"If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow" ~ John Dewey, 1944.
Fortunately, we have come along way in the last 15 years. We are no longer limited to converting printed materials to PDF for presentation online. Still many online courses today are no more than a digital collection of the materials an instructor might use while presenting their lectures in a traditional classroom. These pseudo-online courses are not unlike the traditional independent study courses where students visited a distance learning office on campus to pick up their reading materials. The student would then complete a series of readings followed by written assignments, after which they would then return these documents back to the campus office or via mail. The primary difference is that the online courses deliver the documents electronically, are structured into a time-based series of learning modules, and involve many more students at the same time. This model of learning fulfills the need of convenience and flexibility that so many students seek, but it is not equally effective for all students. The independent study model or pseudo-online courses are only effective for students who possess self-discipline, effective time management skills, initiative, and enjoy reading.
A student in my Academia and the MOOC course shared a video with me that really resonated with me regarding this point. Take a few moments to "Reimagining Learning: Richard Culatta at TEDxBeaconStreet" (14:58 minutes).
Feel free to share your own experiences and insight regarding digitizing traditional learning materials and online course delivery models.