In regards to cons, and there always will be cons:
Identity: an Privacy always an issue. I believe eventually technology will become sophisticated enough where synched specified data checks on information would be verifiable.
Multi-tasking: I dont see where this is a problem if a class is asynchronous or even synchronous but at a distance. That may likely be the case (if informally) for many situations including business ones of the future. Who knows what people do off the screen during the meetings? What matters is they are engaged to the situation in general have the skill and focus to give strong feedback when appropriate.
Cheating: Also an issue. But it depends what’s being learned. Is is regurgitating information that may be available anywhere online? If so what’s the point of memorization. Or is it requiring a processing of the information and critical thinking skills? Copy pasting essays can be a problem, but technology may likely can catch those bugs with opensource available data in the long run. Perhaps essays could become more about collaboration. referencing or include a live audio component.
The typical landscape of learning as we know it is changing drastically. Students are being influenced by other motivators such as technology and the Internet. Internet, the online portal to all information known is changing how our students learn and the information they have access toEducation has always been an influential factor in success and status. However, over the recent years this view is changing. With new start-ups, some founders come from no education at all, just a passion for something. For some this is a passion for education. Start-ups such as the Khan Academy focus on providing online education to all. There is no need to pay for your learning here. It’s free! Providing education in such an innovative way has proven groundbreaking and life changing. While it is being praised as being beneficial there is a lack of studies being done to understand the influence that this may have on education and students.
Online courses are changing the education landscape. They provide many benefits and positive functions that differ from the typical classroom environment.
- Students come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Online courses are beneficial to worldwide learners as they can learn from wherever they are, whenever they want.
- With busy schedules learning can happen at any point in the day
- Students can learn at own pace. All students learn at different speeds and levels. By allowing students to learn at their own pace they can take in the information, make it personal and take their time while learning.
- The typical classroom environment is now changing. It’s been proven that the classic classroom is not benefiting all types of learners. By shifting the environment, location and speed of education, students can learn at their own pace and learn where they feel most comfortable.
There are many benefits and positives to online courses but with the only recent changes and lack of studies and results it is difficult to portray it as the greatest change in education and learning.
Online courses offer many possibilities, but also many challenges. Courses offered online automatically must operate differently than ‘brick-and-mortar’ classrooms.
Class discussions will change:
- Student responses will have lag time as students go on and offline throughout the day
- It’s easier to be doing more things at once when not observed by a teacher- divided attention means less engagement in discussion
New ways to cheat will crop up:
- How are we sure the student signing on is who they say they are?
- What’s to stop a student from having their book out or a Google search up during a test?
We have to figure out what they mean:
- What level of qualification does an online certificate represent?
- How will employers or further education programs interpret them?
- Different online courses don’t all operate under the same rules- how do we know what each certificate really means?
Answers to some of these questions are beginning to form as the new frontier of online coursework is being established. Those pioneers come in all shapes and sizes and include Khan Academy, edX by MIT and Harvard, Open Yale Courses on YouTube, Coursera, and more. It looks like online coursework is leading toward increased accessibility to education not only for current college students, but individuals of all ages and walks of life. It will be exciting to watch the development of this new educational tool!
For additional resources and online courses, check out:
Kahn Academy – http://www.khanacademy.org/
edX - MIT Online Education – https://www.edx.org/
Open Yale Courses –http:// oyc.yale.edu
Coursera – https://www.coursera.org/
University of Oxford – Podcasts – http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/
This article is in collaboration with ThinkTechEd.com and StudyHall.com.
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