Is e-learning Safer?
I have been wanting to write a column entitled “Is e-learning Green?” but have not yet located the data to show the differences in energy consumption between taking a course at home or in a classroom. Instead, after just reading an article about personal safety and about how a woman killed two students and herself at Louisiana Technical College, I started to wonder about the differences in safety between home and the classroom.
The personal safety article discusses how to “Be Smart When You Park”, “Drive for Life”, and other ways to stay safe. This resonated with me since I talk on my cell phone while walking at night from the building I teach in to my parking garage. While I have never seen campus violence, an article in response to the Virginia Tech murders says that “fatal mass shootings in our nation’s elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges number just over 250 killed in the past 80 years. While shooting violence is worsening, it does not approach the toll of other violence on our college youth. We all seem unable to assimilate the fact that thousands of college students are dying violently each year.”
I can not find evidence of deaths or violence in online courses, so, domestic violence and natural disasters notwithstanding, being home seems safer. The flip side is the satisfaction of being with other people, which has also been shown to have health benefits. In a WebMD article, Prof. Thomas Glass found that “Social engagement was as strong as anything we found in determining longevity,… stronger than things like blood pressure, cholesterol, or other measures of health.” Marriage also has health benefits, such as lowered incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Are you more likely to meet your spouse on campus or in an online course?