Online Learning vs. Remote Learning
Table of Contents
Online learning and remote learning are often used interchangeably even though the definitions are distinct. In fact, remote instruction is a facet of online learning. Consider the following definitions:
Online learning is a form of distance education in which a course or program is intentionally designed, in advance, to be delivered fully online and asynchronously. Faculty use pedagogical strategies for instruction, student engagement, and assessment that are specific to learning in a virtual environment.
Remote learning involves moving content designed for face-to-face instruction to an online environment for a limited or one-time-only course instruction. Remote learning can also allow a student to connect to the classroom remotely through an approved app. This method differs from online learning because it does not require the instructor to have the entire course completely available online.
Benefits & Challenges
The benefits of online learning lie in its flexibility: Instructors can teach from anywhere once their course is completed and uploaded to D2L. Some processes become automated, which means less time is spent on them after initial setup. For instance, grading quizzes and exams administered through D2L becomes automatic when the gradebook is set up properly. Instructors have the opportunity to learn more about students who might fade into the background of a face-to-face class through discussions and one-on-one meetings.
The challenge with online learning is creating a robust course. The initial time investment can seem overwhelming, but once a course is completed, it only needs monitoring and updates to keep it maintained. The instructor may also need to learn new technologies to help facilitate classes.
The real benefit of remote learning is in being prepared for rapid developments that require in-person classes to move outside of the classroom. It can also serve to help students who need to miss class time due to sickness or obligations outside of their control. If planned and implemented properly, students will not have to do much make-up work when they are able to return to the classroom.
The challenge for remote learning is all in making sure face-to-face faculty have prepared for the possibility that their class or a portion of their class may have to move online. Luckily, KSU has D2L, an online learning management system (LMS) in place. Faculty can pre-load their syllabus and assignments into D2L so students can access important materials while outside of the classroom.
Barker, L. (2020, April 15). Remote teaching vs. online learning in higher education today.
Mathes, J. (2020, April 13). A defining moment for online learning.
Ray, K. (2020, March 31). What is remote learning?
Sener, J. (2015, July 7). Updated e-learning definitions.
Darby, F. (2020, June 16). Sorry not sorry: Online teaching is here to stay.
Darby, F. (2019, April 17). How to be a better online teacher.
Keckan, D. (2020, June 2). Choosing the right modality for your blended learning strategy.
Good Books to Read:
Boettcher, J. V. & Conrad, R. (2016). The online teaching survival guide. Jossey-Bass.
Johnson, A. (2013). Excellent! Online teaching.
Darby, F. & Lang, J. M. (2019). Small teaching online. Jossey-Bass.
Nilson, L. B. & Goodson, L. A. (2018). Online teaching at its best: Merging instructional design with teaching and learning research. Jossey-Bass.
Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: 7 research-based principles for smart teaching. Jossey-Bass.
KSU Digital Learning Innovations