Online learning is ubiquitous for millions of students worldwide, yet our understanding of student experiences in online learning settings is limited. The geographic distance that separates faculty from students in an online environment is its signature feature, but it is also one that risks widening the gulf between teachers and learners. In Learning Online, George Veletsianos argues that in order to critique, understand, and improve online learning, we must examine it through the lens of student experience.
Approaching the topic with stories that elicit empathy, compassion, and care, Veletsianos relays the diverse day-to-day experiences of online learners. Each in-depth chapter follows a single learner's experience while focusing on an important or noteworthy aspect of online learning, tackling everything from demographics, attrition, motivation, and loneliness to cheating, openness, flexibility, social media, and digital divides. Veletsianos also draws on these case studies to offer recommendations for the future and lessons learned.
The elusive nature of online learners' experiences, the book reveals, is a problem because it prevents us from doing better: from designing more effective online courses, from making evidence-informed decisions about online education, and from coming to our work with the full sense of empathy that our students deserve. Writing in an evocative, accessible, and concise manner, Veletsianos concretely demonstrates why it is so important to pay closer attention to the stories of students—who may have instructive and insightful ideas about the future of education.
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