Define online teaching and learning.
Having participated in both, I feel qualified to define the terms online teaching and online learning. Currently, as an online student, all of my work is completed on a computer and submitted via the web. I still have some books that are printed on paper.
Even though I still have to talk with my instructors and classmates, that is completed online, via discussion forum, video chat or email. Sometimes we collaborate via social networks. Online learning is now the epitome of distance learning. Even if the instructor and a couple of the students are in the same geographic area/ time zone, they may never see one another.
As someone that has taught online, I think that online teaching is disseminating information via the web in order to meet instructional goals. You have to do this in a way that is both professional an engaging. You need to keep abreast of the onslaught of communication that destined for you and respond within a reasonable amount of time with more than a “I see you and I’ll get back to you soon,” which is about all that I had time for, one term.
I had never had more than 25 or so students and I suddenly had about 90 students between 2 subjects. I kept afloat for a while, but as the material got more difficult it took more time for me to respond to students and I was buried. Students were upset because I wasn’t able to figure out how to get back to everyone in a timely fashion. Add to that issued with software that came up and the term was truly disastrous. We hired a TA for me and pushed through the end of the term.
I stepped away from the LMS, once that term finally ended (it took until the end of the following quarter to fully tie up any loose ends), and decided that I needed more training (one of my many reasons for enrolling in the MET program). I have already learned so much and I could probably return to teaching one class per term, right now, but I have decided to wait until I graduate.
What is the future for online enrollment growth as described by the SLOAN-C report entitled, Class Differences: Online Education in the United States (2010).
In the report by Allen and Seaman (2011), online enrollment is described not as decreasing, but as holding steady in some disciplines. They predict that at some point, universities will reach a saturation point in their online enrollment, especially private for-profit universities.
When universities do reach their saturation point, maybe MOOCs will gain ground, though I have seen mixed reviews on those. Personally, based on what little I know about them, I think a MOOC would be the wrong direction for me to take my education – I think I would get lost in the shuffle.