Online Learning Update; an interview with Raymond Schroeder

Raymond Schroeder is here today to lend his views on education. Raymond is a Professor Emiritus of Communication at the University of Illinois at Springfield. His website, Online Learning Update, updates the world on some of the most important developments in educational technology. Raymond is here to lend us his insights.

1. What inspired you to start Online Learning Update?

In 2001 I was teaching a graduate seminar in New Technologies in the Electronic Media. In order to identify some of the better research articles for my students to critique, I set up the blog and shared the posts with them. Over time, others started following the blog. As students completed their master’s degrees and moved on to doctoral programs and into the field, they continued to subscribe. Now the blog gets a wide international readership via the Web, Twitter and RSS. As readership expanded, I broadened the scope of the blog to become a general update site for research, trends and news in online learning.

2. What makes the current generation of students different from others in terms of technology?

Certainly students of today are well aware of social networking technologies. The come to college expecting to have access to a wide array of online tools. But, these students are not universally tech-savvy. They understand the technologies they have used, but in some cases their experience is rather limited. It is important for all of us who teach online to make sure that our students are fully up to speed on the technologies we employ in our classes.

3. How can technology change education?

Access is certainly an important aspect of the way in which technology can enhance education. We can provide access to those who have previously been disenfranchised by distance, work/personal obligations, and certain disabilities. Technology can also enhance learning. As was found in the recent National Surveys of Student Engagement and last year’s U.S. Dept of Education meta-study of online and blended learning, online and blended learning can promote deeper learning, greater student engagement, and improved outcomes compared to the face-to-face equivalents.

4. What is the biggest obstacle in integrating technology in education?

Innovation continues at a rapid place, costs continue to come down, cloud computing is opening new doors, but it is the faculty development and support that has become the biggest roadblock. At the University of Illinois at Springfield, I direct the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service which has as a primary mission the support of faculty members in the integration of technology into teaching and learning. We are fortunate to be able to devote a unit to supporting faculty. As a result we enjoy very high student evaluations of online classes, low dropout rates, and high rates of course completions.

5. As a teacher, do you think it is possible to one day have all-online classroom in the future?

Absolutely! In many cases we already have all-online classrooms. I believe that the future holds a wide continuum of delivery modes for classes and degrees. Where appropriate we will see face-to-face classes continue for those who prefer to attend in that mode. But, we will see many classes with reduced campus visits and a mix of online and face-to-face learning. And, we will see a further expansion of the online mode for those who cannot easily accommodate the other modes.

Thanks for talking with us Raymond! Again, you can see his site Online Learning Blog here. For more information on education and technology, see Udemy’s main website here.