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Veletsianos on online courses and multitasking
School of Education and Technology Prof. George Veletsianos shared his thoughts with Inside Higher Ed regarding a recent study that found students with an inclination to multitask were much less likely to do so in face-to-face classes than in online courses.
Here is an excerpt:
Experts on online education took issue with multiple aspects of the Kent State study, even as they acknowledged that multitasking is a problem in many settings.
George Veletsianos, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University, in British Columbia, cited a common complaint about research like this: the tendency to compare online and face-to-face courses as if all online courses (or all face-to-face courses, for that matter) were the same. Were the online courses synchronous or asynchronous? Were they predominantly lectures of did they engage students with active learning?
‘A better (and fairer) comparison for this study,’ Veletsianos said in an email, ‘would have been between courses of the same modality that included variations in something like class size or pedagogy. Such an investigation would allow us to evaluate the question of whether students are more likely to multitask when enrolled in larger vs. smaller class sizes. Or, whether pedagogy has an impact on multitasking, which I suspect it does (e.g., are you more likely to multitask when listening to a lecture or when actively working in a group to develop a solution to a posed problem?)’