Now, a new info graphic from startup Vidyo shows that the numbers of students attending such classes support the buzz. Vidyo surveyed 500 students in higher education, and a third of them said they will attend a virtual classroom in the coming year.
Virtual classrooms have gotten mixed reviews from educators and experts in the industry. Critics of cyberschools — in K-12 — say that such online programs are frequently run by people with dubious for-profit motives. Case in point: Nicholas Trombetta from Pennsylvania, who was recently indicted for funneling money from the public charter cyber school he founded into his own coffers. Long-time educator and policy analyst Diane Ravitch is an outspoken critic of cyber schools, and she argues that students who don’t interact in-person at school suffer in their learning.
However proponents of virtual learning say that such programs help students in rural areas who might otherwise have to commute long distances to school. The Vidyo survey interviewed students in higher education, and 35 percent of the students planning to attend virtual classes in the coming year were from rural areas. That stat backs up what supporters of cyber learning say: that online classes open access to education for people in geographically isolated areas.
The full info graphic also looks at the prevalence of video conferencing for school and students’ use of mobile devices. See below.