The tremendous growth in technology has changed our lives in many aspects. One of these aspects is online education, also called electronic learning. Online education originated from distance education, for those students, which plan to acquire knowledge through Internet. Today, there are so many universities that impart knowledge through online platforms. One good example of such platform is blackboard learning commonly known as bbvista, used in Drexel University. Students have a stereotypical image that traditional courses are better than online courses, but that’s not true.
This image is quite impractical in this technology era. Online education opens new horizons for students to apply even in the universities that are far from their place. The students don’t have to drive to the school to attend a lecture and rather watch the slides online and do the required assignment for that topic. But there’s one drawback in this type of learning is that the student is missing valuable words of lecturer. The words of the lecturer is the extra knowledge that only those students can gain which are attending the lecture.
The flexibility of online courses enables students to take their lessons whenever and wherever they want. Especially in Drexel University that has co-op system, the students can take online courses while they are on their co-op, from any part of the world. Another advantage of online course is that the assignments are open for a certain period of time, so the student has plenty of time to complete the assignment and submit it by just one click on the computer. Drexel University is one of the best examples that impart knowledge in good proportions of online education and traditional in-classroom education.
They uses online platform Blackboard Vista to post syllabus of the course, lectures, homework, and grades. As we are in the generation of modern people, they also want technology to be a key part of their education. Another feature of Drexel is their library. In my opinion, Drexel’s library is no less than GOOGLE. It is a great source of books, articles, journals, and encyclopedias. Technology is one of the key features of Drexel. Gilbert said, “A Course is not a Pizza”. I believe course is very similar to pizza. Why do people order pizza for delivery? To save time of going there and eating.
One of the main purposes of online courses is to save time only. Traditional classrooms are like going and eating the pizza in the restaurant itself. Does the taste of the pizza changes if we are eating it in restaurant or at home? Yes, at restaurant the pizza is hot and fresh whereas at home pizza might be cold, but we can reheat the pizza. The point is face-to-face interaction we get fresh knowledge means easy to understand whereas; in online education we have to make an extra effort to grab the knowledge that is like making an extra effort of reheating the pizza.
An article in ‘The Chronicle of Higher Education’ by Jeffrey R. Young refers to an example that an educator can deliver his teachings without even going to any school or university. One such educator is Salman Khan who delivered his lectures from a bedroom closet. He made short videos of his lectures and posted on youtube. The videos weren’t like typical classroom lectures; rather the lectures were short, low-tech and bad drawings of Mr. Khan. But, these videos were helpful to some students and those students even donated few bucks via paypal. Mr.
Khan named his collection of videos as ”Khan Academy” and the subject that he can’t teach; he gives a crash course and prepares himself to teach other. Today, in the contemporary world so many parents can’t even afford education of their children. At this point these free videos can make lives of their children, as something is better than nothing. Even, Mr. Khan’s biggest goal was to deliver things the way he wished. In this way technology benefitted the educator as well as the students. Moreover, Online education improves communication and interaction between the instructor and the students.
Communication technologies, such as E-mail have been a great benefit for especially shy students that are reluctant to ask question directly face-to-face with the instructor. So, students feel confident while expressing their feeling in writing rather than orally expressing them. Also, online education eliminates problem of time-delayed communication. For Example, the instructor poses a question, the student responds to it, and finally the instructor comments on it and grade it. So, the conversation ends here, student gets his grade and comment on his work, and finally the students are off to new topic.
This technology era of smartphones and laptops has invaded our life and changed the way we think, live, communicate and learn. One of these changes is online education that was changed from time to time to improve the quality of education. Transitions are the part of nature. Today, sitting in a small room bounded by four walls and trying to gain knowledge seems old school. It doesn’t matter whether a course is taught in the classroom or online, what matters is, how the course is set up and taught by the instructor. So, any method of delivering knowledge can be successful, it’s just, how we acquire it.