POLL: Rate the Quality of Online Courses

This question is aimed at online courses in general and not the exceptions. If you don’t have sufficient hard data to support your opinion, then base it on your best guess. Please use the comment feature below to explain your vote. Don’t use the “comment” in the poll; instead, use the one that appears at the end of this article. Thanks!

[Edited 11 Dec. 2008]
The results as of 11 Dec. 2008:

4 Responses

  1. I selected “not very good” because, at this point in time, the vast majority are delivered via CMSs that severely limit imagination and innovation. The result is uniformity and predictability, outcomes that are desirable for IT departments but anathema for creativity. Until the delivery process opens up to allow individual teachers the freedom to explore, discover, and implement approaches that reach far beyond current practices, I’m afraid we won’t see much in the way of excellence. The good news is that IT departments are beginning to loosen up, and as they do, I believe they’ll realize that the path to change is through more rather than less freedom.

  2. I answered “not sure”, just as I would answer “not sure” if I were asked to review the quality of Face-to-Face courses. I learned a lot, for instance, from the online courses of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society [1] (Harvard), and in particular those using the H2O “Rotisserie” [2] to encourage interaction. ¨

    But I have also seen some rather absurd things, like the (apparently fortunately disappeared) Latinum academicum course, where a 19th c. concept of Latin teaching was presented in flash.

  3. I believe responding to this question would be similar to one that says “rate the Quality of Italian Food.” There are horrible courses. There are wonderful courses. Most are in between. People can only respond to the ones they have seen, and few people have more than a very limited selection of courses from which to choose.

    Most courses being made today are designed by the teacher who teaches them, with relatively little time available for course development. In contrast, many of the commercially created courses have teams working for a year or more to design the course carefully, make sure the best instructional methods available are used. They have technology teams working to create interactive multimedia to assist learning.

    The cost for such a process is such that the only way it can be done feasibly is if the course is then purchased and taught by many teachers in many systems across the nation.

    Courses created in such a way are not necessarily better than a course created by a teacher working a few weeks ahead of his or her students. A high tech, expensive-to-create course with poor teaching methodology is not as good as a created-on-the-fly course with good technique. However, a course created with such resources and using good instructional processes is hard to beat.

  4. There are horrible courses. There are wonderful courses. Most are in between.

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