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Last week I had a conversation with a college professor who teaches biology to pre-med students....well, taught is actually the word at this point.  He finished the January - June semester when everyone was sent home, into online-land and didn't at all like what he saw.  He saw all but the most talented students really struggling with the material--prior to online, they had to work harder, but they could get help, work together, come in for help, but once it went all online, they started failing.  They couldn't keep up, their test scores dropped.  The university gave pass/fail, so all but those who were absolutely failing made it through to the next level.  (I'm not so sure that is a great thing, considering that these are our future medical professionals...)  

He was offered his continuing contract (he's taught at the university for more than 10 years...) but the university had some additional instructions for him (and for all the professors).  It seems that it is pretty clear that this is really not going well, this online university education, and so the professors are being asked to make their classes a little easier, to drop the standards a bit, so that the students can make it through.  (Again....is this really the best idea???). Between the effect online education was having on his students (depression, lack of focus, failure), and then being asked to lower the standards....he just couldn't do it.  So he quit.

Then, tonight, I was talking to another person in another state employed in a law school.  She told me that the students are really not happy about the level of the education they are getting; that the hard-working, excelling students are really ticked off that they got the same Pass grade as the lower performing students.  And they are deeply suspicious of the *20%* increase in first-time passes of the bar exam this year.  They know that 20% increase is not come by honestly, but they don't know where the corruption is.  All in all, they know this is lowering the value of their degree, and that the actual education they are getting is also compromised.  

Online and in-person simply are not equal; pretending they are or cooking the books to make it look like they are--that's just wrong.  

 

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I took anatomy & physiology online when I went back for nursing school 17 years ago.  And maybe I was a top performing student, or maybe it was just that I actually did the work, but I found I learned much more than I would have in person (and I'd tried to take the class in person several times, and went to the first 3 weeks of classes in hopes people would drop, so I had some knowledge of it).

It definitely is harder to hide that you're slacking in an online class.  You have to do the assignments.  Making it easier for everyone to pass is disappointing.  But I disagree with the concept that online education is inherently worse.  It's not, any more than home school is inherently better or worse.  It all comes down to the work that you do.

And I wouldn't worry too much about medical students.  It's tough to grade inflate organic chemistry.

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It's too bad some schools are simply offering pass/fail to everyone.  Last spring at my dc's university, students had to opt in for pass/fail.  If they were good students, they were encouraged to keep any slightly-less-high-than-usual grades to show they were still doing pretty well, despite the  situation.  I haven't asked what the policy is this semester.  Off to google....

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My son's classes have not dropped in difficulty level since going online.  (Now most are hybrid but they started out only online).  Those who are online only are actually a tiny bit harder because they have extra requirements to make up for some of the discussion components that are not able to be done as well.  So I would assume that this is very much dependent on the college/university and possibly even the professors. 

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My boys say their online classes aren't dumbed down at all. They are comparable in difficulty to the in person classes they've taken, and the grading is the same, too - no Pass/Fail at their university.

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I agree that online is not equivalent to an in-person experience for many students in many subject areas.  In my experience, I cannot say it is necessarily less work on the student's part (and I definitely know it is not on the professor's part).  I have polled my students and in university-wide surveys students are saying that they are working harder than they did before.  I don't think we have any good measures yet on how much learning is occurring compared to in-person.  

We are also having more students report anxiety and depression.  It is easy to say that the online education is contributing to anxiety and depression, but that may be attributing the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty that everyone is facing in today's world to online education instead of the pandemic.  If we were having all in-person classes right now, there is not guarantee that the anxiety and depression would be less.   

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

t definitely is harder to hide that you're slacking in an online class.  You have to do the assignments.  Making it easier for everyone to pass is disappointing.  But I disagree with the concept that online education is inherently worse.  It's not, any more than home school is inherently better or worse.  It all comes down to the work that you do.

