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Building Personal Connections Online

by Rachael Cusick

Slate

Article excerpt

An Online Education Disconnect

Distance education has the capacity to reach more students across further geographic and socioeconomic lines than most colleges can traditionally do on a campus. But some folks aren’t convinced that these online platforms provide the level of collaboration and human interaction that’s needed for an effective learning environment.

Our take

Online Education’s Codependency With Connections

Online learning is showing some promise as part of a hybrid approach to education, providing options that would otherwise be unavailable to students based on location or access to top teaching talent. But these experiences still lag behind the traditional, face-to-face, teaching environment. How could you better engage students in combination traditional/digital classrooms?

While digital learning clearly has some place in the future of education, there is no question that the format requires different sorts of considerations about how to effectively engage students. Instructors need to carefully consider how to create an environment where students and teachers, and students and each other, will feel comfortable interacting in relevant ways. Doing this effectively requires more than simply taking a live course’s format and content online. There is more structure required online, this online learner points out, and potentially less opportunity for meaningful personal connections. Online educators need to think as rigorously and specifically about building these interactions as they do about teaching the content; the two are codependent.

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