For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013
For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013
Several courses I teach include discussion regarding the importance of understanding personality preferences. Students often take personality tests to determine their “type”. Part of their type includes whether they are introverts or extraverts (Myers Briggs spells extravert with an “a” instead of an “o”). In my training to become a qualified Myers Briggs MBTI trainer, I learned that people have preferences for how they like to receive and process information. We were told it was similar to how people prefer to write with their right or left hand. That is why I found the recent Wall Street Journal article titled How an Introvert Can Be Happier: Act Like an Extrovert to be so interesting. The title contradicts some of what I learned in my training.
Some interesting highlights from this article include:
If Myers Briggs information teaches us that people have certain preferences and feel more comfortable with those preferences, this research contradicts that. However, not all researchers agree with these results. Some of the researchers in this article believed that trying to act against type would deplete glucose resources due to the concentration involved. If genetics truly plays a role in whether someone is introverted or extroverted, then people may find it difficult to constantly fight their natural tendencies.
Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, argued that the people should draw on their strengths rather than try to be something they are not. This is not unlike the position Tom Rath, author of Strengths Finder 2.0 takes in his book that embraces working on strengths rather than weaknesses. In the book, It’s Not Your It’s Your Personality, several of the top personality theories and assessments are addressed including Myers Briggs and Strengths Finders, DISC, and Emotional Intelligence.
The word Millennials is used to describe adults born between the years of 1980 and 2000. They are also known as Generation Y. Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me explained Millennials tend to be more self-focused and may expect to receive a lot of recognition. Sixty Minutes aired an interesting story titled The Millennials are Coming. In this show, they explained how this younger generation expects good things and expects them with little effort. I have noticed that this sense of entitlement has carried into the online classroom setting.
Most of my students are very respectful. They follow directions. They ask questions with the proper tone. However, there are a few that are more demanding. Although I have not formally studied the age group of the students who demonstrate issues with entitlement, I have noticed that my older Baby Boomer students seem to demonstrate more respect.
Some students become frustrated with expectations as they enter higher level programs. Some of my students have managed to get through their undergraduate program with poor writing skills. If I make comments about things that they need to work on for future assignments, some of them become upset or angry. It is as if they expect to receive an A with very little effort. They may make comments that express their indignation that I would even suggest that they might write “a lot” as two words, or indent a paragraph per APA guidelines. I might even receive a note from them about how other professors did not mark down for certain things.
I do not take that many points off for writing or APA-related issues. I teach business-related courses and should not have to make grammar or structure my main focus. What is interesting to me is that their anger does not seem to be about the score received as much as the fact that I have pointed out something they have done incorrectly.
Many students tell me that professors do not insert comments on their assignments. Perhaps that is why some of them react the way they do. However, it seems to me that a graduate-level student should write at a graduate level.
Based on the reaction I get from the younger students, I often wonder if some professors “let things go” in order to keep the peace. I have spoken to other professors who perform peer-reviews and deal with conflict resolution. They have told me that students will complain about many little things. If students complain, professors must respond, and then that creates more of a hassle for them.
The squeaky wheel may get the grease. If professors do not want to tell students the truth, for fear of reprimand, they may just let things slide. My concern is that younger students’ entitlement issues have made them complain too easily and kept them from developing important skills.
Online classes offer a variety of advantages for working adults who have enough on their plate without adding the stress of finding time for an education. Probably the hardest part of attending a traditional university, for me, was finding time to fit it into my schedule. I worked the traditional workday and then I had to make it to three-hour class four nights a week. This was brutal because by the time I drove home and got to bed, it was close to midnight. I would have to get up at 6 am and start all over again. Thankfully I was in my early 20s at the time. I honesty do not think I could handle that sort of schedule now.
Traditional courses took at least four hours out of my day (to just attend class). Then I had an hour or two of homework each day that I had to squeeze in either before midnight or on my lunch breaks. At minimum, I probably spent at least five hours a day dealing with school-related issues. In online classes, since there are no lectures, and there is no driving and parking, etc., I probably spent about two hours a day. When you are a working adult with family responsibilities, saving three hours a day is huge.
Traditional schools may be a great thing for people who have the time and money to afford them. Unfortunately many people do not have that luxury. Some students will have to obtain financial help whether they attend traditional or online courses. The advantage of online courses is that students have more time to work to pay for the loans.
I have read many articles about the value of a traditional education versus an online education. Many of them have been written by professors who work in brick and mortar classrooms. I understand their perspective. There may be some wonderful things to be learned at a traditional university. The problem is that it is not that simple. In today’s society, traditional roles have changed. Women may have much more responsibilities outside of the home. The stress of raising a family, working, and trying to squeeze in time for education may make the choice of a traditional college a poor option.
It is not appropriate to make blanket statements about all online courses based on limited experience. I have worked for many different online universities. They are not all the same. Some offer a better education. Comparing MOOCs to traditional online courses is like comparing apples to oranges. The same is true about comparing unaccredited universities with accredited universities.
Accredited online courses offer people a quality education and a life. I do not believe that sitting in a lecture hall adds that much to the learning experience. All of the driving, parking and sitting in class, took away precious time that I believe did not add to my educational experience. All it did was stress me out and leave less time for others. Thankfully I finished my traditional education before my children were born. Once I had a family, distance education became an option and opened up incredible opportunities for me. It is interesting that traditional universities now offer more online courses. The same institutions that had “issues” with online education now provide it. The good news is that everyone is waking up and realizing that online education offers the best of all worlds for those who want it.
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MOOCs have drawn attention to the different requirements of online vs. traditional teaching jobs. I recently watched Dr. Dani Babb’s Udemy presentation titled How to Make Money Teaching as an Online Professor. She said something that I thought was interesting. She had worked as a traditional professor prior to becoming an online professor. When she discussed the job requirements of an online professor, she mentioned that online professors have to deal with students who expect a lot more interaction in the online environment than the traditional one. This is very true. This is also something that I do not think gets enough attention in the media.
There are plenty of articles about how wonderful traditional schools are compared to online schools. However, it has been my experience that online schools provide students with far more access to their professors. This has increased the amount of responsibilities required of online professors. Online professors must:
While the demands placed on online professors have increased, they may feel like they are being under-valued by the press. Students expect more value. Students want skills that lead to immediate job improvements. This has put pressure on educators. However, this kind of pressure is good because it creates a dialogue for how to improve the online experience.
Google and other search engines have changed the way people locate information. The problem is that online students think of Google as a proper tool to use to perform research for assignments. Google Scholar may provide access to some scholarly research. However, most online schools prefer that students use the school’s library search feature. It is important that students consider the reliability of the type of content that is available on traditional websites.
Pew reported that the majority of students are not able to recognize bias in online content. This has become frustrating for professors because these skills should be taught in first-year college courses. Turnitin’s white paper titled What’s Wrong with Wikipedia, reported that in over 37 million papers submitted by students, there were 156 million matches to content found from the Internet. This means that students use sites like Google Books, May Clinic, Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia, etc. These are unacceptable sources to use for college-level courses.
According to Turnitin’s research, the following problems exist with student’s research behavior:
There are times when assignments allow for students to use websites like Apple.com, or other corporate or news sites. If this is allowed by the instructor, students must be able to recognize if the site is highly regarded. An example might be The New York Times. If students are in doubt, they should direct questions to their instructor for guidance.