I agree with this. It’s definitely not the same online as in person, but it’s not always worse. My kids i’ve had quite a few really excellent classes online, some of them for coronavirus. The ones that aren’t as good are the teachers who make up for no live classes by just adding more requirements for the online class to make up for the missing class time. My kids most of the time find that online classes do require more work than in person classes, and I would guess that’s where the dipping grades are coming in. I’ve got one kid with three online classes this semester, and she is having a good experience with all of  them. Her professors this quarter have done a good job making their course well suited to the online format. I have another kid with one DE class online, and that professor has clearly worked really hard to make the online version of his class engaging. I get the idea he’s not one who has been used to teaching online in the past, but that he must’ve spent a lot of time over summer preparing. I know not all teachers have done that and some online classes are not so good. My main point is just that I don’t think it necessarily has to be that way. Obviously, you’re not going to have the same experience in an online anatomy lab versus an in person cadaver lab, but it seems to me most colleges are prioritizing those kinds of classes as being the ones that are on campus, if any.
 

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Online learning isn't new.  I was taking online college classes over 20 years ago.  Like a lot of in-person classes, the quality varied depending on the instructor.  It's not a format that is for everyone or every type of class, for sure, but if you have a good instructor and you apply yourself, you'll have a good outcome most of the time. 

I think a lot of the problem is that everyone had to make the switch to online against their will.  Now you've got instructors that never wanted to teach online forced into it, while also having to be instant experts at tech support for the various products being used.   

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I think it differs depending on the course/subject and the number of student in the class. My grad quantitative methods course is excellent. It's done live/synchronous over Teams, the prof has all the slides prepared for us to go through, we have opportunities to ask and answer questions, we do break-outs in small groups, and there are homework assignments every week.

My dh teaches undergraduate statistics courses, and it's a little harder to do the group engagement due to larger class sizes, but it is possible. My dd and ds are both doing full-time undergraduate work (biology and philosophy) and they are 100% on-line. They are happy with the content, mostly synchronous classes. The virtual labs are a different story for dd in biology, but fortunately she doesn't have chem or bio labs this term. Her labs last spring were horrible or non-existent. The worst is being forced into groups to do lab assignments and you can't get hold of the people in the group.

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My college sophomore dd is doing hybrid online/in person and it is challenging. She is mostly at home and her classes are mostly synchronous . Her calculus and computer science classes are ones where she would have spent extra time with ta’s daily, plus study groups, plus whatever other help she could get. She has used online tutoring but it’s not the same. She is struggling, but at this point in the semester it looks like she is going to get through it. 
 

Time management is also an issue for her. Not actually going to school makes it easy to let things slide. Also, you don’t take advantage of library study time between classes in the same way when you are at home. 
 

I don’t believe her classes are easier - it’s the exact same syllabus from last year. Same expectations and lesson progression. Less in person help. Less camaraderie with other students and professors. Videos of lectures are not the same.
 

its Not horrible but it’s a strange year. It’s also isolating and I can hear that she is lonely. But it has made it possible for to build up a little side gig (Etsy paintings) and that has seriously taken off. ( May be contributing to some of the time management issues. 🤷‍♀️)
 

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I'm TAing online and in conversations with other professors. Online is a different beast, and imo a good online course should be structured and graded as an online course. For instance, I know some professors who lowered the weighting of tests, in some cases making it open book, because they know students will use their notes anyway. 

One professor who traditionally has weekly in class discussion over primary sources, creates weekly panel guests (other historical figures in powerpoint slides) and allows them to be the voices of the students. He even does the different voices - for a survey level course - I find that really engaging and the feedback so far is good. 

The LMS needs to be set up well - as well as the syllabus(if students read it after day 1) - so students can find the info they need without wading through extraneous information. 

Also, in previous semesters the online students have been pretty self-selecting. I like them because of the options to work when I want. Some professors do better online than others too. 

I know many are thinking about tweaks for spring classes - for some, fall setups were experimental. I imagine there will be a lot of conversations of what worked and what didn't. I would hope that spring online courses are more effective. 

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12 minutes ago, elegantlion said:

I'm TAing online and in conversations with other professors. Online is a different beast, and imo a good online course should be structured and graded as an online course. For instance, I know some professors who lowered the weighting of tests, in some cases making it open book, because they know students will use their notes anyway. 

One professor who traditionally has weekly in class discussion over primary sources, creates weekly panel guests (other historical figures in powerpoint slides) and allows them to be the voices of the students. He even does the different voices - for a survey level course - I find that really engaging and the feedback so far is good. 

