7 Ways How Online Education Degrees will Impact Higher Education?
7 Ways How Online Education Degrees will Impact Higher Education?
In the last couple of years there has been a stupendous growth in the field of online education. Although the traditional classes outstrip the virtual classes, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of online education degrees. Experts predict that online education is going to create significant waves in the placid waters of higher education, worldwide. Surveys infer that the largest number of enrolment in online schools is at the college and university levels. However, vast expanse of online education needs to be regularised and administered by a set of accreditation standards. Let us study the various ways in which it impacts higher education in the coming years.
1. More traditional schools embrace online education
Louis Soares, the director of postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress terms online education as ‘disruptive innovator’. Truly so, it has impacted traditional education in the same way as cell phones disrupted landlines, retailers like Walmart transformed the world of retail. Over the past few years more and more colleges have begun offering degree programs online. Before the advent of online education there was distant learning program that was conducted through mails. Today most people have access to computer and internet, therefore offering online educational degrees is a more feasible and profitable option. The flexibility of learning without having to go to traditional classrooms is great news for working folks and stay-at-home parents. Top universities in the US, like the University of Phoenix, University of North Carolina-Chappel Hill, University of Southern California and the Kaplan University are offering masters in higher education off late.
2. Statistics of enrolment changes
According to the experts, in the coming y\
ears students would see an increased presence of online classes at traditional non-profit schools. Elaine Allen, Statistical director of Sloan Survey of Online Education, found that at least 30 percent of American college students enrol for one course online. The main attraction of online courses lies in the flexibility they offer. They allow you to complete everything between certificate programs to PhDs without stepping into the campus. This is best way to learn and earn for professionals who have both their feet dipped in a full-time career. There are programs that allow you to register on a rolling basis, that is new classes commence every week. You do not need to take the GRE exam for online college education. Suppose you are bachelors in Economics from an accredited school and are working, you can get your MBA online to move forward in your career. The same goes for stay at home moms who want to update themselves with latest skills to return to work force.
3. Entry level courses are delivered online
As technology advances and the online platform for catering education grows more robust, the traditional schools will replace the massive entry-level courses with online ones. These courses are taught in vast lecture halls and do not demand for much interactions between the professors and the students. Lectures that are better catered online can be pre-recorded to be accessed by students according to their convenience. This will enable in streamlining the content of classroom lectures through discussion, group exercises or quizzes. Moreover, online platforms provide the faculties a clear analytics of the level of learning. Based on these analytics they can draft future plans for even more effective learning. The coming of online education courses has made classroom instructions ripe for innovation. The instructors can use this precious space for more in-depth learning experience, by roping in real-time discussions with industry experts or building small group experiences online.
4. MOOCs go main stream
MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses ushered a change in the paradigm of higher education. The idea behind MOOCs is putting lecture videos and interactive course work on the Web. This will enable top-notch universities to reach out to more and more students with their classroom lectures. MOOCs have set a new milestone in the arena of higher education. Students around the world have latched on to them. Coursera, a key provider of MOOCs has drawn five million students. edX a non-profit provider has attracted almost 1.3 million. The major providers of MOOCs are based in the US, but the learners are from all over the globe, almost 12% from India.
According to a report by the New York Times, public universities that are lacking in financial support from the government are banking upon online education courses to generate a new stream of revenue. Schools like Arizona State and the University of Cincinnati are offering a free class through the MOOC2 Degree program to market their online courses.
5. Blended learning is the new catch word
The MOOCs are however not without caveats. There are host of criticisms about them. Some of them being lack of interactions between teachers and students, boredom of continuous lecture and many more. Moreover, what will be the cost of sustaining them in the long time? These courses need to be packaged into certificate programs to make them viable in future. These issues have spawned a new type of learning called the hybrid model or blended learning. These programs will allow faculties to teach and assess their students personally and also leverage the online platform to cater a portion of the program. This is great way of striking a balance between online model and the traditional model.
6. Online method leans down fees of higher education.
The online education can bend down the cost curve of higher education.Georgia Institute of Technology would offer an online master’s degree in computer science for $6,600, which is almost $35,000 less than a classroom program. University of the People, a recognized online school, give degrees with no tuition. The MOOCs are called free educational resources that can be used to complete a degree. Students enrolling for online educational degrees pay less as the schools donot have to maintain the typical facilities like libraries, gyms, or cafeterias to sustain them. These schools also abolish tenure and mandate that faculties should receive research funding from exterior sources rather than tuitions. The cost curve also goes down because hundreds of students are enrolled while the number of faculties is kept at minimum. The grading system is outsourced to computers.
7. New pedagogical trends emerge
The advent of online education has created some new pedagogical trends. First of all, is opening higher education to all and making it more flexible at the same time. The classroom is no longer the important junction where teaching and learning happens. The changes that come with the new mode of education manifest through transformed professorial role, more discussion and thinking over content and methods and a greater focus on developing models that accentuates learner autonomy. At the student’s end it requires more usage of social media, peer assessment, discussion groups, and online study groups. Of course these should be backed with supervision, support and feedback from experts in related fields. The new form of higher education would witness an increased use of technology to deliver teaching, support and assist students and provide assessment.
With new pedagogical trends, professors and teacher needs to be trained with standardized method to teach online. Currently, there is no standard for training professors to teach online courses. This could be done by an association of accredited online schools introducing pedagogy and training modules.
Online education has already made its first onslaught on higher education. But there are many voids that will need to be filled for the quality of online education to increase and for a wide acceptance at mainstream universities. Training the teachers for this new educational platform is one of the foremost challenges. Transparency is another factor that needs to be looked into. The private universities and colleges should be transparent enough to share the outcome of their students after graduation though online courses. Conducive changes in this field will hinge on the true feedbacks of the student’s output.
Overall, the new online revolution has been one of the greatest achievements for academia in the recent times. The popularity of online education lies on one glittering factor— flexibility. While an undergrad attending a University may pooh-pooh the idea of online education, but it will mean a lot to many adults wishing to earn a degree while maintaining a job. Just think, on a business trip you can download and learn your course content anytime and anywhere – say in the airport where you would board the plane and upload the assessments after perusing the course content at the other airport where you land. What would you call it, an achievement indeed!