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Strained Colleges Embrace Online Learning to a Growing Extent

Posted On : Nov-08-2010 | seen (703) times | Article Word Count : 504 |

Thanks to conveniences such as archiving or replay mode, a lot of students see serious advantages to online courses that square better with their lifestyle than early-morning live lectures with obligatory attendance.
Under pressure from financial cuts, universities have to adjust their teaching methods. It is online courses, until now often seen as little else than supplementary tools in traditional academic institutions or a preserve of correspondence and other distant learning colleges, that are perceived as fantastic cost cutting measures that at the same time respond to other challenges that universities have to confront. Accommodating a rising number of students is probably the biggest of them at a time when funds for new facilities are scare and difficult to get by. Another is giving young people some kind of access to the best faculty. Internet instruction, available throughout the campus for users with a login and a password, can solve both problems to the extent that is satisfactory for all interested parties. No matter how many students are expected to come to a lecture, including four-digit figures, which is not uncommon in some places, it is no longer a question of space, as much as it is of bandwidth. Thanks to conveniences such as archiving or replay mode, a lot of students see serious advantages to online courses that square better with their lifestyle than early-morning live lectures with obligatory attendance.

Some students and a lot of parents are not very pleased with these developments. Online courses mean no face to face contact with instructors that is often conducive to stimulating greater motivation. Many accomplished professionals like to mention the impact of professors on their choices later in life, but it is difficult to imagine anyone would be as moved as that by watching their computer monitors. Concerned students complain about lack of meaningful feedback, even if instructors make a point of introducing such functions as discussion groups or message forums. Others point out that at a time when practically everything is being transferred to the cyberspace, digital lectures do not command the same amount of attention as the real thing. What irks parents is the fact that they dole out considerable funds for tuition only to see their offspring take some classes from home or a dorm room.

Universities defend the idea as not just another austerity measure, but a valuable new avenue of experimentation in teaching methods. They point out that face to face instruction has always had its limitations and continues to fail expectations, so other modes, made possible by the advances in information technology, consumer electronics (like a mobile or a pen tablet) and the Internet, have to be tested as possible improvements. Lecturers are confident that weaker students cab benefit from the function of pausing and replaying parts of their speech that they find difficult to understand first time round, even though they also wax sentimental about good, old times when the faculty was so adorably within reach. Finally, there is also the question of improving standards of digital communication, from better and better web design to innovative interaction methods that can be as stimulating and engaging as watching your instructor from a couple of feet away.

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I am a web design specialist, a Harley rental enthusiast and a passionate writer. I write articles about computers and accessories like mini mouse or pen tablet.

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Category : Reference and Education : College

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