Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Student Age and Student Anxiety

Your post this week involves two potential variables associated with student success in online learning, age and anxiety level.

Student Age

This is actually a prompt from the now defunct Penn Foster Blog in an entry entitled “Are Older Students Better at Learning Online?“.
Younger students tend to be more familiar with the technology used in online instruction, but that doesn’t mean they’re more successful in virtual courses.
In a recent Inside Higher Ed article (, online teacher Rob Weir argues that older students make better online learners:
Younger students love the idea of online courses, but they are often the worst students — despite their greater facility with technology. Yahoo! runs ads for ‘Why online college is rocking,’ and that’s part of the problem. Online education is being sold as if it’s for everyone, when those finding real success are those who are self-motivated, highly organized, and in possession of well-developed study habits?…Younger students approach online classes as if they’re just another ‘cool’ thing to do on the Web. Be prepared to badger them if you want them to get through your course.”
Students with experience meeting deadlines are certainly at an advantage. But, I’d argue that most young students are beyond enrolling in a program because they think it’s ‘cool.’

Student Anxiety

Visit the “Student Anxiety” module created by Amina Charania, a graduate student at Iowa State University.

Based on the article and presentation, answer the following questions:

  1. Do you think age is a determinant in online learning success?
  2. What changed Susan’s excitement into anxiety about her new online course? As an online teacher or course designer what steps would you have taken to prevent Susan’s anxiety about the course? As a school-based teacher at Susan’s school, what steps would you have taken to ease Susan’s anxiety about the course?
Your initial post should be completed by 11:59pm on FRIDAY, 8/3.  You will need to respond to the posts of two of your classmates by MONDAY, 8/6, at 11:59pm.

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