Online works fine
Science teachers who took an online class for their master’s degree learned more than students who took the same class “live,” according to a study reported in Education Week (requires registration).
The results showed that the students working via computer had spent more time on their coursework, acquired a better understanding of science, and felt more competent to teach the kind of inquiry-oriented science the course emphasizes than did their counterparts studying on campus.
Teachers in the online course were mailed a science kit each week.
The assignments were posted on Fridays. Students typically spent their weekends tinkering with the experiments. From Tuesday to Thursday, they posted their results online, sharing them with a group of five to seven online classmates, and getting feedback and guidance from the university instructor.
“How did you get that answer?” some of the commentators would ask, as the graduate students sought to figure out the scientific concepts at work in each activity.
Online students “felt freer to offer constructive criticism, to ask ‘dumb’ questions, and to relate their learning to their personal work experiences.