The LMS needs to be set up well - as well as the syllabus(if students read it after day 1) - so students can find the info they need without wading through extraneous information. 

Also, in previous semesters the online students have been pretty self-selecting. I like them because of the options to work when I want. Some professors do better online than others too. 

I know many are thinking about tweaks for spring classes - for some, fall setups were experimental. I imagine there will be a lot of conversations of what worked and what didn't. I would hope that spring online courses are more effective. 

Sorry if this is obvious, but what is LMS?

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Online has been a mixed bag for me. I have one class that has a rock star instructor who is so thorough. She does multiple small group discussions in addition to her recorded lectures and really holds our feet to the fire. I’m learning a ton. I have another class and the instructor is lazy, only has prerecorded lectures, and we’re basically having to teach ourselves. These instructors would probably be the same in person but being online really turns up the volume. 

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My DD’s school did not go pass/fail, and while professors were encouraged to be flexible, standards really didn’t change. If anything, classes got harder because in class discussions were replaced by essays and papers. DD’s math professor extended the deadlines for the Spring semester without changing content at all , but it definitely made the class harder-DD basically taught herself the content using Khan Academy. 
 

This semester, one of DD’s classes did not have access to the software they normally would have, so it has been adapted to be all sketching and drawing, but still demonstrating the same principles. DD is enjoying it, and for her, it is an elective so the modification won’t matter, but I imagine that down the road, a later graphic design class will have to include a lot of the software work. 

Her math class is hybrid, which basically means it’s taught as a regular class with lectures, but over TEAMS. It’s going much better than the one in the Spring, and the big difference is being able to ask questions in real-time. students are also doing more nreakouts and discussion groups, and the school has gotten more of the support services online for those that need them. The professor also has gone through and curated videos for the class topics, so there are links to multiple sources that actually match. 
 

Having said that, she picked classes with faculty who already taught the same course online pre-COVID. 
 

DD chose not to take more classes this semester because most of what she wanted/needed just didn’t seem to work well online. Spring is also likely to be online/hybrid, so she is likely to pick classes with similar priorities in the Spring. 

I’m hoping that universities are understanding about seniors having lighter schedules this year than in prior years of high school.

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I have two in college. One has three online classes and two in-person classes (one reserved the option to go online if necessary for some weeks). 

One of the online classes (graduate level) has always been online. So, I'm assuming quality/rigor is normal.
One class could be taken online or in-person in the past. This course also seems normal.
One class is now online has always been in-person before (usually lots of discussion). However, teacher has never taught this class before, so it's hard to get a feel for this. The class does seem easier than the classes leading up to this one, but that could also be due to the new teacher. 

My kids have various college friends too. The thing I noticed in the spring is some of the kids had trouble when they didn't have to go to class but just sit in front of their screen. They had trouble remembering the time/day and not getting distracted by the stuff around them (especially so if they were in their bedrooms).  My theory is that having to put on clothes, drive/walk there, go into a classroom where you see everyone, have to hand in work, take a test with others around you, etc - that structure is very helpful to some students who are easily distracted. 

Personally, I can't imagine trying to take a college class I've always taught in person before and putting it all online. Okay, I can see just recording the lectures, but what about the tests/exams/quizzes? What about the discussion and how to encourage/facilitate that? I would think it would take a while and a couple of iterations to get it in a state you really thought worked well. 

The other has a variety of classes (mostly hybrid). The labs (3) are the rough part. One lab (which in the past has been very lengthy - say 5+ hours) is much shorter now. One lab they are doing in half the lab time (other half of the class comes in the second half of lab), so I know that has been modified to be easier. One lab consists of just a few in-person lab sessions (but not in a lab, outside) and then you do the lab work really outside of the lab environment itself - but this is suitable for the class. 

ETA: College of both did go pass/fail in the spring. This was probably very helpful to some students. It is back to regular grading now. However, one of their friends attends a college that is still pass/fail this fall. It's the only school I know continuing the same pass/fail options (you can chose after the end of the semester, anything D- and above is considered passing). 
 

