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Open Letter/Response to 

Oversimplifications and Overgeneralizations 

about Harmful Online Education 

NOTE:  In this work, “online courses” and "online education" are phrases used to encompass courses and other educational activities that are either fully or partially online.

Better to Clothe the Emperor than Leap into the Chasm

Prompted by  

Please review and comment:  Current Draft of Open Letter/Response.

We'll  review the Open Letter/Resource draft and invite TLT Group members to volunteer as additional writer/editors, and initial signatories.

The Open Letter/Resource is intended for TLT Group members and frequent participants in FridayLive! who are often called to help those just beginning online education. Especially those “beginners” who have previously succeeded in higher education, but lack the experience and background needed to recognize:
  • Oversimplifications and overgeneralizations about the harmfulness (or helpfulness) of online courses.
  • Well-designed and effectively-supported online courses.
Why?  Because readers who are only beginning to consider online education may be misled by some introductory articles that focus on a narrow selection of students and online courses without acknowledging a wider variety of already-successful alternatives (e.g., Dynarski in NYT Jan, 2018 )

Goal:  PARTIAL Solution: Perspective (Short Lists)

Based on experience and knowledge of the variety of purposes, structures, and online technologies in recent use for online courses, and the importance of other contextual elements, we offer a possible antidote.    

A BRIEF introduction to current options, hopes, and fears for online education in the form of 5 short lists: 

1. Different Kinds of Online Courses 

2. Different Kinds of Online Learners (in Online Courses) 

3. Different Kinds of Teachers (of Online Courses)  

4. Recommendations (Guidelines, References, Questions)

5. Hopes and Fears for Online Education 

More details....
Steve Gilbert, Sally Gilbert, Beth Dailey, TLT Group

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Why be involved with the TLT Group?  

We find ways to improve teaching and learning with technology in colleges and universities - ways which take advantage of new resources and new ideas without sacrificing the principles that matter most.

Our perspective is especially valuable when external pressures (like the continuing financial crisis) compel many to make - and others to accept - wild claims for the educational possibilities of technology.  

Our approach always builds on respect for what has been accomplished in the past, balanced evaluation of new options, and enthusiasm for emerging possibilities.

We provide resources and ideas that support collaborative change.  We help faculty members and other academic professionals to share their expertise and insights.

We "walk the walk."  We use, demonstrate, and advocate low-cost, low-threshold resources:  tools and activities that are easy to learn, easy to begin using, and have low incremental cost in dollars, time, and stress. We make Frugal Innovations.

The TLT Group helps people in educational institutions to improve teaching and learning by making more appropriate and cost-effective use of information technology without sacrificing what matters most to them.

PO Box 5643     
Takoma Park, Maryland 20913
Phone: 301.270.8312 

To learn more about our work or our organization contact: Sally Gilbert