In Monday’s Inside Higher Ed, regular contributor Joshua Kim calls out the online publication’s editors for allowing the publication of an op-ed titled “Generals Die in Bed,” written by Jeff Kolnick, a professor of history at Southwest Minnesota State University. Dr. Kim, Director of Online Programs and Strategy at Dartmouth’s Center for the Advancement of Learning (and co-author of Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education, which I recently reviewed), states that he does not disagree with Dr. Kolnick’s concerns about the health risks of face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a matter of fact, Dr. Kim shares the same concerns.
In a strongly worded rebuttal, Dr. Kim takes issue with Dr. Kolnick’s statements, presented as fact, that synchronous online teaching is the best kind. He points out that Dr. Kolnick’s statements do not agree with years of research that have demonstrated no differences in learning between modes of online learning or face-to-face learning.
Our experience at APUS seeking constant improvement in our online courses relies on organizations like the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), which has a mission to provide accurate research defining best practices for online teaching and student learning outcomes. Thousands of academics have attended its conferences over the past two decades and are more than aware of the solid research rebutting Dr. Kolnick’s claims.
Dr. Kim further adds that synchronous online learning has only been proven to be effective when it’s integrated with a broader design of asynchronous activities. He adds that Inside Higher Ed editors should consider the expertise of those who submit op-eds before agreeing to publish them.
I agree with Dr. Kim. Furthermore, after our two decades of teaching history and many other degree programs asynchronously online, APUS will gladly connect Dr. Kolnick to AMU and APU graduates who have successfully completed residential Ph.D. programs and cited the instruction that they received at AMU/APU as the basis for their success.