Do online courses harm underperforming students?

By | February 2, 2018

Online courses can open up a world of knowledge to anyone with an internet connection, benefitting students who have limited access to educational resources. But mounting evidence suggests that online education could hurt less proficient students who are most in need of skilled classroom teachers. In a recent article for the “New York Times,” Susan Dynarski, professor of education, public policy and economics at U-M, discuses several categories of online education and why some are more effective than others. “Online education is still in its youth. Many approaches are possible, and some may ultimately benefit students with deep and diverse needs,” Dynarski writes. “As of now, however, the evidence is clear. For advanced learners, online classes are a terrific option, but academically challenged students need a classroom with a teacher’s support.”