By Dian Schaffhauser
While online instruction — including MOOCs — is frequently peddled as a way to expand access and deliver learning without barriers to students, the format is ill-suited to help those who could most benefit from a college education. Those are the parting thoughts from the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, a coalition of faculty groups, in its last of three reports examining the potential fallout from higher ed’s seemingly unstoppable rush to adopt online forms of education.
In the latest report, “The ‘Promises’ of Online Higher Education: Access,” the coalition laid out its argument that even as the population of “underserved” students grows, access to the support services these students need to succeed in college are diminishing. Simultaneously, the report stated, they’re increasingly being shunted into online programs for which they’re particularly ill-suited.
The report’s authors listed several problems with using online courses, especially in situations where the programs are intended to bring up students’ skills in foundational subjects:
- The digital divide is real; lower income families, people with less education, those with disabilities or living rurally, and certain populations of color — blacks and Hispanics — are far less likely to have access to newer computing equipment or the broadband necessary for accessing video-intensive lessons;
[ Full article available at Campus Technology: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2013/10/23/faculty-coalition-online-courses-leading-to-sub-prime-education.aspx?=CT21 ]