Friday, January 21, 2011

Learning Online is Like Dinner

Online learning is a lot like eating dinner.  It can be like a quick cruise through a drive through, providing a fast and convenient option for appeasing your hungry belly as you strive to meet the rest of your daily commitments. 

Online learning can also be like eating a warm, delicious home cooked meal amidst a group of friends or family.  This eating experience is different because sitting at the table involves more than just appeasing a hungry belly.  It provides opportunities for conversation, reflection, sharing, and good hearty debate.  Essentially, this meal involves being included in a community...even if just for a brief time.

Learning online is similar -- and each type of learning experience can serve a specific group of learners effectively.  Unfortunately, online students too frequently crave the home cooked meal but, instead, are delivered a bag with a burger and fries.

Imagine showing up at your mom's house for a family dinner and being greeted with a bag of McDonald's at the front door.  Imagine going to McDonalds for a quick bit and being expected to come in for an evening of conversation and discussion.  You likely wouldn't appreciate either scenario.

I think it's time for students to understand the type of meal they'll receive before they register in an online class rather than unveiling it on day one.

What are you serving this semester?
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