What is it about?

This essay challenges claims that online courses are inherently inferior to their face-to-face counterparts. For many students, online courses--when carefully designed and conscientiously taught--offer an educational experience more viable than that of the traditional classroom.

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Why is it important?

Online coursework assumes particular importance for students in isolated areas or who have physical or other limitations (e.g., child care or elder care obligations) to accessing a brick-and-mortar campus. Rather than categorically condemning online teaching and learning, attention should turn to strategies of course design and pedagogy that best suit populations who could benefit the most.


I wrote this article as a response to yet another blanket condemnation of online education. Since 2002, I have been arguing that most of the objections to online education actually apply primarily to poorly designed and taught courses rather than to the digital environment per se.

Roy Schwartzman
University of North Carolina System

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Refining the Question: How Can Online Instruction Maximize Opportunities for All Students?, Communication Education, January 2007, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/03634520601009728.
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