Robyn Haynes – Online Component

Within the education system online learning seems to have increased its presence mightily. Even a few years ago only a few courses or subjects existed in an online form. Now, entire degrees become achievable without setting foot on a college campus. The role technology plays in the education system has tweaked the model forever.

Today classes which do meet in person inside a classroom likely have an online component. Essays, exercises, readings, some part of the course involves the use of technology. Consequently, education has turned more towards a task oriented program. Credit gets awarded by the student completing a number of items such as quizzes or essays. Thus the measure of a person’s understanding of a subject depends on his or her ability to finish worksheets and write five paragraph papers. Online education prioritizes quantity of work.

Online education also discontinues the need for students to recall information. During the course, should trouble arise the internet and any other text or course material lies a breath away. Such accessibility has led to students enrolling in online courses because of the lessened amount of commitment. Coworkers have squeaked through several courses while we held full time positions. Our schedule did not allow much time for study, but they completed the courses in one mad dash before the cutoff date. Still, they received a high letter grade and earned the credit they needed.

Such an attitude toward any course devalues the subject. Currently, this view typically applies only to courses termed “academics” or “basics.” As a result, most students view those sets of courses as unimportant, tasks to complete and forget.

Accordingly, individuals who choose to participate in online education usually sign up for topics which do not directly apply to their degree program. Many degree tracks do not allow online course credit to fulfill major specific requirements either. With the exorbitant (and still rising) costs of education, the future of institutions may look more like trade schools. Everyone will use the more cost effective online route to attain everything but track particular credits. Then people will transition to a university for interactive training in engineering, architecture, music and so forth.

Besides the format of education, online learning will not change how people physically process information. Technology has broken through the texture of society and remained as a permanent fixture for many years. Attend any conference, class, or any other venue and the pervasiveness of technology is tangible. The efficiency of these devices is practically unparalleled. However, even with the digital literacy of the current generation, studies continue to prove notes or memos taken by hand exceedingly surpass the success rate of using technology. In the same manner, online learning no matter how prominent it may become will not facilitate the same exchange of information as a hands on classroom approach.

For the current lifestyle of nonstop busyness, where most individuals can not afford taking a day off even when deathly ill, online learning has come as a sort of savior. Since courses depend on accomplishing a set of assignments, people can balance a multitude of responsibilities while pursuing their education simultaneously. Those who do not possess the option of enrolling as a full time student but must work to sustain their lifestyle have another option. Also, the cost difference between online learning and on campus learning makes the former considerably more affordable.

Online learning may be on the rise and benefitting the new traditionally overloaded manner of living, but it does not hope to overthrow the traditional education model. Every field in some manner demands onsite education. If choking, one would not want help from a person with an online certification in CPR. Doctors will not be allowed inside the operating room without prior experience. Thus online learning has, and may continue to change the traditional model of learning but will eventually reach a barrier where the change will stop.