In a special section of The Chronicle of Higher Education on “Online Learning” Deputy Director of postsecondary improvement at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mark David Milliron (full article requires subscription) suggests that we end the feud over online learning in higher education. On the one side of the debate Milliron says we have those who will always oppose technological innovation (let us call them the Luddites) and on the other side we have those who will always opt for the bells and whistles of the techno-sirens.
In this post-modern age of cds, DVDs, cell phones, laptop computers, wi-fi, blogs, twitter, facebook and the like, it is all the more important to have a clear union perspecitve on our ever changing teaching-and-learning environments.
Distance Education classes, including online classes, have been part of NCCs offerings for a long time, and certainly President Astrab has been clear about his desire to increase online offerings going forward. The NCCFT sees great value in offering high quality online courses taught by NCC’s highly qualified faculty. We understand that online courses help us meet the needs of a changing student population and that they can offer the flexibility many students need when their lives are complicated by additional responsibilities at work and at home.
The NCCFT sees particular benefit in expanding our hybrid or blended course offerings, and we agree with Milliron who notes that “strategic use of online resources, most often in blended format, lead to significantly improved student achievement and reduced costs.” As professionals and as educators it is of great importance to us that those cost savings never be achieved at the expense of student success.