Short Circuited

Short-Circuited: The Challenges Facing the Online Learning Revolution in California offers Lance Izumi’s take on the resistance to virtual, blended and tech-infused schooling.

About Joanne


  1. I’m applying to a master’s degree program from the University of Idaho’s Engineering Outreach Program. It’s distance learning (not an online program) and will take me 2 1/2 years to complete. My school district has me jumping through a few extra hoops for this program, but there would be no problem at all if I did a 10 month program at a nearby diploma mill.

  2. The programs look good. The politics makes me angry. I have had _so many_ students want to take online courses (that I have taught), and while it works great for some, there are _a lot_ who just can’t make it through an online course. They don’t connect and learn that way. I am delighted that this is an option for some children, but if we think it’s going to work for all children we are setting ourselves up for a really big failure.

  3. I’m betting that online courses work best for those students who are also able to learn a great deal from books; those at the upper end of the IQ scale who are also motivated.

    • Well, maybe, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have a really good lecturer. I used Khan Academy recently to brush up on Linear Algebra for something at work. I was amazed at the quality of Khan’s lectures. I couldn’t put my finger on any but the most rudimentary observations (eg, he often repeats something if it’s important), but there certainly is talent at work there.

  4. Also, there is something different about taking online courses. You’re not connected to the teacher in the same way. You would think that would be bad, but I actually think it’s better: there is no intimidation, no need to raise your hand and ask for them to repeat something (you just rewind). I actually found it easier to relax and focus on the content, rather than the lecturer.

    Everyone ought to go take a few 10-minute math courses at Khan Academy and see what it’s like. It was much more effective than I expected.

  5. Ponderosa says:

    Who funds Lance Izumi’s Pacific Institute? The video implies that teachers’ unions’ interests don’t overlap with students’ interests –but do Lance Izumi’s interests overlap with students’ interests? Whose agenda is he pushing? I smell profit-motive here.

    Yet another example of Americans rushing to seize the next new thing without first figuring out if the next new thing really works and what its ramifications will be. Yet another example of our blithe willingness to liquidate a middle class workforce so that the 1% can make more profits. Brave New World!