Sunday, July 17, 2005

Labor Me Vocat*

"Hard work calls me."

My online Latin Composition course has been occupying me for a good 12 hours a day. My students, too, it seems. They have been complaining of sleep deprivation.

A few years ago, especially during the dot-com boom, universities looked at distance learning as the wave of the future, and hustled to get at least some of their curricula on the web.

But the tech revolution has taken longer than expected in education, just as it did in the business world. It's happening, but a bit more slowly than we thought.

One of the reasons for the lag is that, for faculty, online courses typically involve about twice as much work as a traditional classes. And that doesn't include the hours put in by IT support personnel, nor the costs of maintaining computer and network equipment.

It turns out that getting a bunch of people in the same room together, talking with them, and writing with a stick of gypsum on a piece of black slate to show them stuff, is an incredibly efficient and effective way to educate them.

Who'd a thunk it?

*Labor me vocat is the first sentence of real Latin I ever read, as it was for thousands who learned from Wheelock's Latin textbook.


Kim said...

How do you know if the students in your online class are actually doing the work? A friend of mine received a masters degree online and another friend is working on his Ph.D. Neither of them would ever cheat, but is that true for everyone? I would imagine that it would be very easy for someone to pay someone else to do the work since they never have go actually enter the classroom.

I've been thinking, off and on, about going back to school for a Masters degree, but I've been shying away from the online classes because I'm worried that online degrees won't be taken seriously for the reasons mentioned above. It would just be so easy to cheat! I'd be really upset if I did all that work, got the degree, and then had people wondering if it was on the level or not.

Geeez. Just thinking about going back to school has made me tired. I'm too old for that! :-o

David Wharton said...

This group actually has to meet on campus 3 times -- on the 1st day, for the mid-term, and for the final exam.

They *might* be able to cheat on their daily assignments -- but I don't think it would be very easy to find and hire someone who is able to compose Latin at the graduate level.

Kim said...

Ok, meeting on campus a few times is good. I actually always enjoyed going to classes and talking to people. Loved discussion type classes.

You're right about it being difficult to find someone able to compose Latin at the graduate level! Whew! That would be tought!

Kim said...

Huh. Judging from my typo in that last post, I can't even compose in English!

Scott Carson said...

You should tell your students about this blog:

Anonymous said...

I know a person who is currently taken online classes and she does get someone to do her work and take the tests. She is on the deans list and very proud to let everyone know this. Not all online classes require you to come to the campus at all.

dhvibe said...

I was enrolled for a web design class online at my library school last summer. I got the distinct feeling it was hard on the instructor. No matter how carefully she planned for it there was always some bug. I did poorly in it. I left the class with a C+ and felt humbled by the experience. I suppose for distance learners it fine, but I found it frustrating.