Is Online Education For Real? New GAO Study!

David M. Walker (U.S. Comptroller General)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!

Enhanced by Zemanta