Distance Ed headaches

Saturday, July 2nd, 2005

In an online course, no matter how complex, material should be presented in such a way that the content and the experience of that content is augmented by the tech. Susan Gibb has this to say about her experience

Honestly, I wish I could give you the ID and password to show you how impossible these lectures are to listen to and learn anything from because of the poor quality audio. The text notes follow the lecture slides, but much of the audio explanation of the outline format is necessary to understand what is being presented. For example, the text may pose a question, but the answer is only in the audio portion, and the static makes it extremely annoying–I’m talking hours of lectures here–to listen to it all.

If this is the case, then I’d say she should get her money back, but then again, if the course is required, what is one to do: wait another semester, delay what may or may not be needed to close the degree? The again, even if she’s successful, what good use will the content be put through given the context. So much of education is like this: motions, degree plans, rather than important consideration of the overall importance of the parts.

2 responses to “Distance Ed headaches”

  1. susan says:

    No shit.

    I realize that my short amount of patience is due to my frustration of even having to take such a course–at my age. I’ve sat through and excelled at Algebra and Spanish, but my resolve is worn down. While I suppose I could just have taken–and will do so from now on–courses that are of prime importance and interest to me, the degree, the piece of paper that says I am a two-year college graduate, meant something to me personally at the time I started. So did the GPA which will mean diddly-squat after this course. My enthusiasm and respect for academics has shriveled from plum to prune.

    When I questioned the degree requirements, I was told that it was necessary to give the students a well rounded exposure to all areas of learning. But with the great influx of older students, shouldn’t this be rethought-out? They’re happy enough to take our money and proudly exclaim the diversity of ages (13 to 57!)in their graduating classes. But what are we getting out of it? College courses are properly planned to follow high school studies. But a large portion of students at community colleges have an expanse of years of experience and knowledge in knowing what they want out of college learning, and it shouldn’t be just that piece of paper.

    It would be fairly easy to cry age discrimination here, but that’s of no real interest to me right now. I’m simply going to avoid the “system” and go after what I please and what I need to get where I want to go from here. So maybe it won’t say which degree I received on a resume or list of credits. I’ll list instead all the classes I’ve taken that are relevant to what I seek.

  2. susan says:

    I guess I sort of went off on a path of my own in the above comment, although it does relate to what you have brought up. But a word on the technology: After taking maybe six online courses, I find that there are pros and cons on both sides of the experience, and some of these little quirks are going to surface just as happens in live classrooms. Think of how many classes were missed in a course last year–two 3-hr. classes, or the equivalent of four classes because of snow. That doesn’t happen in an online course. Actually, the hybrid class of integrating online material into a live environment, or the integrating of a few live classes into an online course sounds like an excellent setup. Let us know how it works out.