Finding that MANY students get lousy returns on online education, but SOME students succeed

July 3, 2017 at 7:00 am 2 comments

The point made below is that online education does work for some students. Our OMS CS succeeds (see evidence here) because it serves a population that has CS background knowledge and can succeed online. Not everyone succeeds in MOOCs.  I don’t like the first sentence in this piece.  “Online education” can be effective.  The models matter.

Despite Hoxby’s troubling findings, it’s hard to say whether online education in and of itself is inherently problematic or whether certain models could be successful. Goodman’s research on a Georgia Institute of Technology online master’s in computer science program indicates that, if done right, an online degree can provide a decent education at a fraction of the cost.“That model doesn’t generalize very well to the broader set of people that are out there,” he said. That’s because the students in the Georgia Tech program have already proved themselves to be successful in higher education (the admissions standards are relatively similar to the school’s elite brick-and-mortar computer science program), which is often not the case for many of the 30-something students that are typical of online education programs.

Source: Damning study finds students get lousy returns on online education – MarketWatch

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dennisfrailey  |  July 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    I’ve been teaching in on line or distance mode for over 45 years and have over 1000 students who have successfully completed degrees in this mode. It can be highly effective – as evidenced by many of my former students who are now quite successful. The key difference between this mode and traditional mode is that the student must be self-motivated to learn. There is nobody to coddle them, encourage them, or make sure they are keeping up.

    Education in any form is an opportunity. The student must take advantage of that opportunity.

  • 2. Mike Zamansky (@zamansky)  |  July 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    The model matters, the students matter, the delivery team matters and also the content matters.

    I “took” the AI and ML classes when they were first piloted a few years ago. I recall reading a piece where one of the instructors, I forget which (Ng, Norvig, or Thrun) stated that their course (again, I forget which one or both) consited of the exact same content at the exact same level as what their Stanford students were getting.

    Now, I didn’t attend an institution nearly as elite and exclusive as Stanford and of course, that being 100 years ago, I never studied the topics covered in either course but left feeling that one of two things had to be true.


    1. The level of a course at Stanford is much lower than what I would have expected.


    2. The course was not really at the same level as the in person instruction.


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