The Trouble With Online Education

“Learning at its best is a collective enterprise.”

Original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/opinion/the-trouble-with-online-education.html?_r=0 from the New York Times

The core idea from this article:

Learning at its best is a collective enterprise, something we’ve known since Socrates. You can get knowledge from an Internet course if you’re highly motivated to learn. But in real courses the students and teachers come together and create an immediate and vital community of learning. A real course creates intellectual joy, at least in some. I don’t think an Internet course ever will. Internet learning promises to make intellectual life more sterile and abstract than it already is — and also, for teachers and for students alike, far more lonely.

The idea of using information technology in education is to utilize the power of information technology to scale up and integrate information diversity. Meanwhile, it will low down the cost of education, which looks like a threat to universities.

I thinking in education, it’s very important to distinguish what is knowledge and what is wisdom. Knowledge can be duplicated, but wisdom cannot. Wisdom is usually from other people, your peers, your teacher, or even some books while you are discussing, listening, and thinking.

Right now, MOOCs are more like duplicating and spreading knowledge, rather than stimulating wisdom. However,

What if there is a great way to conduct discussion online? What if the online platform is highly interactive? Will that be a different story?

I think it’s still too early to make the conclusion. Eventually, I believe the online education will be extremely smart by using big data, and highly interactive by integrating all kinds of information technology. Our life style will be changed dramatically.

Some quotes from the article:

Understanding what it is that students have to teach teachers can help us to deal with one of the most vexing issues now facing colleges and universities: online education.
With every class we teach, we need to learn who the people in front of us are. We need to know where they are intellectually, who they are as people and what we can do to help them grow. Teaching, even when you have a group of a hundred students on hand, is a matter of dialogue.
With every class we teach, we need to learn who the people in front of us are. We need to know where they are intellectually, who they are as people and what we can do to help them grow. Teaching, even when you have a group of a hundred students on hand, is a matter of dialogue.
A large lecture class can also create genuine intellectual community. Students will always be running across others who are also enrolled, and they’ll break the ice with a chat about it and maybe they’ll go on from there. When a teacher hears a student say, “My friends and I are always arguing about your class,” he knows he’s doing something right. From there he folds what he has learned into his teaching, adjusting his course in a fluid and immediate way that the Internet professor cannot easily match.