The benefit of learning online as opposed to the classroom has been attributed to the rise of 3rd world countries eGains.
Articles On How Online Learning Fascilitate Persons Who Continue To Work
4 Things About Online Courses You Need To Know The students at MIT’s courses in physical science:
—have to continue to work during online class, therefore have the incentives to learn just as much from their textbook
—have a weakness for punctuality, probably because they have to leave early for a 9 to 5 job (to get home to the kids)
—spend most of their time in the academic reading, but almost no time engaged in the hands-on practice of the class and do a couple of assignments (but also have to leave early for work because their kids are late)
—virtually all have to leave on or after Thursdays, although they can take Saturday classes, etc. from Wednesdays and Sundays for and with their kids (so yes, they do work!)
But the real question is whether these course materials can enhance learning. I use the term “understandings” that have a practical application in life rather than “learning” or “knowledge.”
Which brings me to this issue of retraining and reeducation. How effective is online learning in the end? And are these courses actually more effective than in-person courses in the long run?
Let’s take an example to start to answer those questions. It’s a small engineering college called Webster Univeristy in California. With only 300 students, it offers a pair of online liberal arts courses designed to help individuals in technical fields, including management, with a background in math or science, to gain a broader understanding of economics, politics, foreign policy, finance, and legal theories (a condensed edition of which is online).
I am writing here in detail about one of the courses, a five-credit introductory class on international politics and peace, so bear with me.
I am guessing that these courses would be a great idea, but I am going to predict that they will not be. Our university system is a not-for-profit, secular, limited-profit system, meaning it is mostly built around tuition revenue (the education enterprise as a business depends upon tuition). And in any of the subjects addressed by this course, it is virtually impossible for students to learn of their own free will without the ability to participate in organized activities. Indeed, online courses are often described as consuming more time than other courses. So why would anyone want to take an online course which requires a large degree of self-control, motivation, attitude adjustment, and attention to self-assessment and self-improvement? What could you hope to learn? And what will an online course force students to sacrifice that will and energy at one point or another, most particularly when on the job?
Let’s take some plausible scenarios. Suppose that you took an online first-year physics course. First, of course, you will have to come to class for the actual class. But then, after six months, you will have started another physics course that will enroll 14 students. It will be based around how you did in class. In fact, we will then pretend that you did okay and that you “stopped working” to pursue some hobby or social activity.
Now suppose you decide that you are now going to take a physics class as you have been saving your own time for that (minus one or two days out of a week for babysitting purposes, etc.) that you can take on a weekly basis. You now have completed two term-time courses, some very necessary math work, and are about two-thirds of the way to completing the course.
On the night before the last night of your first class, you spend one hour doing your homework. You have also signed up for a take-home exam. Will you study for the exam in the way that you always did in class? Will you spend time studying that you could spend at your job, perhaps working on a problem that you always wanted to solve, or simply watching what’s going on in The Office or Wheel of Fortune? Or will you spend extra time at your job watching football or listening to music you usually don’t tune in to watch?
Maybe in your new job you watch the news on your cell phone at the office all day. Maybe in your new job you don’t look at a single piece of business news at all, and even when the news gets interesting you turn the damn television off. By next semester, might you be so concerned about staying involved at work that you don’t even pay attention to course material?
What if I told you that a longer version of this course, in which you will retake the midterm portion of the first semester, was a part of the online portfolio you had to submit to the student body to prove that you had participated in an online class?
Would that convince you to take another online course?
Which leads to my final question. Suppose that you are one of those students who end up not going back