How To Make Online Learning Better

Will Attendance Machines Replace the High School? Nick Caboni, webmaster for the Pepperdine Genius Study Blog, shares his thoughts on the future of internet learning.

Online learning is vastly superior to many traditional education options for those looking to expand their horizons and see the world. Where you once had to make an expensive commitment to your education, online education can give you the choice and convenience of staying at home while getting ahead or traveling the world to perfect your craft.

There is the normal realm of K-12 and post-graduate courses that are typically available through various university websites as well as community colleges. In other fields, such as Corporate training, executives want online options to try out before jumping into one of the more expensive tier-ones in their field.

Now, some of the biggest names in technology, media, and entertainment are offering the option to find better teacher quality, classes, and the option to schedule all facets of course work at their pace, at their choice. Take for example IBM’s National Universities Network (NUN).

IBM is a certifiable powerhouse and as one of the world’s oldest software and infrastructure companies, the company is always thinking about future. They are not afraid to take bigger and bolder risks, especially when it comes to education. This includes the NUN brand.

The brand is now home to 30 universities and the latest to join IBM’s roster are 12 Korean universities, two of which are well known. The schools range from major research universities such as Seoul National University and Korea University to less well known schools such as Yonsei University in Seoul and Changwon University in Korea.

What makes this partnership between IBM and universities so revolutionary is the fact that they are designed to promote educational systems and student feedback as well as serve as a teaching platform for IBM. Students can use NUN to access their online classes and updates at any time to better schedule their academic weeks. No more cramming late at night and cramming early in the morning. That is when the world’s brightest minds get in.

NUN then connects up the students with their teachers via video chats and lets them form relationships and build expertise that is shared between all students and teachers. Students also get to keep updates, so if they decide to graduate, they can keep their “concurrent degree” available to others as they fall back in the ranks of the amateur.

The internet in general has changed the way we learn. For many students these are the best options they could ever have. A highly touted current student, in need of a job in IT, spoke about her experiences using NUN:

“Last semester, I took a course that I wanted to do for a while but had no idea how to go about it. IBM has a place called NUN where students can check out courses from their favorite universities and get advice from instructors and professionals who have taken the classes and gotten their degree. The information provided really helped me. I do better when it’s clear how an actual person would learn something. They provided me with podcasts and well-written articles to help me with my courses.”

NUN also offers content which increases the value of its programs as well. Today, NUN offers 9 experts to give updates and information on many different things including: Professional credentialing, corporate training, entrepreneurship, and more.

I asked Gary Gottschalk, a professor from the University of Winnipeg in Canada, about his involvement in NUN. He said:

“I’m involved in a pilot project to provide special courses, faculty in order to improve and support the bottom-up learner rather than just learning technology and content. Whether you’re moving between academic modules at the university level or about to go out and compete in a marketplace is there mind to change your mindset of learning. That, along with a better understanding of what content means in universities, the internet, and the broadened curriculum, has created a huge demand for online and blended education programs. Through the National University Network, I can create something that I want to see work. It isn’t just merely looking at educational paradigms and platforms. I’m also looking at student needs and leveraging technology to prepare for tomorrow.”

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