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My pre-med daughter is currently doing hybrid (though mostly online). She is highly motivated and I’m impressed with her discipline. She hates that it’s not in person. It’s just not the same. 
 

But regarding pre-med and our future medical professionals, the biggest thing to get you into med school will continue to be MCAT scores. Anyone can get an inflated GPA but if your MCAT scores don’t reflect that, you may not get in. So people who are pre-med just resting on their inflated easy A are just hurting themselves in the long run. 

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That is unfortunate.  My sons university (top 50 public) had opt in pass fail in the spring.  My kid didn’t opt in.  They aren’t offering it this semester.   He is mostly online though is a music (and comp sci) major and has had some safe in person opportunities and has been on campus 5 weeks longer than I thought he would.  
 

he’s felt like some things are harder and more rigorous and some aren’t.  And like his calc class online is a mess.  That is a long story but I have a feeling that will be curbed differently this semester.   He took another calc class online over the summer and that was considerably better.  

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55 minutes ago, sassenach said:

Online has been a mixed bag for me. ... I have another class and the instructor is lazy, only has prerecorded lectures, and we’re basically having to teach ourselves. 

I think this has been true for many--a mixed bag. My eldest is a sophomore & is very used to doing live, online classes from her homeschooled days. The difference is that those were well-done. The College ones are either

1) designed to be online (pre-pandemic) and are pretty much teach-yourself/ discussion board posts/ list of items to complete. Very few of these even have recorded lectures.

2) Adapted to be online -- changing to something like what is listed in #1 hopefully with the addition of recorded lectures or preferably live online meeting times. These can include labs which use recordings of what the lab should be like & files of results data or the addition of lots of written assignments to make up for the loss of in-class discussion.

The latter tend to be the classes that kids are struggling with the most. There seems to the students to be the addition of a lot of busy work. The inability to talk or listen to others talk through ideas hampers some students because that is how they synthesize the material. They find it difficult to think through it on their own and few are finding a way to connect with others in the online environment to meet that need.

Time management has always been a struggle for college students, but it is more of a problem for some now without the artificial structure of in person class.

One big issue I've picked up on is when there used to be lots of opportunities for study groups or just informal gatherings where it was simple to ask for help with a subject. For those who struggle with asking for help,  attending office hours, or going to tutoring (which is offered free through both my DD's colleges), those informal gatherings were easier ways to reach out for that assistance.

My dd#2 is doing a couple classes through the local state college. They are in person but also have a significant on-line class presence from pre-pandemic times. All of their online classes are of the self-teachung type I listed in #1 above. If you can't teach yourself, keep up with the list of assignments each week, or "engage" with others in a purely discussion board/email environment, you fail at these classes. 

Dd#1's college has a mix of online, hybrid, and in person classes this semester. Next semester looks the same. The hybrid (at least one in-person meeting a week) method seems to be better than the all-online one from what I can tell. 

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My DD is doing DE at the local 2 year college.  She has just 1 class in person.  The teacher rearranged the material so that more of the teaching part was front loaded, so she will have more writing the second half.  So far they are still in person, but the teacher has to Zoom every class for students who are quarantined or just don't want to come.   They have gone from 25+ students to less than 10 showing up.  I don't think its just online, I think its all the pandemic stress.

As for the 3 online classes shes taking, I think they are going pretty well.  We did wait until the last week to sign up and tried to pick classes that could be done easily online.  

The school has posted the classes for next semester and everything is in 8 week blocks instead of 16.  The thinking is that students will stay on task for a shorter time period, and only have 2 classes to focus on.  I'm not a fan!  We've found 4 classes to take, but she's not going to have Calc or Biology that we had planned.  I'm looking at other options for the Calculus- probably self-taught on Khan and with the Cslc book I bought.  

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1 hour ago, sassenach said:

Online has been a mixed bag for me. I have one class that has a rock star instructor who is so thorough. She does multiple small group discussions in addition to her recorded lectures and really holds our feet to the fire. I’m learning a ton. I have another class and the instructor is lazy, only has prerecorded lectures, and we’re basically having to teach ourselves. These instructors would probably be the same in person but being online really turns up the volume. 

