The NYTimes had a story that profiled the University of Florida’s use of broadcasting lectures online to decrease the cost of delivering courses to a greater number of students (link here). A major emphasis of the report is that academic departments need to find efficient models of delivery in a time of decreasing budgets.
While I agree with the gist of the article, there are more cost effective ways to educate students than the traditional face-to-face classroom, I completely disagree that what was profiled was online learning. We’ve seen for years educators that video their lecture and post it as a podcast or stream it online. This is NOT online learning. E-learning needs to incorporate curriculum designed to be taken in and retained via the web. It should use the real-time nature of the web to engage students and deliver interactive content, building an environment where students can dig into the materials in an individualized manner. The course needs to be redesigned to meet the needs of e-learners while incorporating the advantages of being online.
I know it the path of least resistance is for an instructor to stream a video of the same class that they have traditionally taught, but can’t we do better?