Tony Bates uses some strong words to comment on a study by Figlio, D., Rush, N. and Yin, L. (2010), but it’s more than justified. How many studies and “expert” opinions on online learning reflect the utmost ignorance of what it is or what it should be? Tony Bates has the authority to say this and his words are well worth remembering.
This is another useless comparative study between online and face-to-face teaching, This study looked at 312 undergraduate students in one microeconomics course in one unnamed state university and found that male, Hispanic and low achieving students did worse online than in face-to-face classes. From this the NBER had the cheek to conclude that online learning is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
However, the online courses in this study were just video recordings of the classroom lectures. Is it surprising that the online students – especially the more disadvantaged – did less well? Will someone please tell universities and colleges in the United States that they need to redesign courses for online teaching?
Merely putting lectures (good or bad) online is bad design.