Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Is Online Education For Real? New GAO Study!
Image via Wikipedia
I have always wondered if online education is for real. Although I am a digital immigrant, I have been a fan of the new technologies. This blog has dragged me kicking and screaming into the twenty first century.
But my doubts about virtual education continue. How do I know that people actually attend online classes. How do I know that a particular student is taking an online quiz himself? The lawyer in me is trained to be skeptical...
Well I guess the answer is that it depends upon which online school is doing the educating! A new study has been released by the federal Government Accountability Office. With all of the gusto of a "sting" operation, the GAO sent students undercover to attend 15 online colleges. Of the 15, 8 passed with flying colors. The other 7 colleges showed mixed results.
Here is an excerpt from the summary of the report regarding academic performance:
GAO's students engaged in substandard academic performance by using one or more of the following tactics: failure to attend class, failure to submit assignments, submission of objectively incorrect assignments, submission of unresponsive assignments, and plagiarism. At 6 colleges, instructors acted in a manner consistent with school policies in this area, and in some cases attempted to contact students to provide help outside of class. One or more instructors at 2 colleges repeatedly noted that the students were submitting plagiarized work, but no action was taken to remove the student. One or more instructors at the 4 remaining colleges did not adhere to grading standards. For example, one student submitted photos of celebrities and political figures in lieu of essay question responses but still earned a passing grade.
You can read the GAO report summary here.
You can read the entire GAO study here.
As always, choose your school wisely!