Take the following scenario:
You teach one course for 26 sessions, 2 times a week for 13 weeks in the classroom. The experience includes some discussion, mini-lectures student presentations, group break out sessions, guest speakers, exams, assignments, the works. You couldn’t do more than you’re doing.
You’re reviews are pretty good and your classes fill.
Now let’s consider the following:
You teach an online courses and do all the same things you do in an onsite course (but differently). You’re reviews are better than the onsite class. Students seems to have learned something, and your classes still fill.
Now, let’s imagine you’re asked to make a decision to teach either online or onsite based whether online teaching was more effective than your onsite teaching.
We’ll we’re heading down a tricky path.
The questions of format or media really take a technology-centric approach to teaching, rather than a learner-centered approach. This mistake has been made throughout the history of educational technology. Cuban (1986) and Mayer (2001) have brought these ideas to our attention for some time now. However, it’s a difficult conversation to have with folks that are new the field of education and learning sciences. For example, think back to when claims were made that a “technology” was going to change the face of education. This technology-centric approach is one that is easily avoidable, however it requires a re-setting of one’s mindset. You can consider studying the ways in which the materials were delivered in online class. Was it purely information transmission or did you do something to help students in the knowledge construction process? How was learning assessed? Were there assessments that evaluated the transfer or knowledge or simply the retention of knowledge? These simple questions can guide conversations that begin with the technology and re-focus the dialogue on the learning outcomes.