A good online course can be taught online, in the classroom or in combined mode equally successfully.
There is nothing that requires an online course to be taught online. This comment requires explanation, because it says that an online course means something different than a course that is given online. In fact, an online course is a course designed to be delivered online. A classroom course is not so designed or prepared technically. But a course that can be delivered effectively online – and so is labeled an “online” course – is flexible. An online course can be taught in a classroom.
Content that is online can be pulled off a computer and displayed in the classroom, just as material has in the past been projected onto screens placed in classrooms. The computer is a very flexible tool which can be used in a classroom or outside it. The instructor merely says in the classroom what he would write or say online. Students can do much of their classwork online, even though the class is taught in a classroom.
Because online courses have more elements than classroom courses – elements that require presentation on a computer – they can be more attractive to students. The design of a good online course is largely intended to engage students. This feature of an online course can be very attractive in a classroom environment also.
My personal preference – this is Dr. Quinn Mills writing at this point — is to teach online courses in a classroom; but that is merely a personal preference and I have taught online courses entirely in the cloud.
It is important for people to realize that when they invest in good online courses – courses which have the characteristics we are describing in these posts – they are acquiring courses that can be taught effectively in the classroom as well. The cost-effective use of good online courses is not something that depends on having a large and/or predictable online student body. Good online courses can be taught as effectively in a classroom to campus-based or commuting students.