Education has always been the foundation of personal and career development. Broadly speaking education leads invention, innovation, and technology. From the onset, technology has mainly catered to many of our needs. From communication to sending files, technology has indeed made it easier for humans to transact and interact. In the recent years, technological advances have even allowed people to push the boundaries by linking it to education. Online education has gained worldwide interest and is continually developing. The setting and flexibility of time appeal in such a way as it is a convenient alternative to the traditional means of education.
In this paper, I argue that the advantages of online education outweigh the disadvantages. To establish this idea, I will discuss the factors that make online education a recurring interest, including the recent developments in technology used in online education, and its advantages and compared to traditional education. Finally, arguments contracting these ideas will also be discussed.
Much attention has been given to the importance of education basically because progress and development are dependent on education. This value has been emphasized in our everyday lives. Education provides the foundation for objective thinking, decision making, and action whether it be in the social or business realms. This is why many, especially adults seek to continue education. Major advances have since supported this growing and steady trend. Approaches such as face-to-face, online learning, blended learning, interactive voice chats, discussion boards are supplemented by information that can be easily accessed. Thus, luring more people to become interested. On top of all these, many universities have started to competitively design and develop online programs that make use of online interactivity.
Turning to the advantages of online education, one of the reasons for many people to contemplate on online education, is the fact that online education can be taken anywhere the student is. Regardless of their location at the moment, attending an online education class is like being able to carry their lessons with them just by using their internet connection and accessing lessons from their smartphones or laptops. The convenience this provides enables people to do more with their time. It is valuable to many, especially those who need to work, but at the same time want to continue education without sacrificing hours spent on their jobs. Information is easily available, and communication with the professor or classmates is easily achieved. Secondly, freedom of time is afforded to the students. Since many tasks or activities follow a flexible schedule, students can design their own time and schedule and still be able to meet the requirements set in the online class. In addition to this, the student is able to choose which university he prefers to go to, given that many universities, including popular ones, already offer online education opportunities. Students also can have the freedom to decide how long and when to stay in the university. Finally, online classes and the platforms used to execute these classes contain records of student and teacher activities that make work and information retrieval easier for both student and the facilitator. Emails and chat rooms also support information clarification and retrieval.
Online education has been contradicted in many ways. The main arguments are that delays in communication and responses caused by personal influences such as not being able to read messages on time, or being preoccupied with work, as well. Internet connection problems can be a disadvantage. Secondly, its effects on both teachers and students are blamed.
It is a given that delays in communication and responses can be a disadvantage to online education. While we live in internet and technology-rich environment, minor problems such as these cannot be helped. Additionally, consideration should also be placed in instances where time zones could affect the delays. Unlike regular classrooms where a question requires an immediate response, this expectation cannot be equated to online education.
Moreover, roles are questioned in online education. According to Wachenheim (as qtd in Nash, 81), “Students perceive online classes as the “easy way out.” This means that students become too relaxed and lazy in the online environment. Furthermore, student and teacher roles are questioned. Nash states that “Students report that they feel instructors should be active in their learning experience, while instructors see their role as more of a facilitator or guide” (81).
To address all these, it should be stressed that these are minor issues that cannot compensate for the benefits of online education. Online education and classes must be treated in the same way the student and the teacher attend a regular class. The solution to the problem is that internet connectivity must be accepted as an unstable yet powerful link. The delays, in my opinion, are minor and can be remedied by setting time goals and expectations in chatrooms. Simply making time to find an internet connection is a minor sacrifice than its benefits. In the same way, “OE (online education) must include clear communication between the student, faculty, and institution which starts with a clear and detailed course guide that is approved by the institution, endorsed by the faculty and understood by the student” (Nash, 86). It must be stated from the very beginning that students and teachers must collaboratively work together and must do their part to achieve their goals for education.
I believe these issues are typical and expected. Online education creates an online class. The only difference is that it makes use of other means than the traditional class setup. So even if there may be consequences to holding a class online, the teacher should be able to creatively design lessons and interactive communication and participation to encourage students. In the same way, students must be able to respond actively to online discussions.
McCutcheon, Karen, Maria Lohan, Marian Traynor, and Daphne Martin. “A Systematic Review Evaluating The Impact Of Online Or Blended Learning Vs. Face-To-Face Learning Of Clinical Skills In Undergraduate Nurse Education.” Journal of Advanced Nursing 71.2 (2015): 255-270. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 June 2016.
Nash, Julie Ann. “Future Of Online Education In Crisis: A Call To Action.” Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology – TOJET 14.2 (2015): 80-88. ERIC. Web. 12 June 2016.