Online course may not be able to be described as ‘traditional,’ but it’s a highly different approach from what we see in college classrooms.
How Online Learning Is Different From Classroom Book
I’ve always been fascinated by online learning. I remember my love for communicating with people other than traditional, in-person teachers. My love for online learning turned into academic obsession, as I found ways to learn and meet people outside of school.
I just recently attended my 18th annual Work in Progress, an academic conference in Barcelona, Spain for writers, artists, and scholars who study and create from the Digital Society. I’m a Big Data historian, and Digital Society is considered a STEM journal, but it also tackles media issues and beyond. One of the conference topics is the teaching of digital literacy, and I’m constantly finding new examples of how far online learning has come from what it used to be like.
More than a decade ago, I discovered Futurepath Digital, a digital culture and design school based in Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s really about education, not art or entertainment, and it provided me with the first online resources that I could realistically use. They started to grow and provide extensive courses for me to use, as did books written by Futurepath professors. A vast majority of the material we’d used to learn was online, not only videos and courseware, but also design and course-related materials. Most of that material came from the online catalog and was free.
This contrasts with my current experience with online learning. My Book can be purchased on Amazon for around $10, with much of the material being available for free. So even if you have a high-end device like a MacBook Pro with its $24,000 price tag, you can get access to good material with only a few bucks in your pocket. And while the material may be free online, I recommend you download the class content onto your computer, print out a card, or just read the course materials yourself.
In comparison, my new college to-do list, ShortMeaning.io is a subscription service that offers free access to its multiple courses, and probably only costs a few bucks in total for the semester. In another recent example, my friend and I recently used this other service, Purdums, to complete the leap to live on our own in a tiny apartment in Europe. It’s not in-person, but they have free materials to help us with things like tracking our groceries and meetings.
If you don’t have access to a computer (and don’t want to), try to do some free research online. As I search for the story of a curious miniature dinosaur-obsessed medieval Catalan urban explorer, I find plenty of sources to research areas outside of London.
Could we imagine that in ancient times, students might have gone to school for a day or two to study Greek and Rome? This might sound hard to imagine, but it’s very likely. I imagine students would have gone to their local library to read and study content relevant to their current studies. In our day and age, many students choose to put a question mark after their favorite college program. These resources can help you identify as an applicant to schools or be on the hunt for something that suits your interests.
And then there’s online education. This is the future of education. Finding educators that understand technology and how it relates to people’s lives and lessons is growing by leaps and bounds. This is also why I recommend you are exploring online learning. Learning can happen with your own time and your own means. Just because it might cost more than textbooks, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t. In my case, this included all materials I needed to complete my new Job in Progress project, including microburst snapshots, time diaries, and several papers.