Distance Learning and the Quiet Student

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Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have heard that these are the disadvantages of distance learning:
1. Lack of social interaction.
2. Oral communication skills suffer.

Suppose that there is a student who is not taking any distance learning classes. He takes classes where he has face-to-face contact with his teacher and classmates. Suppose he rarely talks. Suppose he rarely asks questions or makes comments. Suppose he doesn't participate in any class discussions. Would this student be at a disadvantage just like the distance learning student? Since he hardly ever talks, he isn't putting forth the effort to improve his oral communication skills or his social interaction skills. I was just wondering because when I went to high school and college, I had some classmates who would hardly ever talk.
 
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earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Be kind many people are shy. I have a personal personal conviction that if someone wishes to keep quite and are repulsed to speaking in public I totally understand. Not everyone is a social butterfly....thank The Lord. :)
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
The person you have described is at a disadvantage in both situations. Self-expression and verbally demonstrating understanding of the material is an important part of scholarship.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Some people who do distance learning actually interact more. I taught GMAT and GRE classes for Kaplan Test Prep. When they rolled out new synchronous online classes, I observed some of them. Some students of a more introverted disposition were actually more willing to ask questions, venture answers, etc. My guess is that, removed from a physical classroom where peer pressure could be exerted, they felt more free. No worrying if someone would laugh at them for asking a stupid question, no constantly being beat to the answer by extroverts, etc.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
Be kind many people are shy. I have a personal personal conviction that if someone wishes to keep quite and are repulsed to speaking in public I totally understand. Not everyone is a social butterfly....thank The Lord. :)

I'll be kind.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
Some people who do distance learning actually interact more. I taught GMAT and GRE classes for Kaplan Test Prep. When they rolled out new synchronous online classes, I observed some of them. Some students of a more introverted disposition were actually more willing to ask questions, venture answers, etc. My guess is that, removed from a physical classroom where peer pressure could be exerted, they felt more free. No worrying if someone would laugh at them for asking a stupid question, no constantly being beat to the answer by extroverts, etc.

They must have felt more free to express themselves away from the physical classroom.
 

Wynteriii

Puritan Board Freshman
I struggle with the same issues (even though people say they don't see it). I now taking steps at a community college to take classes on communication. It can only help me and my studies.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I have heard that these are the disadvantages of distance learning:
1. Lack of social interaction.
2. Oral communication skills suffer.

(Rant beginneth)At times this is a good thing. This protects bright, yet reserved people from freeloaders who are trying to short cut the learning process. Certain classroom techniques to improve collaboration among students are way over used. Group assignments most often end up with freeloaders at one end and the workers on the other. This is especially the case in large general requirement classes. I use to hate them for this reason and I wasn't a good student but I knew it and was able to improve in my final semesters. I realize that certain classes in a laboratory require collaboration but it should be made of individuals who have a command of the material that each(and likely no one else) is to bring to the project. This non-learning where people gang up on all assignments, especially every problem or plank, has lead to generation of people who cannot think for themselves and therefore come to expect someone else to come to their aid. Learning anything whether it be history, mathematics, languages or literature is hard. The process cannot be shortcut by spoon feeding the answer to those that don't understand after the instructor has everyone "breaking up into groups." That phrase gives me the willies. (rant endeth)
 

Caroline

Puritan Board Sophomore
Perhaps college life just isn't important to them. It wasn't to me. I had two small children at the time, and so I was very busy. I had very little interesting in socializing with people who would be out of my life anyway at the end of the semester. More to the point, I didn't think anything was gained by it. When I did talk to others, I heard a lot about the affair my lab partner was having with her married neighbor, but that didn't exactly encourage me to think of her as someone with whom I could bounce academic ideas around. I think extroverts tend to talk a lot and gather their understanding over the course of many conversations by picking through the dross for the jewels. Introverts tend to evaluate whether this person is likely to have anything helpful to add about a topic before engaging in conversation in the first place, because the effort of socialization is draining.

But as to whether that reduces communication skills--I think it depends which communication skills. I'm not much of a chatterer in large social gatherings. But I've been told that I express myself well in writing, and I always received good evaluations when I taught math. And around my husband and my closest friends, I think it's more a question of how to get me to shut up. Communication in groups is not the same as communication among close friends, or even the same as communication via public speaking. Not everything in life requires the exact same set of communication skills. So whether failing to develop certain precise communication skills that might be useful in groups is important probably depends on one's personality and goals.

PS I totally agree with Zach about "breaking into small groups." I used to refer to it as "the preponderance of group ignorance," because it seemed like it mostly involved people sitting around staring blankly at each other. The blind leading the blind, as it were. In those situations, I always just took charge and starting parceling out assignments. Not because I knew more, but because, well, somebody had to do somethin'... I had kids and needed to go home, which would never happen if somebody didn't take the helm.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
But as to whether that reduces communication skills--I think it depends which communication skills. I'm not much of a chatterer in large social gatherings. But I've been told that I express myself well in writing, and I always received good evaluations when I taught math. And around my husband and my closest friends, I think it's more a question of how to get me to shut up. Communication in groups is not the same as communication among close friends, or even the same as communication via public speaking. Not everything in life requires the exact same set of communication skills. So whether failing to develop certain precise communication skills that might be useful in groups is important probably depends on one's personality and goals.

I agree. There are some people who can give a good speech in front of a large group of people, but cannot communicate well when talking to people one-on-one.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
The person you have described is at a disadvantage in both situations. Self-expression and verbally demonstrating understanding of the material is an important part of scholarship.

In order to overcome the drawbacks of distance learning, distance learning students could join and participate in Toastmasters.

Teachers could require all students including the quiet ones to take oral exams.
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
The person you have described is at a disadvantage in both situations. Self-expression and verbally demonstrating understanding of the material is an important part of scholarship.

In order to overcome the drawbacks of distance learning, distance learning students could join and participate in Toastmasters.

Teachers could require all students including the quiet ones to take oral exams.

Good suggestion. Debate club and forensics activities are also good suggestions for those enrolled in secondary education and lower. I did not take part in debate club when I was younger, but I now see the value.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
The person you have described is at a disadvantage in both situations. Self-expression and verbally demonstrating understanding of the material is an important part of scholarship.

In order to overcome the drawbacks of distance learning, distance learning students could join and participate in Toastmasters.

Teachers could require all students including the quiet ones to take oral exams.

This would be OK if the field of study requres oral skills.
 
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