Online Ed: Access to what and for whom?

Along with the rush to online classes in higher ed, there is a proliferation of online publications reporting on and discussing how it’s going.

CFA President Lillian Taiz took the opportunity in one of these to challenge the online world to make a deeper analysis of its efforts in an article on the Evolllution magazine web site, which is dedicated to “illuminating the lifelong learning movement.”

In “Online Higher Education: Access to What, and for Whom?,” Taiz runs down the difficulties with access to online classes. But she also digs into the meaning of the experience of going to college. She cites previous work to make the point:

“George Siemens, an early developer of the MOOC, made an important argument that should inform our discussion of technology and innovation in higher education. What is valuable in education, he points out, is not ‘content’ or increased access to information. Instead, he argues that personalized assessments, encouragement, active support through complex subject matter and instructor questioning are the factors that make education valuable.”

To encourage still more thought, Taiz linked to three working papers about online ed by the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education that provide the sources and studies showing the challenges to be significant.