Why Distance Learning?

 

Importance

Leaning outcomes and student academic achievement are the driving force of quality education. It is important to understand the fact-to-face instruction and distance education must maintain a high level of effectiveness. According to Allen and Seaman (2013), only minor inferior leaning outcomes of online learning were reported. Overall, online leaning is rated “as good as or better” than those for face-to-face instruction. More students are participating in online learning and have developed skills necessary for academic success.   Facilitators of online courses are becoming more effective in delivering quality instruction. Therefore, over time the quality of online learning is increasing.

According to research article, Examining the extent and nature of online learning in American K-12 Education, the most significant topic of high school reform is improving the graduation rate of high school students in America. Online and blended learning courses are a means of affordably offering “credit recovery” options for high school students. These “credit recovery” courses make graduation possible for students lacking required courses. Which in turn, improves the graduation rate in American high schools. No Child Left Behind requires high school to address high drop-out rates, and online and blended learning courses are addressing this issue as well (Picciano, Seaman, Shea, & Swan, 2012). The federal government does not offer a definition for the term “credit recovery”. However, “credit recovery” frameworks are supported by the federal government through funds allocated by Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). On the flipside it is important to monitor online and blended learning courses to maintain a high quality education that does not fall into the traps of bureaucratic practices.

Surprises

The vast number of K-12 student participating in online learning is surprising to me. According to research article the number of students enrolled in online courses in 2007 was approximately 700,000. The number of student enrolled in online courses increased to 1,030,000 in 2009. This is a 47% increases in student enrollment in online courses in a two year span of time. (Picciano et al., 2012) Student enrollment as well as the number of school districts offering online or blended learning courses was and in on the rise.

It was also surprising to learn that according to Moore and Kearsley (2012), it is best practice that online courses are taught or facilities by professional that did not have a role in developing the course. The design practice of developing online courses utilizes the skills and knowledge of a team of specialist to develop and plan a course. Distance learning courses implement communication and content instruction via technology. Prior to reading this article I believed that a member of the team responsible for developing the course would be highly qualified to deliver content and communication for the course.

Experiences

My experience with distance learning includes two hybrid courses while earning my undergrad degree at Oakland University and the scope and sequence of the Educational Technology Masters Program at Central Michigan University. My experiences with distance learning as a student have been positive and rewarding. In my experience online leaning is a means of obtaining equitable and quality educational experiences without the inconveniences of face-to-face courses.

References

Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in theUnited States. Retrieved March 7, 2016, from https://blackboard.cmich.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-4131645-dt-content-rid-34367209_1/courses/EDU708-16500-22312158/EDU708-Revision1-DeSchryver-1219_ImportedContent_20160211095045/changingcourse.pdf

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning by M. Moore and G. Kearsley. Belmount, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Picciano, A. G., Seaman, J., Shea, P., & Swan, K. (2012). Examining the extent and nature of online learning in American K-12 Education: The research initiatives of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(2), 127-135. Retrieved March 7, 2013.

Powell, A., Roberts, V., Patrick, S., Watson, J., & Gemin, B. (2015, September). Using Online Learning for Credit Recovery: Getting Back on Track to Graduation. Retrieved March 8, 2016, from http://www.inacol.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/iNACOL_UsingOnlineLearningForCreditRecovery.pdf

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