Good or bad: Describe your experiences with online education.

  • Bryan Parmenter

    I am currently pursuing an online MBA through Arizona State University. ASU has done a good job bringing the material in an electronic form. There is no doubt that the interaction of peers in a learning environment is huge in your education and becomes a challenge during an online program but you can either force the peer interaction or enable it through the technologies that are being used for the online program. I am very pleased with the program being a working professional and also a family man. I do try to balance meeting with my team on team projects, work and family but if you are motivated and positive you can accomplish much.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad to hear of your satisfaction with ASU’s MBA program, Bryan.

    Michael Crow and his colleagues have a great vision of online learning and seem to be making the most of the technology. I think that two trends will make online courses increasingly attractive even to full-time, on-campus students such as my son and daughter who currently attend BYU-Idaho and take a mix of face-to-face and online courses. One is the potential for the technology to improve. It’s not hard to imagine individual courses that blend the computer adaptivity of standardized tests (e.g., the GMAT and GRE) and the computer analytics of Netflix, which does a remarkably good job of predicting my movie preferences. Online learning may facilitate a kind of customization to student needs and preferences that a human tutor could only provide one-on-one.

    The other significant trend is the comfort with–and even preference for–digital communication and socializing that I see in my children. I think I’ve convinced them some things need to be done face-to-face, but they’ve shown me how viewing lectures and even doing some group projects is more effectively accomplished online. My guess is that young college students will soon want all of their courses to be hybrids of face-to-face and online learning experiences, and that they’ll also be comfortable taking many online. These trends portend a world of high-quality education that is less expensive to provide (because less building space will be needed) and to consume (because students won’t necessarily have to relocate or give up part-time jobs) and thus much more accessible.

  • Anonymous

    It’s also important to note that beyond online learning, there are other ways the traditional university will be disrupted. Online learning facilitates high-quality instruction at disruptively low cost. Yet it is just one of two competitive forces that threaten the traditional university. The other is operational focus. Universities justifiable pride themselves on the breadth and depth of their intellectual endeavors. Breadth of inquiry allows them to satisfy a wide range of individual interests and to explore the linkages among disciplines. Depth of inquiry allows them to not just convey what is known, but to change what is known. Universities are unique places that embody the whole universe of ideas.

    This universality of thought is valuable, but it comes at a high cost. Part of the cost challenge is that many subjects of study and even some disciplines don’t draw enough students and revenues to pay for themselves. Also, administrative costs are incurred in coordinating across organizational units. There are also potential non-financial costs inherent in the tension between activities such as scholarship and teaching; if that tension is not well managed, the quality of either or both may suffer.

    More-focused competitors to traditional universities avoid these costs. Many eschew scholarship altogether. They also focus on students of a particular profile and subjects in high demand. In addition, they tend to give faculty members less autonomy in course development and delivery; standardization allows them to provide instruction at acceptable levels of quality and much lower cost.

    These differences in institutional “DNA,” combined with effective use of online learning technology, give focused providers of higher education disruptive potential. Traditional universities have important roles to play that these focused providers will not. However, their future viability depends on increased focus in their scholarly and instructional activities, as well as adoption of online learning as a “sustaining” innovation.

  • Anonymous

    Why in the world you cannot convince people in the USA for online while China and South Korea are ahead of USA because of ONLINE .
    I see one obstacle as Federal Law . They do not have any mandate on States.
    Second is school districts .
    Third wrong ; wrong loan policy of Federal Government