Special Series: Teaching Online

    by Kathleen Bartzen Culver
    August 3, 2015
    Image courtesy of Flickr user Donald Jordan and used here under Creative Commons.

    It was the mother of all educator ironies. I was in a class to learn how to effectively do “blended learning” — the combination of in-person and online course activities to improve student learning. Planted at Starbucks with laptop, iPad, headphones and the largest caffeine-hyped iced tea they could brew me, I stared at the screen and the online discussion board before me.

    And then I jumped on Facebook instead.

    As enrollment growth in online offerings outpaces higher education enrollment growth overall, I remain a skeptic about the efficacy of purely online courses. I suspect that they can be inferior to in-person experiences in some cases or at best, no better than traditional teaching — what researcher Carol Twigg calls the “no significant difference phenomenon.”


    Yet when they’re done right, online approaches can improve learning and save precious resources. One pilot test in a cohort of schools found savings of 40 percent on average and stronger learning outcomes.

    So I wanted EdShift to explore the trends, the concerns and the kinds of things we all should be doing to ride the online teaching wave that shows no sign of cresting anytime soon.

    Series Posts

    Finding the Keys to Unlock Online Teaching Success, by Stacy Forster


    5 Things Students Want from Online Classes, by Tara Golshan

    Cheating in Online Courses, by Katherine Krueger

    How to Get Students to Participate in Online Classes, by Rick Brunson

    5 Lessons from Teaching Online and Hybrid Classes, by Kathy E. Gill

    A Student’s Perspective on Online Learning at Syracuse, by Robert Bierman

    #EdShift Chat

    Teaching Journalism Online, with Stacy Forster, Dan Gillmor, Tom Zeller, Kym Fox, Sarah Smith-Frigerio, Amy Simons and Tara Golshan

    Past Coverage

    Special Series: Blended Learning

    What it Takes to Go Digital First in Communication Law, by Erica Salkin

    Remix: How Our Data Students Succeeded with More Structure and Freedom, by Nicole Blanchett Nehili

    How Newhouse School’s Online Degree Will Change Virtual Education, by Meagan Doll

    8 Lessons in the Art of Teaching Journalism Online, by Amy Eisman

    Tagged: e-learning hybrid courses journalism education online classes online education online learning special series

    One response to “Special Series: Teaching Online”

    1. raymond rose says:


      I have to admit to being confused by this line: “I suspect that they [purely online courses] can be inferior to in-person experiences in some cases or at best, no better than traditional teaching” then followed by: “Yet when they’re done right, online approaches can improve learning and save precious resources.”

      In part because you seem to to want to say that all in-person experiences are face-to-face and can’t be happening online. Maybe you could clarify for me.


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