Thomas, Lowenthal publish article on rethinking online learning

CU Online's Lowenthal, Thomas encourage faculty to explore new methods on student privacy, performance

October 11, 2010

CU Online staff Patrick Lowenthal and David Thomas recently published “Death to the Dropbox: Rethinking Student Privacy and Public Performance” in the Educause Quarterly. Borrowing on their experience supporting online faculty at UCD, their backgrounds teaching online and supported by current educational research, this article urges faculty to rethink many time honored approaches to teaching online.

All too often, faculty uses their course management system to have students privately submit exams, quizzes and other assignments to the instructor. The faculty then grades and privately returns the work to the student. Lowenthal and Thomas demonstrate how this increases faculty workload while diminishing valuable learning opportunities provided by a public process.

“Imagine a theater or art major who was never asked to perform or display their work publicly during school. Not only would that seriously hurt the educational process, imagine what a shock those students would be in for when they graduated and found out how the real world works!” said Thomas.

Extending the notion of the studio critique, the public performance and even the classroom discussion, the paper clearly argues how these techniques work well online, and can be expanded to any discipline or domain.