How Higher Education Has Changed With The Internet
In the history of education, there has been very little change in the manner in which we learn. The oldest existing, and continually operating educational institution in the world is the University of Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco.
This means that college professors have been using the same lecturing methods for over a thousand years now. That is, up until just recently, with the invention of the internet.
The internet has completely reshaped and reformed higher education, as well as the manner in which we learn. The influx of distance learning was seen as a huge opportunity to increase the number of students at any given institution, which not only brought in more revenue for schools, but allowed schools to grow ten-fold or more without having to add any additional physical infrastructure to support additional students.
The benefits of distance learning are abundant, but there are definitely both pros and cons when pursuing an online degree.
Pros of Distance Learning
1. The most obvious pro to distance learning is that learning became more accommodating for both students and professors.Students aren’t required to be on-campus, they can attend a lecture, complete assignments, and take a test from virtually anywhere in the world. The same goes for teachers.
2. This allows far more time for other affairs, such as full-time jobs for students.
3. The one necessary ingredient is a computer. Even books can be found and purchased online, or even rented for the duration of the semester at a more affordable price.
4. Online education is typically more affordable, since the on-campus overhead isn’t necessary.
5. Students can learn, study, and complete assignments at their own pace, when it’s most convenient for them.
6. Creating a semester learning plan becomes much easier If a class is based on the teachings of a certain textbook, where that textbook’s learning plan has already been created online.
7. Even textbook authors and publishers are creating online class lesson plans for textbooks new and old.
8. Class sizes can be larger because there aren’t physical limitations and all student inquiries can be handled in one place, such as through email or messaging.
Cons of Distance Learning
What are the downsides of studying for a degree online? There are several issues that you need to consider, but the major ones are:
1. You need to have enough personal discipline to make yourself study and participate on a regular basis to pass a class. Since there will be less lecturing than the 2-3x a week you’d typically get from an on-campus class, it’ll be replaced by video courses, or even research required on your part. This means you’ll need to be proactive to learn the concepts on your own time. Online classes may result in less of a time commitment, but they certainly aren’t intended to.
2. Technical issues happen. Both hardware and software can malfunction. Procrastination is likely more detrimental for online classes because you don’t need to come to class to take a test or submit a paper. Which is why you always need to be on top of due dates and always make sure you have an assignment ready to be submitted at least an hour before the deadline.
You need to be diligent in keeping in contact with your professor and the other members of your class. Interaction with other people who are studying what you are is an important part of your learning process and teachers will often require this of you to give you a participation grade.
Some classes can also be hybrid courses, which means you’ll need to come on-campus on occasion, whether it be once a semester or once a week. You need to be able to arrange your time so that you can attend any on-campus study periods. These are a really important part of your online college degree program, and allow you to sort out problems, get to know your fellow students better, and to refresh your enthusiasm for your studies.
Studying for any degree is difficult and requires dedication. For many students, online college degrees allow them a freedom they couldn’t get otherwise. That being said, it’s imperative that you don’t allow yourself to fall behind on the pace.