My son is doing dual credit classes and this is his exact experience. One professor does regular live classes, breaks the class into small groups, has online homework and quizzes, answers questions quickly and completely, and provides other resources. The other class has an instructor who's only done two live, chaotic classes this semester (No regular lectures, not even prerecorded lectures), mostly just has them read or watch a video and answer questions, and the students are mostly teaching themselves. I'm feeling much more confident about our homeschool high school classes after seeing what's passing for university level work!

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1 hour ago, cbollin said:

Learning Management System.  (examples: moodle, canvas, d2L (desire to learn), and others products)

I have no idea what these are. Never heard of any of them. Are they on-line platforms for supporting student and teacher interactions? 

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4 minutes ago, wintermom said:

I have no idea what these are. Never heard of any of them. Are they on-line platforms for supporting student and teacher interactions? 

It's wild to me that you haven't encountered these. The 2 colleges I have attended in the last 4 years (and my kids' high school) have had online platforms, even for in-person classes. It's a place to see your grades, retrieve files, receive communication, etc. My current school uses iLearn. My previous school and the high school use Canvas. How does your university handle communication with students? 

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1 minute ago, sassenach said:

It's a place to see your grades, retrieve files, receive communication, etc.  

To post and submit assignments, have forums for discussion, all kinds of things. And yes, our experience has been that they are used for every class. 

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4 minutes ago, sassenach said:

It's wild to me that you haven't encountered these. The 2 colleges I have attended in the last 4 years (and my kids' high school) have had online platforms, even for in-person classes. It's a place to see your grades, retrieve files, receive communication, etc. My current school uses iLearn. My previous school and the high school use Canvas. How does your university handle communication with students? 

I live in Canada. That might explain it. I use Brightspace, my dc use different platforms for their high school courses. This is an international forum and it's a big world outside of the US. 

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8 minutes ago, wintermom said:

I live in Canada. That might explain it. I use Brightspace, my dc use different platforms for their high school courses. This is an international forum and it's a big world outside of the US. 

Then you still use a LMS.  Big world or not. 

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5 minutes ago, wintermom said:

I live in Canada. That might explain it. I use Brightspace, my dc use different platforms for their high school courses. This is an international forum and it's a big world outside of the US. 

by the way, D2L (which I mentioned above as one of several that are out there) is the creator of Brightspace. 

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2 minutes ago, cbollin said:

by the way, D2L (which I mentioned above as one of several that are out there) is the creator of Brightspace. 

It sounds like you work directly in this specific field, and/or are quite familiar with these acronyms. I'm familiar with the phrase "on-line platform" and I'm studying within the field of Education. Not everyone uses the same terminology, I guess. Dare I even ask what D2L stands for, or will I look like a complete hick? 🤣

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9 minutes ago, wintermom said:

It sounds like you work directly in this specific field, and/or are quite familiar with these acronyms. I'm familiar with the phrase "on-line platform" and I'm studying within the field of Education. Not everyone uses the same terminology, I guess. Dare I even ask what D2L stands for, or will I look like a complete hick? 🤣

I already said what D2L stands for up thread but due to punctuation errors it was easy to miss.   The company use to go by its full name (Desire to Learn), but now uses abbreviations like it's all cool thing to do. 

 No. I don't work directly in this field. I'm a homeschool mom who has 2 children who are taking college level courses online while at home.  Also, I have taken some online classes for non credit and notice these things on the screens.  Also, in the course materials sometimes the instructor will call it D2L and other times Brightspace. I learned from that observation that names change. I got curious one day and looked it up.  Thought it would be an interesting tidbit to share.

Hope that helps a bit with some of the alphabet soup. 

 

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I'm teaching three f2f classes and one online class this semester. All of my classes are just as rigorous as they have always been. 

My current online class, as well as all of the online classes I've previously taught, is classified by my institution as asynchronous. This means I cannot require attendance for any live sessions, and I have to provide a recording of each live session (or make a separate video if any student objects to the live session being recorded) to post on Blackboard for all the students who did not join the live session. So, yes, I use prerecorded lectures. This in no way makes me a lazy professor. In fact, it can take several hours to prepare, record, edit, upload, and share one video. This is in addition to monitoring the discussion boards, grading weekly journals and bigger projects, responding to student emails, writing weekly agendas (more like instructional guides than merely a list of assignments), etc.

