Live from ITC: Day 2 – The Grand Debate: Developmental Students Cannot Succeed Online

The Grand Debate is an ITC tradition which takes a controversial topic in distance learning and has two distance learning professionals debate the topic. The debate is lots of fun and quite enjoyable for all in attendance.

It’s also one of those “you had to be there” kind of things. So rather than give a blow-by-blow of the events, I’ll provide a few of the high points. I neither endorse nor oppose any of these statements, but they do give one pause to consider the issues…

Developmental Students CAN Succeed Online

  • Just because an instructor excels in a traditional classroom, doesn’t mean they’ll excel online.
  • Design is critical to the success of students
  • instructors must be willing to log in regularly and offer support to students
  • online success rates in developmental courses are close to those of traditional courses, with hybrid courses proving more successful than exclusively f2f or online courses.
  • use of reporting tools and assessments allow online instructors the ability to see whether or not students truly comprehend material.
  • better instruction on how to teach online is needed to ensure that faculty are properly prepared for the challenge
  • shrinking budgets + exponential growth in distance learning = increasing need for dev Ed course online
  • if we don’t do it,the for-profit schools will
  • step into the now. Who are your students? They’re not traditional students and many of them can’t come to campus. Should they be deprived of the opportunity because they can’t make it to classes on campus?

Developmental Students CANNOT Succeed Online

  • the unscripted interactions of students which happen before or after classes is lost online
  • the “lost look” is lost in online courses as instructors cannot see student reactions and work to adjust on the fly.
  • developmental mathematics may not be the best topic to put online
  • often, instructors and students woefully unprepared and publisher “classes in a box” don’t effectively teach the material either.
  • meta cognition in developmental students is lacking
  • instructors aren’t properly using the tools available and lack appropriate training
  • typing mathematical symbols and equations is just not easy
  • students can’t engage in rich mathematical conversation online due to the difficulty of typing in mathematical symbols.
  • even if students DO pass, how do we know that they’ve actually LEARNED anything?

A lively, fun, entertaining debate between two skilled and gifted instructors. The debate is always one of the highlights of the ITC conference…

More to come… Two afternoon sessions coming up!


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