Now there’s a way for working adults to obtain a degree that requires a person to log onto a computer and connect to the Internet. Technology has allowed full-time employees to achieve that same four-year degree that every incoming young freshman is achieving nowadays. This method can be done while at work, in school computer labs, or at the privacy of your own home. Online studies provide a number of learning options, in addition to classroom-based instruction. An example is, “Online Education”, when the instructor and student are separated by physical distance and technology. These course delivery formats are designed to offer the working adult the greatest flexibility in planning their academic schedule. Many of these formats use the latest technological advances to bring teachers and students at different locations together, while others enable to complete course requirements without classroom attendance.
Both the student and the faculty play a huge part in the success of the online education. The primary role of the student is to learn. In order to learn, the student must be willing to be motivated, self disciplined, and able to analyze and apply the instructional content that is being taught. The problem sometimes is that the student tends to get discouraged because there is not face-to-face contact with the instructor and fellow students. In this case, the student needs to be willing to adapt to the required conditions, and carry on with the course instructions. A friend of mine once said that the success of any online education is entirely up to the professor that is teaching. The instructor has many responsibilities that they must follow in order to assure a good outcome of online education. They must develop an understanding of the characteristics and needs of the students with first-hand experience and maybe even some face-to-face contact that does not occur very often. They must be willing to adapt and take into consideration the needs and expectations of the students. Most importantly, they must develop a working understanding of the technology, while still remaining focused with their teaching. Many people always wonder what the difference is between a classroom taught class and a online education class.
Classroom instructors use a great deal of visual cues from their students to enhance the way a particular subject is taught. Sometimes the instructor notices the people who are paying close attention, and those who are taking notes. They may notice a student that is confused or frustrated by their facial expressions. By having the face-to-face teaching, the instructor can adjust the delivery of the information to fit the needs of the students. By taking a online education class, the cues are no longer there. The instructor may never know who is having a problem or who needs additional help with the subject. That is why it is so important to constantly provide the feedback that is necessary to get the students through a problem. Some ways of effective feedback is for the instructor to require the students to contact them by either e-mail or in the conference area. By making it a requirement, many students will in fact state what problems they might be having. Another way of feedback is for the instructor to arrange telephone office hours so the students can call when a problem may exist. Feedback and communication are some of the most important attributes of online education.
The number one tool used for online education is the World Wide Web. According to the computer dictionary, the Internet is the world’s largest, most powerful computer network, connecting personal computers, sophisticated mainframes, and high-speed supercomputers around the globe. The Internet is perhaps the most transformative technology in history, reshaping business, media, entertainment, and society in astonishing ways. But for all its power, it is just now being tapped to transform education. The Internet is a tool that empowers society to teach the illiterate, bring job training to the unskilled, open a universe of wonderful images and knowledge to all students, and enrich the understanding of the lifelong learner. The good news is that the Internet is bringing us closer than ever thought possible to make learning- of all kinds, at all levels, any time, any place, any pace- a dream come true for every man, woman, and child. The bad news is that millions still cannot access the Internet and do not understand how to use it to take advantage of the global web of knowledge.
Online education is a great way for the working adult to receive their degree without having to attend a classroom full-time. It is the new future for education, and in my opinion will soon be the only way to obtain a degree for most working adults. It is extremely hard to make it far in a career without having that degree to back you up. Now days, employers are looking for a degree as a complete necessity, and the bare minimum for an interview. People just have to sit down and see that obtaining a degree can be done, and it is possible no matter what situation they may be in. If this era of globalization has proven anything, it is that a growing world economy can create a strong and lasting demand for skilled knowledge workers and a technologically savvy workforce. But we haven’t made the connection to education. We must seize the opportunities and complete these connections- technological and human. And we must advance with constant assessment and reflection. There is still much about learning and the impact of technology we do not know.
We must continue to research what is not known, analyze what is proposed or in progress, and then examine the results. We also must merge our belief in the large value of these advances with admiration for the difficulties that we face: the difference of access and shortage of teacher preparedness for web-based education. In short, the online education is not a worldwide cure for every problem in education. We require being practical. But we also must understand that the Internet is a key that can help us give power to every student and raise each individual to new levels of intellectual capability and skill. That is the great chance of this new technology. The authority and the guarantee are here. It is now time to shift from promise to implication.