There’s more to learning than passing a test

Though has received high praise, can it conquer the education landscape and eliminate the need for community colleges as it purports?

“There’s so much more going on in community college environments than just simply a transfer of information, countered Bunker Hill Community College Professor Ed Cuoco. “Modeling, synthesizing information that computers can’t convey…and even the use of real-time examples in the news by teachers all help students develop their skills and ensure ideas get through. I just don’t see that going away.”

Naugatuck Valley Community College Lecturer Brian Goedde echoed this idea, noting that “community colleges do so much more than offer just general education courses.”

For instance, numerous studies indicate that a majority of community college students take one or more developmental refresher courses after enrolling in order to ensure they are ready for the college level.

Another potential issue for the online medium is whether or not certain subjects can be taught as effectively online as they are through human interaction.

“How ‘stable’ is the subject, and is there significant nuance that completes the picture or provides a more accurate representation for the student,” pondered Cuoco. “For example, it’s quite hard to teach writing skills without live interaction. The development of persuasion, creativity, and the ability to think critically and apply logic to a situation… it’s impossible to teach all that in any broadcast environment.”

Moreover, not being taught by an actual instructor could prove jarring with many students.

“There are many learners who do great online, but there are many who don’t,” said Goedde. “Many students need classroom time with face to face interaction where they get answers to their questions as needed. It doesn’t sound like the Ask the Instructor function is enough to ensure students succeed. What about tutoring or advising?”

Both professors also noted that the environment, discipline, and drive of a student play a large role in how well they might succeed using a service like exclusively.

“Unfortunately, many community college students are just not as self-motivated,” said Goedde. “Great student skills allow you to be an independent learner online, and often, community college students aren’t great online learners.”

For students who are properly motivated, though, could prove to be an invaluable resource.

“My goal is to receive a degree in nursing,” wrote Biology student Alexandria Wilkes. “I took my Kaplan test about a year and a half ago at the school I was attending. Unfortunately my scores were not high enough to be accepted into the RN program. I had taken Biology and that was what I scored the lowest in. Frustrated, I had no desire to attempt to take my test again. I felt defeated and the thought of retaking the test left me in fear. I thought I wasn’t smart enough. I have two children that are dependent on me and my income is so low, I lost hope.”

Finding made all the difference for Wilkes, however. For the first time in over a year, Wilkes said she felt excited and positive about her future in nursing. “I really thought I wasn’t smart enough, but the way this program breaks the subjects down, I feel encouraged. Words cannot explain how much help this program is to me.”

“It really comes down to being able to reach students in a new way,” Calesero said. “You lose that one-on-one interaction, but engage them in other ways. has a visual element and transcript, and the quiz helps you retain the knowledge. It’s tailored to students who want to learn. Keeping students engaged and interested is difficult, so showing 5 to 10 minute videos they can pick and choose to watch and look back on could prove much more effective…[in getting them] more excited about learning. That’s what’s great about, and why I think it has tons of potential.”

For more on and how it works, take a look here.