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Mark Edmundson’s Critique

Critique: Our Views of Online Education In Mark Edmundson’s article discussing online education, he makes many valid points about an online education short comings. His reaction, however, is based solely on traditional education and is limited to such online study. He focuses primarily on student teacher interaction and oftentimes states how such communication cannot be factored into online courses.

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He argues that a large lecture course with face to face contact and student teacher dialogue benefits the student more; opposed to online courses with contrasting features.

While this is valid, Edmundson does not consider that these issues can be worked around and that there are many pros to online education as well. Edmundson’s passage states teacher-student interaction is vital in obtaining an education. This particular form of contact has proven to keep students engaged in the learning process. Also, teacher-student interaction allows for teachers to monitor each individual students’ progressions and shortcomings throughout the course of study.

In Edmundson’s article, he states that teachers should make it necessary to learn who their students are and adapt to their ways of learning as well as helping them grow. I strongly agree with this point of view. Many times, students who are having a hard time grasping studies find themselves somewhat bashful or embarrassed and become hesitant to speak up. This causes them to be outshined by others who may be more vocal and grasp the information quicker. Having that teacher-student connection with online education is extremely vital. Since you’re not studying in a traditional classroom, you’ll also miss having face time with other students.

This can deprive you of important networking opportunities for your future career, as well as basic social interaction. The article states that Edmundson is adamant that in order for students to excel and obtain information, a teacher should be adaptive to their students learning style. Having real life courses are extremely helpful in this case. Individuals who are more comfortable with one on one meetings should totally be allotted the option of having a professor on hand to call on and meet with. Also, students who adapt more to group learning need real courses as well.

Having course mates and interacting in open course discussions are great examples of the benefits of teacher-student interaction. It is also proven that students can; in fact, teach teachers. Open course discussions are the perfect time to share. When studying an appointed topic, some students go above and beyond the requirements and obtain additional knowledge that the teacher or students may or may not know. Edmundson makes several valid points about being opposed to online education. He speaks volumes about the pros of choosing a traditional, face to face education.

In some ways, I agree with his argument that not having that interaction amongst the teacher and student kills the students chance of receiving fair education. However, I disagree with some other things he stated. What Edmundson fails to consider is the mere fact that online teachers carry the same capabilities as traditional teachers. Students’ progress can still be monitored, test and other assignments can still be administered and in the end, grades will still be obtained. Although there is no physical connection, the online teacher can still communicate and work online with their students’ via-email and lectures.

The downside of email communication is that delay time in an answer being received. There are some online schools which have courses with virtual lectures or conference lectures which give an overall classroom feeling where there is dialogue. In my opinion, online college instructors gain access to students that is at least equal to the access to students of those instructors who are teaching courses in traditional colleges. Online colleges also serve as an alternative for some aspiring students who cannot attend traditional colleges.

These may be students who have encountered hardships that eliminate their option to attend a traditional school. Online schools may, in this case, serve as an alternative; online college may be more convenient. Aspiring students seeking to pursue or further their education may be wrapped up in day to day chaos that enables them to reach a campus and online courses just may fit with their busy schedules. In some cases, lack of transportation may be a rendering factor as well. Another riveting factor may be monetary situations; online colleges may have courses that are more affordable than those of a traditional university.

Edmundson’s article was captivating and indeed informative. He metaphorically spoke of a teacher being taught by a student which caught my attention. Had that teacher ever been that student? It’s a cycle that I’m sure will not end. A degree is in fact the goal. Whether it’s online schools or “real life” a degree is sought. Teachers and students, in my opinion, should at some point in time have some sort of physical communication but that is not that a vital source of learning. If an education is sought it can be obtained regardless of any physical contact. The source of education ultimately depends on the students drive and initiative.