Do you think online learning is as effective as traditional, face-to-face learning in a classroom?

This paper is for the English and Creative Writing Class. Typos and grammatical mistakes are not acceptable

Read the following article and respond to the prompt: Do you think online learning is as effective as traditional, face-to-face learning in a classroom? Please explain your answer fully in a well-developed, full essay with an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. Please be sure to write 3 pages and include 4 quotations from the article in your essay.

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While student enrollment in higher education trended downward from 2011 through 2018, the percentage of students taking online classes steadily increased. During the 2016–2017 academic year, 6.4 million students attended at least one web-based college-level course. Approximately one-half of online students were enrolled in programs taught entirely online, with the other half attending a combination of virtual and on-campus courses. Students attending community colleges were the most likely to enroll in one or more courses online. By 2018 the majority of students taking online courses were enrolled at public institutions. Remote attendance at these institutions tended to be localized, with students more likely to elect in-state programs.

Researchers point out that convenience, flexibility, and the comparatively lower cost of online higher education programs are major draws for students. Quality and community interaction are also important. In a 2017 study published by the online education developer Learning House, Inc., the majority of current, prospective, and recently graduated online learners valued in-person contact with instructors and engagement with other classmates. Fifty-nine percent of these online learners visited the campus to meet instructors or engage in a study group. The flexibility offered by many virtual programs also attracts certain populations of online learners. The Brookings Institution noted in 2017 that students enrolled in online courses at for-profit institutions are more likely to be single parents, working a full-time schedule, and older than the average college-age student. Students attending large, for-profit institutions who were unprepared for college-level academic work performed poorly in online courses, however, and were more likely to drop out of the program.

Increases in the cost of higher education at traditional brick-and-mortar schools, technological innovations, and competition have resulted in the majority of colleges and universities offering online courses and a rapid expansion in nonselective online-only institutions. Statewide university systems, such as the University of Wisconsin Flexible Option, offer accredited degree programs and certifications. The State University of New York system offers fully online degree programs ranging from associate to doctoral degrees taught by on-campus professors. In January 2018 California Governor Jerry Brown proposed creating a public and statewide online community college aimed at career training and certifications. Alternatively, the for-profit online higher education industry experienced a continuous decrease in enrollment starting in 2010. Two private nonprofit online universities, Western Governors University and Southern New Hampshire University projected that if their growth continued at 20 percent annually, they would overtake enrollment numbers at the University of Phoenix, a for-profit, accredited institution, in 2019 or 2020 to become the largest online universities.

Another development exclusive to online education is the advent of massive open online courses (MOOCs), first popularized in 2011 by several Stanford professors who wanted to make their courses available to anyone online free of charge. At the time, more than 160,000 students signed up for the opportunity to participate. The professors founded Coursera, an online platform offering courses in a wide variety of subjects, taught by experts at universities worldwide. In 2015 the Harvard Business Review estimated that between 2012 and 2015, more than 25 million people signed up to participate in a MOOC, yet only a tiny fraction actually completed the coursework. Of students who completed a course, the majority reported benefits to their education and career. Students in developing countries constituted 60 percent of participants and reported the greatest personal benefits. Some argued that MOOCs would upend higher education models, making a college education universally accessible and free of charge to millions of students. The model has evolved, however, from purely free and open courses to unaccredited fee-based badges and certificate programs with loosely defined value toward formal academic credentials or career paths.


  • Online education provides options for K12 students by allowing greater individualization and flexibility and expanding access to opportunities that are not available at all traditional brick-and-mortar schools.
  • Academic content, materials, courses, and degree programs are easier and less expensive to access through online education, particularly for nontraditional, rural, disabled, and other marginalized students.
  • The proliferation of digital technologies has made higher education more accessible, as stakeholders at prestigious institutions have worked to adapt and develop free access to their courses for online learners.


  • Virtual K12 schools generally underperform compared to traditional schools, as it is difficult to adapt conventional instruction for use in online platforms and many students require face-to-face engagement and support to succeed.
  • Internet availability, speed, and cost—as well as the availability and cost of additional technology—limit access to online learning platforms and programs, particularly for low-income student populations.
  • Quality disparities among online programs degrade the overall value of online education by contributing to stigma among educators and employers and enabling predatory practices to thrive in the industry.

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