Caring Online - Student Caring

The Online Challenge? 
Caring in a Different Kind of Presence

Caring Online

The Online Challenge? Caring in a Different Kind of Presence.

“We worry about a loss of physical presence and all that goes with it.”

How “Student Caring” can help with online education (Courses which are 100% online).

Our Concerns:

  • Online education is education-light—there is little way of controlling or determining the quality of the instruction and learning.
  • For those concerned about the student side of the equation—whether students are doing enough work to earn the credit—this aspect of learning is still controlled by the instructor and her or his department.
  • How do I know that the person doing the work is the student—not a parent, a significant other, or a paid “for-hire” student?
  • Aren’t online classes an excellent place to hide for students uncomfortable with the course’s primary language, or the subject matter, or the physical classroom? Yes and no…and for bad and good.

How can a “Student Caring” approach affect an online class?

  • Put ground rules and expectations in place and up front. This is an act of caring.
  • Use discussion boards to build community.

We explore this topic more fully in our upcoming book: The Caring Professor: A Guide to Effective, Rewarding, and Rigorous Teaching.

Sound Bites:

  • Parents are hiring, “Students for hire,” to take college courses online for their son or daughter.
  • I have one student who spends 30 hours of work on her essays.
  • The online class environment can relieve anxiety for E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) students.
  • Online classes seem to attract folks who tend to motivate themselves.
  • When you are taking an online class, dress like you are going to an in person class.
  • We don’t want merely teach like “Chalk and Talk” in a digital environment.
  • Make sure that there are opportunities to put in a little entertainment into your lectures.
  • Get involved with those discussion groups.
  • I am seeing people who are disconnecting from Facebook.
  • Think of your online class as an opportunity for personal connection.

Professors who are often are seen by students as role models, are also models of adult thinking.



Items Mentioned in this Episode:
Why Your Opinion Matters:

Our upcoming book:The Caring Professor: A Guide to Effective, Rewarding, and Rigorous Teaching, was written with feedback from many educators and students, which was our plan all along. We began by outlining our thoughts on a series of topics, then we recorded them to share with the world. From the feedback we received, we were informed about the needs of the student caring community. We need your feedback so we may continue to fulfill our mission statement and help students, the world over.

Thank you!

Daniel & David



08.01.13: Alexandra Barcus, Ph.D.
• I never thought I might defend on-line education. In its present state, the quality of teaching and accountability of professor to student varies tremendously, and ways must be found–ground rules–to keep the levels up. As for credit hours, regular students often fail to show up for class. Most teachers take account of this when grading. But there is no onus upon them to do so. It would be possible for the on-line scheme to have students log in while actually working, the computer cannot simply be turned on, something relevant must be happening, and that data then turned in to the professor. The truth again is that the final grade will show who has been putting in the hours, and who has not.
The problems with plagiarism, and people taking tests for others occur in a multitude of places. This is why you have to present so much ID when taking SATs, GREs, GMATs, etc. The most likely deterrent for plagiarism is for the professor to know the main sources a student would and could access. If the teacher finds very similar ideas, worded in similar fashion, there is little question of what is happening. Also plagiarism tends to show up like a bright red flag when compared to the student’s other work. Suddenly there are no grammar errors, the vocabularly is reasonably impressive, etc.
Many of the on-line problems do have counterparts in “regular” academic settings. My fear at the moment is that students sign up to learn aparticular body of material, are not guided by hints on appropriate study methods for that class, and cannot reach their teachers except once a week.
Two other difficulties: a) the professors may or may not aim the material at the appropriate level, and b) all material covered in quizzes or tests, must have been avalable to the student before said test, and the homework questions should not include questions based on material not yet covered. These items may seem to be self-evident, but they are large scale issues–I have been watching.