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With very few exceptions, online teaching and learning will be the primary mode of education for the majority of higher education students in many jurisdictions this fall as concerns about COVID-19 extend into the new school year.
As an education researcher who has been studying online education and a professor who has been teaching in both face-to-face and online environments for more than a decade, I am often asked whether online learning at universities and colleges can ever be as effective as face-to-face learning.
To be clear: this isn’t a new question or a new debate. I’ve been asked this question in various forms since the mid-2000s and researchers have been exploring this topic since at least the 1950s.
The answer isn’t as unequivocal as some would like it to be. Individual cherry-picked studies can support any result. But systematic analyses of the