I'd love to have live small group discussions instead of asynchronous semi-discussions via the discussion board, but I'm not allowed to require synchronous attendance for anything in an asynchronous course. I also have to account for the fact that some students do not have computers with webcams or microphones, so all they can do is listen and type in the chat box. 

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34 minutes ago, wintermom said:

I live in Canada. That might explain it. I use Brightspace, my dc use different platforms for their high school courses. This is an international forum and it's a big world outside of the US. 

🤔 I'm not sure what I said to warrant this comment? It sounds like Brightspace is an LMS. I'm sure there's a million different kinds out there.

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DS took over half his high school classes online and loved them.  Now granted I sought out well reviewed classes and tried to pick the best of the best but it was a great experience and perfect learning environment for him.  He actually wished for online college classes.  He's a senior in college this year and let's just say the online experience sucks.  It's not that he doesn't know how handle/manage online classes, its the professors truly suck at presenting it online.  Now we both understand that these poor professors were stuck with very little prep time to revamp their classes and obviously not everyone is capable of  preparing and engaging online class but yeah it's been pretty awful on the student side.  Pre-recorded lectures, no opportunity to ask questions.  Sure you can email questions but it might be a day or two before you get answers which might be too late to gain understanding for the homework that was due.  No group discussions, no study groups.  On top of this one of his teachers is brand new to teaching altogether so has no practice with online or in person and is really doing a bad job conveying information to the students (DS says many classmates are complaining what a bad job this teacher is doing).  At this point, we are perfectly happy with dumbed down classes, pass/fail, lower the curve etc.  DS totally doesn't care at this point he just wants to be DONE with this process.  He already is working his long term permanent job and the company requires he has that piece of paper to promote him.  They are already are training him for that position so as soon as he has the paper he can move forward in life.  

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1 minute ago, sassenach said:

🤔 I'm not sure what I said to warrant this comment? It sounds like Brightspace is an LMS. I'm sure there's a million different kinds out there.

Mia culpa. I should have simply googled these acronyms. 

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13 minutes ago, cjzimmer1 said:

He's a senior in college this year and let's just say the online experience sucks.  It's not that he doesn't know how handle/manage online classes, its the professors truly suck at presenting it online

You said it better than I did. Thank you.

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13 hours ago, Katy said:

It definitely is harder to hide that you're slacking in an online class.  You have to do the assignments.  Making it easier for everyone to pass is disappointing.  But I disagree with the concept that online education is inherently worse.  It's not, any more than home school is inherently better or worse.  It all comes down to the work that you do.

This.

I have two master's degrees that I got online.  I got a lot out of the programs because I put a lot into them in that I spent the full 20 hours per week (for a 3 unit class) reading, writing, and thinking, and sometimes far more. 

That said, many of my classmates were total idiots, and some of the worst offenders even graduated with honors.  However, I suspect that even if the programs had been in person, this same thing would have happened.

I honestly don't see why a well executed online class should be any different than an in-person class in terms of learning opportunity.  Then again, the last time I did in-person learning was in the 1980s when no one was coddled.

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As a college professor and two children in college (one as an undergrad and one as a grad student), I have seen several things happen as much has been moved online:

1)  Little things like not getting up out of your chair from one class to another, not picking up your books and walking to the next classroom, not seeing the smile of a friend in the hallway between classes, and not being in a different room for the next class all add up.  The little bit of stretching, movement, exercise, and maybe even a bit of fresh air that students had between classes is missing; the cumulative physical toll is large.  They are not getting the physical cues to mentally switch gears; they are looking at the same screen and sitting in the same place for biology as they did for history.  And, they are not getting all of the minor human interactions between classes; that has a psychological impact.  

