The perils of online learning, in one graph

6 thoughts on “The perils of online learning, in one graph”

  1. Another stimulating meditation, Raghu, thank you for the nuance and the reticence of the conclusions you draw from you experience of this course in two iterations.

    The passivity / passivization (?) that results from a reception-mode-only course modality is well attested (down with the sage-on-the-stage lecture! up with the flipped classroom and collaborative learning! etc.*). Watching a lecture however is not the same as following one, whether in person or remotely, whether live or recorded; and student demand for (and professors’ provision of) course notes, ppts, review sheets, etc. makes the experience of “taking” a course even more passive. Of course, taking notes in class (lecture or discussion) isn’t an exercise in mechanical transcription–it requires active simultaneous processing, synthesizing, and paraphrasing / abbreviating. But most students seem confident that receiving good and accurate study materials from the professor is what will improve their understanding and retention of course content. And so back to the question of how student motivation correlates with lecture attendance and active lecture engagement, and which way/s the lines of causation run.

    And also, off to order your book.

    (*For the record, I don’t like to teach via lecture either)

    1. Thanks!
      About review sheets, etc. — I agree! Especially before exams, students often ask me for some sort of summary / review sheet, and seem puzzled by my response that *making* such a thing is a great way to study.

    1. Looks great — thanks! Quickly skimming, it seems like a lot of thought was put into a well-designed online course, e.g. ” The incentive to fill out the incomplete notebook may have reduced the effect of environmental distractions by keeping students actively
      engaged in lecture.”
      (I have to complain that the absence of *graphs* in the paper is really annoying.)

  2. Late to this party, but… would you still say the problem has indeed disappeared? I have found a continued lack of attendance, with or without Zoom option, in my classes. Only part of this can be blamed on the continued fact of COVID (and other diseases). As you say, there’s enough paternalism in academics, so I do not require attendance explicitly but I do measure it when feasible. I’m curious whether you’ve noticed a change now that we are “all” back in-person.

    1. I’ll have a better answer in a month! I’ve heard this — low attendance — from several people. My class this past term was anomalous — an upper division / grad course, in which everyone was quite engaged. (Almost everyone: one student rarely showed up and, unsurprisingly, failed.) Next term I’m teaching a ~80 student gen-ed course (Energy and the Environment, which you’re familiar with!), and I’m curious to see what it will be like. I could speculate more on reasons for it all, but I’ll stop for now!

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