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classroomI’ve been asked dozens of times: “Do you offer (or is there) an online version of auction school?”

In other words, there are those who wish to complete auction school via an online course, rather than sit — and stand — and walk — and take part in other physical and social interactive activities involved in an in-classroom auction school.

It’s understandable. Many in-classroom classes are now offered online. However, in regard to auction school, I recall two rules we regularly invoke in our company when contemplating change:

    1. If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it
    2. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

Auction school is a highly interactive experience for students and instructors. There are students being critiqued by both instructors and other students, breathing exercises, public speaking practice sessions, ringwork, clerking, cashiering and registration practice, and a multitude of other group activities.

As well, there are discussions regarding ethics, law, UCC 2-328, livestock, bookkeeping, insurance, health, online auctions, etc. which might well be presented adequately live or online.

Further, in my role as Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School I regularly hear from auction school students how much their lives have changed by “coming to auction school.”

I suspect in large part, these “arrival benefits” are mostly due to them being able to depart from their respective homes and other distractions — to focus on their new careers.

In teaching real estate pre-licensing, post-licensing and continuing education since 2003, it does seem to me that real estate education could well be served online almost as well as in the classroom. The difference here is real estate education is more so a lecture format (for most instructors,) where auction school is more an interaction — with more spontaneous discussion.

And with any online class, how does the state and/or provider know that the actual student is the one pressing the keys on the keyboard, clicking the mouse … answering the quizzes and tests, etc.? They probably don’t.

Lastly, even if one state approved online auction school, the other states would likely not approve it (or be unable to approve it by statute.) Therefore, those taking the online course would not be able to practice in any other states requiring auction school — until attending a classroom auction school; this same issue would effect reciprocal licensing requests as well.

Online education is a wonderful vehicle for a variety of learning opportunities. For auction school? Probably not, or at least not yet.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.