Is On Line College Instruction Effective?

  Than answer is that we do not know and the scattered small scale research is inconclusive. Since a Department of Education meta-analysis last summer concluded that “on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction,” many advocates now consider the matter closed. Not so fast, say researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Education Department’s study was deeply flawed and its implications have been overblown, say the authors of a working paper released this month by the bureau. There are many methodolgical disputes, and no clear consensus yet. Also we need more studies of the cost savings from on line education, before any conclusions are warranted..

3 comments on “Is On Line College Instruction Effective?”

  1. Greetings

    I have been enrolled in an online program for the past two years. Although it has not been a “perfect” experience I have clearly grown as a professional and as a person. I have improved upon my critical and analytical skills; in short, I have continued to learn to learn by gaining new filters in which to view situations. Hence, that is the good news…
    Yet, in light of the study by the Department of Education, I would also take into account that pure “statistical performance” might be a bit unreliable. Why? The potential for academic integrity lapses by the online student. Not only do I attend school online but I also teach online–I have been involved in situations of students being involved in “cheating” and were summarily dismissed from the program. After “catching” a few students involved in this “cheating web,” (and believe me it was like hitting the lottery to actually catch these individuals, I wondered to myself how many others are “getting through” the program by doing the same things–but we just haven’t “caught them yet.”
    I don’t want to sound like a “naysayer” but I think any statistical report of online performers outpacing traditional classroom students should include my proposed limitation.

  2. I agree with Mort. Simply based on statistical performance it is hard to say online programs are more effective. Having recently graduated with my MBA degree through an institution which offered both online and in class courses, most of my classmates wanted to take online courses because they were “easier.” The ability to take tests with text books, Google, Wikipedia, etc. for quick research makes test taking a breeze. Online courses I have encountered are also known as “the easy A’s”, so not only performance, but degree of difficulty of the course should be factored in.

  3. I think mostly those taking online courses are those who knows how to discipline themselves in studying. Actually it is harder because pressure helps in studying well. But those who could finish these online courses are those are really willing to learn so maybe they excel or it shows that online are more effective? that’s just my assessment. But I still prefer face to face courses.


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