John Rung, President and CEO
Currently, I am the only member of the Rung household not actively engaged in e-learning. Of course, it’s not like I’m a stranger to the concept. I once completed an online course in order to become a certified coach for my son’s football team. (So, I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.)
My wife decided to finish her degree and has been taking online college courses for the last year. My oldest daughter is a junior at University of Illinois and has been at home and taking courses online since U of I closed their Champaign campus in March. I have another daughter in high school and a son in grade school.
A quick dinner table survey indicated that all four Rungs have had a positive experience with e-learning, although they all agreed that a classroom environment is preferable. Each of my kids have experienced technical glitches, although nothing significant. My wife has not experienced problems, which probably makes sense as her classes were designed for a virtual setting. The only suggested improvement came from my son – he would prefer there be a single platform. Some of his classes are on Google Classroom, while others use Seesaw.
The three Rung kids agree on one issue. They all miss their friends. Don Bricker, Chief Operating Officer
I pursued my degree as an adult student through multiple universities as my career took me to various locations. During my college career, I took approximately 75% of my classes online. I think a combination of in-person and online learning can be optimal for college-age and adult students. In my opinion, the tools in place for online learning, testing and collaboration provide an effective learning environment.
I don't know how this translates to high school and younger, but my opinion is that the younger the student, the less effective the online environment becomes. I am related to multiple teachers, most who teach in kindergarten, first or second grade, and they universally report that remote learning in these grade levels is very challenging for the teachers, students and parents.
Used in the right circumstances, I think online learning can be a great way to learn, but in the wrong circumstances it risks creating poor outcomes for students. Jon Styf, Senior News Editor
For the past two months, my three kids have been doing elementary school e-learning from home, and I’ve been working from here too. It’s certainly been stressful, both mentally and on our home internet connection with all of the Zoom calls and worksheets and e-readers.
The quick transition hasn’t been easy for anyone, but I’ve been truly impressed with how the teachers and staff have been able to adjust quickly to this new reality and keep positive attitudes through it all. As hard as you think your job might be, you’ve never truly lived until you’ve tried to lead a Zoom call with 15-20 first-graders (and their pets) and somehow be productive.
E-learning won’t be replacing the schools anytime soon at the elementary level, but I applaud the efforts of local school districts trying to do this the right way with the goalposts constantly moving and the rules often out of their control and not announced until the last minute. Inger Koch, Lifestyle Editor
I have not taken an online course, but I have two teenagers who are finishing up their school year online. I am so thankful they are older and independent. It's got to be tough for parents of elementary and middle school students.
My son is a freshman at the University of Kansas and has been home since mid-March. He's a finance major and most of his classes at this early stage are larger formats. He's not a fan of e-learning, because he feels like he's not really retaining the material. He likes structure and actually being in the classroom. He'll be happy to go back to campus in the fall – I'm sure for more reasons than just learning.
My daughter is a high school junior. Her school uses a block system, so thankfully she only has four classes to worry about instead of eight. I'm not sure her teachers were as prepared to take their classes online. It seems like there's more busy work and not as much lecture. She's been staying on top of her assignments. but she also is looking forward to getting back to the classroom.
This week's question: Remote learning and e-learning have shone a spotlight on online learning in general. Have you ever taken an online course, or known someone who did? What are your thoughts about it?