Who would’ve thought that students and educators will be marvelling today about online education?
It started with computers and its integration on schools. Then it got past the physical presence; it slowly demanded to be part of education. And viola! The third mark should be technology as a platform for education.
Did the latter mean the phasing out of educators? No – teachers, tutors or professors remain to stay in the picture – but in a relatively different scene. Instead of pacing back and forth in the lecture stage to talk to students on seats, the students are no more. They’re at home, sitting in their ergonomic-friendly stools, and facing the monitor.
The educator gets trapped inside the tube as it’s actually a ‘staged lecture’ – conveniently captured by a video recording gadget. Quizzes and exams occur at digitised exam sheets or forum features. Naturally, the submission of homeworks or courseworks occur e-style: digitised document, uploaded file and off for the educator’s account.
This is online education. And this is comprised of more – from the videoconferencing to the administrative systems, whiteboards to peer-reviews.
Its emergence suddenly poses an important question: “How does Online Learning Schools measure up against traditional schools? The answer: through its various strengths.
Behind the Strengths
Some account its strengths for the advancement of the hardware and software alone. Yet, in reality, it just got to be a lot:
- The characteristic receptiveness of today’s students and educators. Students, as always, actively displayed their readiness for such education at the early e-learning initiatives. And they continue to portray the same at different mediums – other than the PC and laptop – like tablet devices and Smartphones.
- The expanded bandwidth capabilities that are collectively called Wi-Fi connection. Because handheld gadgets’ functions have quadrupled (i.e., tablet and mobile phone), students can take ‘education’ anywhere with them – answering quizzes, or listening to recorded lectures – within Wi-Fi zones.
- The increasing supporters that back it up. First line of support comes from the manufacturers of the mediums – from the reliable PC to the handy tablet device. Second line involves education professionals and institutions who participate in these online streaming of pedagogical approaches.The third line composes of education boards, policymakers and other authoritative folks. Last but not the least, are the most important stakeholders – the students.
In short, the strengths of online education had to rely to these bullet-listed factors for it to hold strong against traditional schools.
Now, that these factors are identified, it’s time to focus on its top two strengths:
- It’s accessibility. Everywhere in the world, be it in far off places, in countries were specific courses aren’t (yet) offered, or students cannot simply afford skyrocketing fees or take debts – as long as its within the Wi-Fi’s radar, students could get education.
- It’s flexibility. With a lot to offer, the students are empowered to a choice that befits them, their needs, capabilities and schedule.
Sure, online learning has a lot to improve. In such case, everyone needs to stay tune.
Manuela Theissen loves to blog about business start-ups , academic structure and platform networks. Recently finishing her master’s degree in business administration, she relishes her newly gained credential to pursue further doctoral studies, as well as, another operational expansion for her online retailing shop. Her downtime is wisely spent with yoga and meditation.