The biggest problem online education has is online education. But, it’s getting better – a lot better.

Like all new things, online education went through the me-me-me stage. Closely followed by the awkward “Yikes, I did do that?” stage. Finally we seem to be saying: “Oh, that’s what you meant.” and “No that’s not quite what we meant.”

Phew. Online education is now able to ask students what they would like to learn online and; more importantly, ask how they would like to learn it. And we are better at hearing students say “the video was worthless” or “why did you make me buy that book?” Yes, we are asking, listening, hearing, and changing! Some of the things we’re changing are:

  • How we present courses
  • How instructors interact with students
  • How we assess learning

Overall, we see the learner as busy, yet very interested in learning. We know that the value of the instruction has to be communicated clearly and delivered in a respectful manner. Now, that wasn’t so difficult – was it? Hey we’ve only been doing online teaching for about a decade or so.

Yes, over a decade of not-very-good-teaching. I would like to personally apologize to all the folks who put their hands over their eyes and turned away screaming from their monitor. Come back and give online education another try. We want to teach you. And, I believe we are prepared to do a much better job.

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