The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Students Go to Court over Online Program

The number of academic leaders who view online learning as on par with face-to-face instruction fell from 71% in 2014 to 63% in 2015, according to the Online Report Card—Tracking Online Education in the United States. Just 29% of the administrators surveyed said faculty members accepted the value of online education, the lowest percentage since 2004.

A group of students is challenging the idea of online education in court, suing George Washington University for the quality of its online master’s degree program in security and safety leadership. The students allege the program failed to provide the same level of instruction and interaction as the traditional classroom version of the program. The suit claims instructors were unresponsive and barely involved in facilitating the student-center coursework.

The suit also refers to a May 2013 letter to the university president signed by 11 students complaining about the quality of the program. The university issued an apology at the time, but has done nothing more about the online course, according to a report from Inside Higher Education.

“The misrepresentations are designed to present the program as something that is not: a credible, longstanding program, with courses and content specifically designed for the online learning environment,” the complaint reads. “In reality, at the time the plaintiffs applied for the online program, there were not graduates to the program and the ‘content’ mostly consisted of scanned-in PDFs of textbooks (with blurry pages and sentences cut off) and PowerPoint slides taken from in-class courses, without any narration or explication.”

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