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Viewpoint: Another Reason Why Online Classes Can’t Compete

All education was not created equal

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Inside HigherEd has posted various articles about online education. Previous studies have included the value of online education (and concluded that its actually costs more). A new study has surfaced concerning the bias of an online class. Typically online classes are more discussion heavy where students discuss important points, reply to each other and the professor contributes on additional important points.

But how exactly do professors choose who to respond to? A recent study released by The Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford found some pretty shocking answers. While bias often exists in face to face learning as well, this is often brushed off as certain students not wanting to participate. But when the classroom is moved to online learning, instructors are 94% more likely to respond to white male students than any other race/gender combination. Additionally, this bias does not exist in students who are asked to respond to their peers, but students were found more likely to respond to other students reflecting a similar demographic. The study noted three potential causes for this bias: “individuals carry (and sometimes act upon) the unconscious attribution of stereotypes to a particular social identity […] ‘intentional, explicit discrimination’ […and…] statistical discrimination and profiling.”

While it might not be surprising to hear that gender and racial bias still exists in the classroom, the new established study certain brings more credibility to what some have known for years.

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Nicole Masaki is a 2018 graduate ofCanisius College in Buffalo, New York. She is a triple major in English, Environmental Studies, and Philosophy. She will be a first year grad student at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Fransisco for their MA in Anthropology and Social Change program.

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