By Caleb Keith –
Online education is an interesting topic that finds itself at odds with traditional teachers and homeschooling parents alike. However many of the charges brought against it are simply not true and wrongfully put a bad taste in people’s mouths. I am going to cover three of the most common myths about online education. Keep in mind I am not the world’s leading expert in online education, but I took all four years of High school online, I have taken six units of undergrad classes online, and I took a four unit graduate level intensive Latin course online. That means I have taken more than 1,200 hours over three different levels of education on four different online platforms. (Not too shabby, though.)
Myth 1: Online Education Devalues Teachers
In my experience, this first myth couldn’t be any farther from the truth. It is a common misnomer that online education is handled 100% by a computer with a pre-programed grading sheet. However every online program I have been a part of has had teachers that are an integral and core piece of the student’s education. Teachers online may not spend every day in a classroom with a student, but they do provide essential instruction and feedback. Most online classes, across every topic, involve heavy amounts of writing. Teachers are in charge of grading these assignments but more importantly they help the student cultivate writing skills through conversation via email, phone call, or video chat. Without teachers, online education would suffer and be reduced to copious amounts of multiple choice grade sheets.
Myth 2: Online Students Don’t Learn Since they can Google Answers
Out of all the typical myths and rumors about online school, the one above is the most rooted in fact. Students can and do Google the answers to questions on homework, quizzes, and tests. However if a student resorted to this as an alternative to learning facts and concepts in any class they would fail. Every test I have ever taken online has two measures safeguarding against cheaters. The first safeguard is a timer that automatically submits quizzes and tests after a certain time. If a student were to Google the answers to every question they would fail to complete the exam. The second and most important is that every exam includes or is followed by an essay or a paper. In my experience these essays typically make up over sixty percent of the quiz or tests overall score; meaning if you can’t coherently write five hundred words on the subject at hand, you’re not passing. Google can do a lot of great things, but it can’t guarantee that you’ll pass your class online.
Myth 3: Online Education is a Copout for Lazy Homeschooling Parents
I can tell you that some parents out there have used online education as an excuse to become uninvolved in their children’s education. However, I can also say with confidence that many parents use traditional schools as a copout as well for being involved in their child’s educational lives and blame teachers when their child begins to struggle. Like any form of schooling, parents have to be involved in the educational process or their child will suffer. With online school particularly, students need the help of parents in the formation of reading and writing skills. Additionally strict deadlines mean that parents have to keep tabs on their child’s progression through the year and make sure they aren’t falling behind. If a parent is trying to find the most hands-off approach to their child’s education they should send them to a public school rather than pay for online courses, which require their regular assistance.
Online education is becoming more readily available each year. Despite some common misconceptions, this is an extremely valuable resource that is reshaping education in many beneficial ways. With a heavy focus on reading, writing, and memory retention, online education helps students master essential skills that will prepare them for the university and the workforce. If you have heard any other myths or have concerns yourself about online education, drop a line below in the comments section and I’ll address it.
~Bringing it from the Digital World to the Real world: The Ghost in the Machine