Online education is taking over the conventional model of teaching. The concept of online learning and education is changing how people learn. Free learning at at your own pace has become increasingly flexible and accessible. Not only can you learn to stitch up a wound or bind a book overnight, information abundance is challenging conventional learning institutions on how people build skills.
The conventional educational organization limits attendance, access to course material and to faculty members. Online learning has none of these limitations. You can learn unfettered by the constraints of being at a class at a certain time, buying overpriced texts and having limited access to profs in a given area of expertise.
Coursera offers comprehensive web based courses that are self paced and include online assignments and evaluation. Certifications are available for the learner to show proof of completion if the learner participates and completes the assigned work. These classes are all over the globe and you don’t need to be physically present. Students can take free courses which have historically been challenging to access, due to location, affordability and the typical hoops and loops it takes to get admitted and registered for a course.
For instance, Stanford University offered a Introduction to Databases with Jennifer Windom who is Chair of the Computer Science Department at Stanford University. Access to a professor with her credentials would have required the learner to apply to Stanford, be accepted into the program, and physically be present to attend classes. I participated in this program for free!! At the same time I was taking a similar course in Database management systems course through BCIT at a cost of $620 and required me to be on site for 13weeks. Although the course material was not explicitly the same, there was a considerable amount of crossover with respect to the shared curriculum.
Another example of a course I have been involved with through Coursera is: English Common Law Structure and Principles at University of London with professor Adam Geary who is a professor at the School of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London. He teaches courses on legal method, social justice and welfare law.
Both these courses illustrate the accessibility to not only the course material but access to institutions and professors that have been out of the students grasp due to the barriers of proximity and the process for application and acceptance to these courses. A student can now access subjects from Stanford, Vanderbilt, Princeton, Yale, UBC, Edinburgh and the list goes on.
Online learning is also convenient and saves time for the instructors. The record of the course is preserved and the ability to repeat the material, add and improve and keep the material updated is extremely cost effective.
There is a serious disruption coming to the traditional learning process. Virtual classroom teaching is challenging the assumptions of conventional educational methods and the traditional process required to access courses. Online education will play a major and decisive role in the field of education – its time to adapt and join in.
Education should be accessible, affordable, flexible and time saving and now it is!!