One of the first things you will notice when taking an online course is how much more difficult it i...More
There is a horrible fascination with rating things that we all seem to have. I don't know why psych...More
There are many things happening both sociological, technological, and financial that create a perfect storm for online colleges. Everything is pointing to a future where nearly every course will have an online component and it is easy to see why. There are many advantages to online learning.
Internet connection speeds continue to rise at a reasonable rate, making multimedia download times drop from being counted in hours or days to minutes and seconds.
This has allowed an unprecedented amount of information to be transmitted from teachers to students and back again. Need all of the slides that the teacher showed from the last lecture as you had the flu? Well, they can easily be e-mailed to you in a digital form, as you sit at home recovering.
For a very long time, students have recorded their professors lectures in order to have the best college experience possible. Being able to review lectures on demand is a great way to learn quickly, and refresh your memory. With online learning, audio has become a staple, something that is more or less expected. With recording audio fairly inexpensive, and the file sizes, quite reasonable, it is easy to see why everyone expects audio in online learning.
One of the biggest sacrifices that students used to have to make when pursuing non-traditional methods of education was the lack of face to face interaction with the teacher, where you received the content, but missed some of the nuances and hints regarding the importance of the information. Body language, facial expression, much of the expression of language, and emotion comes from these seemingly minor forms of communication, but it is the words themselves that lack much of the meaning and intent.
With video production becoming less and less expensive, and more and more useful, I expect to see many professors taking advantage of this to supplement other educational offerings.
Bringing various technologies together, we can now create fully interactive aspects of education. If you are training for medical courses, you might have the ability to virtually interact with programmed test subjects, giving you a better idea of how everything works together. If you are learning about engineering, you can use software that will give you a good understanding of the physics behind your various attempts to construct a building.
Adding in the ability to interact in a central area opens up the possibility of group work, or having your teacher lead you through virtual exercises.
While it might not always be the case, the best online colleges will employ professors that focus in on students, giving them more personal time than they could have in a larger classroom setting and extending the availability of the professor to the students through e-mail, instant messaging, and other important communication methods that don’t require the student and teacher to be in the same physical or digital space at the same time.
All of these things can create some of the best educational experiences of our century as long as schools and teachers devote the resources and time to utilizing the advances in technology.