Archives For Online Learning

Peers more credible than leaders
Source: Slide 21 Edleman Trust Barometer

Every Voice Matters
Source: Slide 46 Edleman Trust Barometer

It looks like when we view online information we trust our friends, family or people like ourselves as much or more than we are willing to trust an academic expert or anyone else. As an academic expert I am not concerned with this data, but am rather excited to have data to support what I have been watching develop over the past twenty years in the online classes that I have been facilitating. I have observed that my students are very quick to trust each other’s input and perspectives as much or even more than my own. Students still do view my voice as the final voice of authority because I am the one who determines their grade–but do they trust me as much as they trust their peers? I wonder…?

This confirms the importance of collaboration in online courses. Students do trust each other enough to really learn from each other. Yes, I am making a generalization from the Eldemen data that looks at the trust level of authors on social networking, content sharing and online-only information sources but this does describe a significant component of the online learning environment that I have created for my students. Online educators have been measuring the importance of online collaboration for student achievement for many years and there is a fair amount of data to support the fact that well structured online collaboration helps students to achieve their course learning outcomes as well as or better then in traditional face2face settings (Hiltz, Coppola, Rotter, Turoff, & Benbunan-Fich, 2000; Su, Bonk, Magjuka, Liu, & Lee, 2005).

The evidence is clear; if you want to learn more effectively online you need to collaborate with your classmates. The evidence also suggest that most people are willing to trust their classmates as much or more than the professor so online students should take advantage of this fact and learn from and with their peers.


Edleman Trust Barometer. (2016). [Slideshare]. Retrieved July 14, 2016 from

Hiltz, S. R., Coppola, N., Rotter, N., Turoff, M., & Benbunan-Fich, R. (2000). Measuring the importance of collaborative learning for the effectiveness of ALN: A multi-measure, multi-method approach. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 4(2), 103-125.

Su, B., Bonk, C. J., Magjuka, R. J., Liu, X., & Lee, S. H. (2005). The importance of interaction in web-based education: A program-level case study of online MBA courses. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 4(1), 1-19.

MOOCs future of Education

Source: Best Colleges Online Rankings of the Top Online Colleges and Degrees

Online Learning Going Global


When I first read this article my first reaction was to post a comment suggesting that there are many well established standards of quality for online education. So when I scrolled through all the comments it was clear that almost everyone who commented had the same idea. Except for the sarcasm the first commentator Steve Foerster really captures the essence of what I was planning to say:

You’d think that online education were some new thing no one had ever heard of before. Why this and not one of the existing organizations focused in this area? I wonder sometimes whether anyone out there is better at reinventing the wheel than higher education administrators. They seem to be masters of leaping to the front of whatever parade they see and shouting “Follow me!”

I also have to agree with DrDave8563 who stated:

…Except instead of leaping to the front of this parade, they are leaping somewhere into the middle of the last third of the parade shouting “Follow me!” This parade has been going on since the Bulletin Board days – it’s hardly something new. There is a great deal of history and data about online education that already exists in both for-profit and not-for-profit realms.

There are many educators like myself who have been teaching online since the early 90’s and we have all seen a healthy complement of standards developed from organization like the Sloan Consortium, Quality Matters or any one of the many Universities who have been involved in online learning since its inception. So when I read the following statement by Hunter R. Rawlings III, the president of the Association of American Universities I have to sadly admit just how out of touch some of our academic leaders can be:

I think too many people are trying to deliver final judgment on the quality of online education, on the value of online education. It is just much too early in my mind to give any kind of final judgment. Let’s give this some time, and some real scrutiny.

We know what constitutes effective learning and exceptional learning designs. The technology plays a secondary role to effective learning design and whether the courses happens fully online, in a blended format or fully face2face we KNOW what good constitutes good education. I have always been hesitant to pile on and take shots at academic administrators because I have spent time in senior leadership so I understand the challenges. However, I have to admit that this is one time when a group of administrators are publicly demonstrating just how out of touch they are with the reality of the learning environment and the research. As one of my peers was so apt to point out with their comment this is an example of the

“blind leading the sighted”

On a positive note, I expect this group of academic heavy hitters to leverage their positions and influence and produce a report that will satisfy the online learner critics.

Evolution Online School

While this timeline is not comprehensive and I can think of alternative items to include, it does provide enough of a perspective to help us understand how far we have progressed with online learning.

Source: Social Learning Blog