2) In an attempt to keep rigor up, to weigh exams less because of less-than-ideal testing environments, and to keep students engaged, professors have listened to much of the "best practices" in on-line teaching and assigned lots of small, low stakes assignments with due dates scattered throughout the week and times of day.  This has increased the mental load on time management.  Now, a student doesn't just have to make sure the math homework is done before 9:00 am class on Tues and Thurs, the student has to remember to do the homework and upload it to the computer by 7:00pm on Monday and 7:00pm on Wednesday, reply to a discussion board by noon on Sunday, take a short quiz by 5:00 on Friday AND show up for class; there are many more "pieces" to keep up with.

3) Much of the ad hoc learning is missing.  Students don't wander into the class room and ask the professor about something they just saw on the news that the professor can then weave into the class lecture.

4) Students are missing interactions with their peers.  While some classes lend themselves to breakout discussions, it is more difficult in others.  Students cannot easily share with each other how they are working a complex math problem unless they have technology that allows them to do so, for example.  Their peers are distracted and mentally exhausted from the pandemic, as we all are.  They aren't able to give the same quality participation as they were in past semesters and that impacts everyone's learning.  And, it is hard to maintain group work when one is out with COVID, one is attending the funeral of his grandfather who died from COVID, one is in quarantine and worried, etc.  

 

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3 hours ago, cbollin said:

Learning Management System.  (examples: moodle, canvas, d2L (desire to learn), and others products)

Moodle has been used by high schools and universities in BC for many years, though my kids have mostly done in-class learning, and I myself am not experienced with that platform.

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I think online college classes can be done well, but just like in public school, online classes do not work for every student or every instructor.

My DS had taken an online class at his college last fall, and it was a well done class and one of his favorites so far. However, it was designed as an asynchronous course from the start. This semester, he has one class that is asynchronous online, and this course was designed that way pre-Covid. His other course is part online and part in person. It has 2x week live lectures that are 3hrs each. The live lectures are what is hard for him. The classes that were online pre-Covid have well structured modules with shorter recorded lectures and/or outside video resources. If this class didn’t include the one day in person, I imagine that DS would not be doing as well as he is (which isn’t that great, but he is passing)
 

Simply moving a live class to online is not the way to go. Classes that are designed from the ground up be an online class seem to work much better. At least recorded lectures can be paused for bathroom breaks or to get up and walk around for a few minutes.

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Another thing to add ab

2 minutes ago, City Mouse said:

Simply moving a live class to online is not the way to go. Classes that are designed from the ground up be an online class seem to work much better. At least recorded lectures can be paused for bathroom breaks or to get up and walk around for a few minutes.

And many of my colleagues are in a situation of having to do hybrid courses--where they are both online and in person, having to meet the needs of both students at the same time.  In an attempt to be all things to all people, IMO, many of those classes are becoming the worst of both worlds.

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12 hours ago, kand said:

I agree with this. It’s definitely not the same online as in person, but it’s not always worse. My kids i’ve had quite a few really excellent classes online, some of them for coronavirus. The ones that aren’t as good are the teachers who make up for no live classes by just adding more requirements for the online class to make up for the missing class time. My kids most of the time find that online classes do require more work than in person classes, and I would guess that’s where the dipping grades are coming in. I’ve got one kid with three online classes this semester, and she is having a good experience with all of  them. Her professors this quarter have done a good job making their course well suited to the online format. I have another kid with one DE class online, and that professor has clearly worked really hard to make the online version of his class engaging. I get the idea he’s not one who has been used to teaching online in the past, but that he must’ve spent a lot of time over summer preparing. I know not all teachers have done that and some online classes are not so good. My main point is just that I don’t think it necessarily has to be that way. Obviously, you’re not going to have the same experience in an online anatomy lab versus an in person cadaver lab, but it seems to me most colleges are prioritizing those kinds of classes as being the ones that are on campus, if any.
 

 

While it wasn't the same, I think I learned much more from the online course.  Primarily because in person cadaver assignments take a lot of time, and you don't have time to look at every tissue sample at every level of magnification, and it's impossible to un-dissect tissue to then cut it in the opposite direction the way you can with software that includes illustrations, photographs, CT & MRI scans.  The software to take it online meant that every assignment encompassed looking at every level of magnification for every tissue type. Which meant that you heard it once in lecture, once in reading, once doing the assignment, once doing discussion, and once during exams, and all at your own pace so you weren't likely to miss something just because you got distracted for a moment. The weekly exams were open-book, but timed, and you weren't going to have the time to complete them if you didn't have 95% of the information memorized. I found that except for the skeletal system I didn't have to study much, I just had to do the work.

