A CLASSROOM OF ONE: How Online Learning Is Changing Our Schools and Colleges

Gene I. Maeroff, Author . Palgrave $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4039-6085-6

Most of the recent flood of books about online learning can be divided into pro (Internet-based education will replace overpriced, rigid, traditional institutions and provide a profoundly better product) and con (online learning is a fringe educational activity pushed by untrustworthy for-profit dot-coms). Maeroff, the author of 11 books over the past 27 years commenting on education, has steered a prudent middle course. He sees online education as an important and growing part of traditional instruction, a tool that will help solve many existing problems. His clear account of those problems helps explain the appeal of the Internet. But he also sees a central role for traditional face-to-face instruction in physical classrooms for the foreseeable future. The line between classroom and Internet instruction will blur as traditional courses add online content and online courses take more responsibility, he says. Internet use will be heaviest for students who are not well served by bricks-and-mortar instruction. The author covers Internet use from elementary school through college and post-college education, home schooling, legal issues, accreditation, professional certification and international courses—all the while describing the subject's history, current state and potential future. His broad knowledge and irreverent style make the dense material more than readable, but this is still a weighty professional book with comprehensive coverage backed by hundreds of interviews and citations. Regrettably, the book fails to discuss the technology itself or the economics behind it. Still, it's the best general work on the subject for educators and administrators. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 02/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
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