if most of the learning that we're doing isn't even in front of a lecturer that we can then approach for assistance?"

So much for the net generation.


Brad Wuetherick said...

Not wanting their learning pushed online doesn't mean they don't want more technology integrated into their learning. But their visceral reaction to this report is not surprising at all. Many students still come to university because they want to Be AT university. Forcing online learning would be resisted massively, and rightly so! If this happened in my province there would be a revolt!

Mark Bullen said...

Good point Brad but I do find it interesting that the students' association seems to equate quality with having a "lecturer" and assumes that online learning can't provide a quality learning experience.

HMRoss said...

Brad already said much of what I was going to say, but I'd like to add, in response to your follow-up comment Mark, that that is a sign that they haven't experienced really good online learning. This won't get any better under what has been recommended in that report. The only way they might actually save any money is to encourage more instructors to simply load their PowerPoint files into an LMS and call it a course. This won't improve the students' view of online learning.

Mark Bullen said...

I think you're right about not having experience good online learning.
As for the recommendations, I'd like to read them before passing judgement. They did get some advice from some expert consultants.

Lisa M Lane said...

Perhaps the type of student who would belong to a student organization is the type of person who would be critical of a mode of instruction that isn't working for them. This is laudable.

However, the enrollment pressure is coming from other students, the great masses of them, who register for online classes. We can't say that pressure against online classes is coming from "the students". A critique is coming from these students, while millions of others keep signing up.

Stuart said...

It is interesting in this discussion that the conversation is about students not having "experienced really good online learning."
Maybe more to the point is that maybe learners entering places of higher education have not experienced "quality learning" in any form. Learners generally struggle with the whole concept of learning but feel that face-to-face is the benchmark against which everything needs to be measured and as their benchmark is skewed then so is their understanding of any other way of learning