Online learning has often been misunderstood--and its quality is dependent on a number of variables

Is face-to-face learning always better than online learning?


Online learning has often been misunderstood--and its quality is dependent on a number of variables

This story, which debates whether online learning might be better than face-to-face, was originally published on August 28 and was eCN’s No. 6 most popular story of 2020. Check back each day for the next story in our countdown.

Much of the recent argument raging about reopening schools rests on the quality of online instruction. That’s understandable. However, there’s much about online instruction that remains misunderstood. It’s time to change that…

In my 50-year teaching career, I had the opportunity to create and teach online courses, an experience that sheds light on this debate. For starters, I can attest to that the quality of online instruction will improve as instructors and students become more familiar with it and engage with it more, and that if a program is a bit awkward at first, that awkward or clunky nature shouldn’t be used as a reason to physically reopen schools.

Related content: 4 recommendations for online learning in the fall

When the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business decided to offer an Online MBA degree, our first priority was to create the highest quality program possible. To achieve this goal, we built the online MBA program to feature weekend residence sessions at the beginning and end of each term, and synchronous video classes for each course. Synchronous video is like a Zoom conference.

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