Is Online education a real part of serious study?

BurundiBlindLameMaybe we fail somehow to identify online education as within the domain of serious study and see it as noise suggestive of education, but not the real thing? The mention of limits and viability in 1 to 1 tutoring of students “Obviously this is a limit, it is socially and economically un-viable instructional system that can sustain a tutor for a student” cause me to wonder if we can get past the barrier of economics to reach another level in education? Will technology enhanced teaching allow us to leap into another domain of learning? What could technology leverage that exceeds close, direct and responsive tutoring human to human? Or are we mistaken to speak of technology as somehow unconnected to us humans who imagine and build it?
Interesting question from my friend Scott about human teachers and online teachers.
I did search (as Gordon does) on human tutoring and found this study: Human tutoring is a bit overestimated (The Relative Effectiveness of Human Tutoring, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, and Other Tutoring Systems)
Do we call it  1 to 1 tutoring when participants in a (connectivist) MOOCs ask questions and give feedback to participants?
Is connectivism an educational theory that avoids this need for teacher tutoring? Social connections are very useful and fun for learning. An automated system could help learning, but laughing and having some fun while learning needs a human touch.
I did a Mechanical Mooc on learning a computer language and programming, this is a computer tutoring students. And I think it will become a handy tool for learning languages, computer programming and this kind of skills and knowledge.

Learning to create with these new tools is essential not only because the world is an increasingly wired place, but because connecting increases the breadth and depth of what we can do with these tools.  Working with children to connect with technology, rather than isolate, is a big take-away for me so far.

( did you ever use the Make a MOOC site of Alan Levine? )
In the MOOCs I did I did meet a lot of participants willing to learn beyond doing the course and receiving a good mark or a badge. They are good tutors to their fellow participants, because they connect and interact. The names of some of them are mentioned in posts and comments of this blog. I think this MOOCs are a new level of education.


One thought on “Is Online education a real part of serious study?

  1. Agree that MOOCs are a new form of education–they are currently difficult to integrate into our common definitions of education and especially qualification but that will come eventually. The problem I see with mechanical tutoring or one human tutor to hundreds is the need for statistical tools to discover an answer that will satisfy many approximately similar questions. This can’t help but transform the feeling of being a single person receiving advice (and being able to converse with that advice for clarity) to a person opening a Chinese Fortune Cookie that was delivered “personally” to their table.

    I wonder if we have forgotten that education is for individual learning? We speak of educational “systems” and “massive” courses as devices for delivery but the sheer numbers are a quality of distribution not learning. From our fondness with massive we then move on to massive assessment which I don’t like but don’t know how to fix.

    I’ll have a look at Make a MOOC–clarity may come to me in the near future–as the fortune cookie said:-)

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