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ERIC Number: EJ847207
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May-29
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Online Professors Pose as Students to Encourage Real Learning
Parry, Marc
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n38 pA10 May 2009
Some professors of online courses are posing as students, infiltrating online course to collect information about students by blending in with them. The deceit has provoked questions about faculty ethics. Two professors admit that their unreal students teeter on an ethical precipice, because the technique could be abused. Others in the distance-education community accuse them of falling over the cliff. Critics worry such behavior could scar the image of an education sector many still regard with skepticism. It puts into question the trusting and respectful relationship that has to be developed between teacher and student. Professors who use the practice argue that is has a serious purpose. These professors say fake students can bridge the isolation students feel sitting alone at their computers, stimulating participation and building learning communities. The ultimate hope is that they help keep students from dropping out, a serious concern of distance educators. Although some students are not upset to find out that one of their classmates was actually the course instructor, others express a sense of shock and betrayal. Opinions from fellow professors and technology experts are also mixed about potential results and the impact on the image of online learning overall. As one former administrator of an online-learning program pointed out, such activities may "give those who are not in online learning a different sense about the sorts of things that go on there."
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A