Link to February 22 Chronicle of Higher Education article, "Combating Myths About Distance Education".
Excerpt: I'll be the first to admit that online delivery of undergraduate or graduate course work is not always a wonderful teaching and learning experience for everyone. But then, neither is face-to-face delivery. The method of delivery itself is not ipso facto a blessing or a curse. That's because any classroom, whether it's the face-to-face, online-only, or hybrid variety, is only as good as the people in it. If both teachers and students are prepared, responsive, and engaged, things run remarkably well. But if the instructor is teaching at too low or too high a level, or if the students are underprepared for the work—or, heaven forbid, if both are the case—problems will arise whether the course is face-to-face or online.
And I will be the first to admit that I approached my first online teaching assignment with much trepidation. (LIS 712, The Public Library, fall 2009 semester.) I learned, first and foremost, that there's a great deal of difference between preparing for a classroom lecture and a recorded lecture. I also learned that online discussions (everyone is required to participate!) are more effective that classroom discussions. And I learned that Todd Gilman is absolutely right when he says, If both teachers and students are prepared, responsive, and engaged, things run remarkably well. It proved to be a rewarding semester. In fact, I have since incorporated a number of the lessons I learned last fall into the syllabus for the face-to-face class I'm teaching this semester.
And it certainly helps that I have access to Learn@UW, the course management software that UW provides.