Areum Son Rachel Clevenger EH091 October 29, 2011 Online Instruction versus Face to Face Instruction The advent of digital technology and wireless communication during the past decade has led to an evolution in the dimensions and dynamics of many things, including education…
Classrooms may now be visited by logging in to virtual sites, teachers send through instruction via emails and forum posts, and, that picture of the pretty girl one is staring at may actually belong to his classmate’s daughter. Indeed, while online instruction offers convenience, portability, and arguably the same amount of “contact hours” and learning resources, face to face instruction tends to cater to a wider range of learning styles and a more secure and valid method of performance assessment. Online and face to face instruction differ on how they are attended. Online instruction is a system wherein students simply log on to their school’s website where they are provided with a myriad of options, from logging in to their online classes to checking out campus updates. On the other hand, usual face to face instruction requires the student to be in an actual concrete classroom, listening to an actual lecture or presentation conducted by a physically present instructor.. Face to face instruction is also referred to as “traditional instruction” or “chalk and talk” instruction (Smith, Ferguson and Caris). The concept of distance education offered by online instruction is not new as distance learning has been offered in earlier decades through the television and the mail. With the advancements in technology, online instruction has a tendency to mimic face to face instruction in many aspects (Aragon, Johnson and Shaik). After the initial birthing pains, online instruction has adapted more and more characteristics of face to face instruction. Before classes start in both online and face to face instruction, students are provided with a class syllabus and a list of requirements for the course such as textbooks and reading materials. In both cases, students are given options to purchase hardcopies of these materials or download electronic copies from indicated sources. In terms of course requirements, both online and face to face instruction require students, to a certain degree, to submit the same amount of term papers and research reports as part of their grades. Attendance to online classes is monitored by requiring students a certain number of discussion posts at different days of the week. In the same manner, the length of time required to take either online or face to face instruction are roughly the same. The direction of learning in the two modes of instruction is also a critical difference. To a certain degree, online instruction process is initially one-way, with the student going over all the learning materials before throwing a question through email or an online forum designated for their respective concerns. This one-way direction of instruction has long been discouraged by experts in the field of education because it does not cater to the different learning styles that students may have (Smith, Ferguson and Caris). Online instruction greatly limits the interactions between students and the teacher and venues for spontaneous ideas and debates are unavailable. Due to the limited interaction, teachers likewise have limited venues to properly assess a student’s progress in online instruction compared with face to face instruction. In a face to face setup, students who are more comfortable of expressing their thoughts verbally are able to participate better during class discussions, thereby demonstrating that he or she is indeed familiar with the topics. Teachers may also be able to use a wider range of ...
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