If you follow your passions and use technology to teach yourself, you may have experience in online learning. You’ve probably taken classes or courses online, using courses on GitHub or course outlines from startups.
What Is The Online Learning
Just like real schools, online universities have gone online. In order to not leave traditional bricks and mortar schools alone, people are finding “virtual university” (one that can be enrolled via the internet) to be a great way to learn the finer points of what we think of as learning. It’s not like the times of learning in a real classroom or school, when students lined up to hear the teacher read chapter one of Aesop’s Fables. (Actually, I understand that’s what they thought was the case… but it’s not.)
Online learning, like online medical school is online. The professor is in a special room, set aside for them and is teaching at the same time that students are in class. (One good example is the FiT Consortium, which in a few years’ time hopes to create a suite of courses so online and traditional education can work together.)
With all of these huge websites that are operating online, it’s easy to lose track of them all. Believe it or not, online learning isn’t new. Really, education has been a mass medium from the dawn of time. Everyone seems to think that teaching and learning happens only in physical classes, but they don’t see the hidden fruits of love and good can create magic in their professors. Professor Charlie Dexter, who is certainly a good example of a good professor in a good university and online, has taught many, many hundreds of people (yes, thousands of students) all over the world. He sees his job as “exchanging ideas and knowledge from one perspective to another, and telling people how they can use that knowledge and being prepared to teach them how.” (Charlie has been teaching online for over a decade now.)
Understanding online learning is a lot like understanding the game of chess, because it’s all about using the “transfer” idea: taking the idea of chess and applying it to other programs and learning models. Or else it’s about being able to recognize those blind spots and make yourself a better player and possibly improve one’s own game. It’s like modern day Law & Order, if we were playing chess. Professor Dexter understands that online learning will affect the student on a personalized, personal level. A big part of online learning is interpersonal or peer teaching and learning.
Anyone can go to a classroom and learn from a teacher—we may all have won millions of dollars in, or been the victim of, our own math or science lessons—but what we need now is a teacher that is really a coach to us, who asks us questions, who spends time teaching us about things we may not know, who cares, who wants to keep us active and excited and who wants to stay in touch with us even when we are not in his or her face. That’s the challenge of online learning.
There are several different online learning platforms out there. One concept that I like is a “kid mode”, since kids and teens spend as much time online as they do in real life, and many of them spend way more time playing games than taking classes. Online learning is also a great alternative to life overseas. With online universities, professors can travel wherever they are—even in the United States—and teach classes. One of the biggest drawbacks with online schools is getting permission to take classes in the first place. There are many approvals and other steps to taking classes that you may not know about, and if you don’t feel qualified to do that, it may be best not to take it. There’s a whole other article about online learning that was designed to explain those things better—go check it out.