The labs that can't be done online, IMO, are chemistry labs and things like nursing that require patient interaction.  Maybe physics or engineering too, but I never took that in college so I'm just speculating.

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47 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

While it wasn't the same, I think I learned much more from the online course.  Primarily because in person cadaver assignments take a lot of time, and you don't have time to look at every tissue sample at every level of magnification, and it's impossible to un-dissect tissue to then cut it in the opposite direction the way you can with software that includes illustrations, photographs, CT & MRI scans.  The software to take it online meant that every assignment encompassed looking at every level of magnification for every tissue type. Which meant that you heard it once in lecture, once in reading, once doing the assignment, once doing discussion, and once during exams, and all at your own pace so you weren't likely to miss something just because you got distracted for a moment. The weekly exams were open-book, but timed, and you weren't going to have the time to complete them if you didn't have 95% of the information memorized. I found that except for the skeletal system I didn't have to study much, I just had to do the work.

The labs that can't be done online, IMO, are chemistry labs and things like nursing that require patient interaction.  Maybe physics or engineering too, but I never took that in college so I'm just speculating.

That makes sense. My cadaver labs were long enough ago that we didn’t have that kind of software (although we did actually have some kind of online anatomy program we had assignments in, even with it being more than twenty years ago.  Nothing like you describe, though.) Goes to show that even some of those things that seem like they would be impossible to do online aren’t necessarily.

 

At our local university, nursing programs and other clinical medical instruction are some of the only things happening in person.

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44 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

 

The labs that can't be done online, IMO, are chemistry labs and things like nursing that require patient interaction.  Maybe physics or engineering too, but I never took that in college so I'm just speculating.

For DS, they started the semester with his lab class being one day online and one day an optional in person lab day.  However before the lab class ever got to meet (the first week or two they were doing something else and didn't have the in person stuff going), the college moved everything to online.  So for all labs, they are just provided stock data and do the analysis from there.  DS says that this is actually the part of the online stuff that is going the smoothest.  But at this level(he's a senior chem major), the kids have all handled the equipment before so they aren't missing out on learning how stuff works, they are only missing out on the hands on doing it.  Which for some is critical to understanding but for DS it's been fine.  I'm sure at the freshman/sophomore level where they are first being exposed to some of the equipment, there is a lot of understanding missing on how to actually perform the task in real life. 

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16 hours ago, Patty Joanna said:

Last week I had a conversation with a college professor who teaches biology to pre-med students....well, taught is actually the word at this point.  He finished the January - June semester when everyone was sent home, into online-land and didn't at all like what he saw.  He saw all but the most talented students really struggling with the material  <snip>   the professors are being asked to make their classes a little easier, to drop the standards a bit, so that the students can make it through.  🤯😨

 

Online and in-person simply are not equal; pretending they are or cooking the books to make it look like they are--that's just wrong.  

 

1ds ended up withdrawing spring quarter because of the disruption and chaos. (his classes had been mostly online already!  but he always went to the library.  Professors did online lectures.  He had two surface's set up.  One to watch the lecture, one to write notes/do-work and able to refer to the lecture as needed.)  The counseling center said a lot of students really struggled with the changes last spring, and withdrew.  especially undergrads.   He's got things set up to try and cover the holes this fall - completely new study set-up since he can't go to the library anymore.  (let alone on campus.)

but . . . . . his meeting with the thesis board was cancelled because one of the professors was arrested for homicide.  (I found the case in the paper.  he's the one who called 911 immediately afterwards.  He in his 70s and has a degenerative physical illness.  He said his wife had been abusing him. A few other things.  So it will be investigated to figure out what was really going on.)  

Before covid - Dsil did his entire MBA online at a state university.  Dh's niece finished her undergrad (including advanced bio classes.  They'd send her the lab kits.) so she could get into the lab based masters?  doctoral? program she's working on.

It can be done - withOUT "lowering standards".

It sounds more like the college is afraid of losing funding with reduced graduation/pass rates.

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