For decades, we have been a part of an educational system relegated to stifling classrooms with blackboards and uncomfortable desks. Today, students right from the level of nursery upto post graduate levels have a wonderful option in the nature of online education. Such a possibility could never have been envisaged in the past as a reality & simply dismissed as a figment of fertile imagination. In the backdrop of the current global pandemic environment, online education has actually come to stay as an Hobson’s choice throughout the length & breadth of the academic universe.
Online learning is an educational medium that allows students to participate in courses via the internet. They do not need to visit brick & mortar lecture halls or classrooms and choose to learn whatever they want from the comfort of their own homes. Online learning is also a way for subject-matter experts to pass on their knowledge in a gratifying way. Today, online learning for a significant part involves a degree through a university or college's online curriculum offerings. Online education comes in so many shapes and sizes. Students have an endless amount of opportunity to learn new things. Whether as a teacher or as a student, teaching online allows you to have the chance to impact lives, contribute to a growing industry, and share your expertise with others.
- Traditionally our education involved boards & markers with hardly any involvement of technology. In online learning, both faculties & students are trained to apply various sophisticated tools/gadgets. This has created a situation where at least basic technical skills are prerequisite for participation in online activities for both students & faculties. With online learning, students can improve their technical abilities in addition to learning about the subject matter of the course in question. Learning to adapt to technical skills can benefit students in numerous ways later on in their career.A number of e-learning tools & application softwares are available today which makes online learning interesting & attractive for students. Learning Management Systems that manage the processes of creating, hosting, distributing, and assessing classroom sessions are now widely in use. The tools allow faculties to host different types of training content such as lessons, worksheets, quizzes, assignments & regular tests. In fact, the recent guidance issued by the UGC for switching to regular class assessments rather end term evaluation would be well fulfilled by such methods.
Some popular platforms are TalentLMS,SAP Litmos, eFront, ISpring Learn Engagedly & MyClassCampus. Interactive magic white boards, digital pens etc are now the order of the day.
- The Benefits of Online college programs give you the advantage of choice when making the decision to enroll online. There are no constraints in choosing a college by its location. Online degree programs are extremely affordable. One on one chats between students and professors are often easily arranged during difficult times of learning.
- Online learning is becoming increasingly popular in college settings. There are numerous advantages to learning purely online or through a hybrid learning setup that combines the classroom with online classes. These advantages make online learning a great setup for many students.
- Online courses are far easier to schedule. That’s because students can attend courses from their own homes. This creates a situation where no classroom is needed. Scheduling can be a complex process. College students typically have multiple classes to schedule in a given semester. Fortunately, online classes and class components can make enrolling in a course more flexible. Courses with online components are easier to work into the busy schedules of college students.
- College tuition tends to be very expensive. Fortunately, online coursework offers the advantage of some cost savings. Because it is not necessary to find a physical classroom where all students can be accommodated, overhead costs for the course as well as travelling costs are reduced. Students can also save on textbook costs for online college courses since course materials can be made available online.
- Because online learning has no commute, you can well utilise the time & energy that you would normally waste in travelling with learning more about the subject you love.
- Different students move at different speeds. Online courses enable individual students to move at their own pace. This can improve overall student success rates.
- Numerous studies demonstrate that students are relatively less likely to lag behind in an online class. They have the option to watch the recordings of lectures and other course materials as many times as they like so that they are able to catch up when needed.
- Both students and professors enjoy the advantages of comfort when it comes to online learning. It can be much more comfortable for students to learn at their desks at home than it is in a college classroom. Students can set up their study area as they like to maximize their comfort. They can set up their furniture and control the temperature in their study area. This helps to minimize some distractions that students may experience in a typical classroom. A higher comfort level during a class can increase a student’s chances of grasping a subject & consequent success.
- Online courses can make more course options available to students over & above the standard syllabus. Online courses take fewer resources to set up. They also can be provided to more students at the same time. All this makes for a situation where a student has more options for subjects and time slots that they can fit into their schedules. Students are able to learn more quickly and conveniently through their curriculum and meet all the requirements in pursuit of their degree. At the same time, they are able to derive knowledge in additional areas through job oriented practical sessions & assignments suited to industries.
- Another huge advantage of online learning for college students is that students do not have to be in any particular geographic location to participate in online learning. They are able to take a course remotely. This gives students a great deal of freedom. They are able to pursue opportunities in other parts of the country even while they are working toward their degree. They can choose where they want to live, independent of where their educational institution is located in many cases. This often means that they can take advantage of the lower cost of living while they are pursuing their studies.
- Students often find it easier to concentrate when they take online courses. In many situations, students can take care of their coursework at any time they like. Improving concentration can make it easier for a student to succeed. Concentration is especially important for particularly challenging coursework. When students can concentrate better, they stay more engaged in the course.
- Online courses are now a global feature. Hence with regard to eligibility for securing admissions in advanced education programmes overseas, online degrees are now being granted equal recognition & status with offline education
- Schools can create an obscenely competitive atmosphere. Professors often post grade-point averages and test results for all to see. Students are constantly comparing themselves to the rest of the class. Some students aren't suited for the pressure of in-person classrooms and the effects can be devastating. An article for the American Psychological Association, Amy Novotney reveals that students have experienced an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. Students who answered a survey about pressure in the classroom admitted to seeking help from a counsellor or therapist for mental health issues. Pressure can cause poor performance, apathy, and reduced knowledge absorption. One of the top advantages of online education is how it offers a completely different environment. While students can still interact with one another and with their instructors, they don’t have to face a competitive atmosphere. The best state of mind for learning are ones in which you feel positive, confident, resourceful and relaxed.
Of course, one might find a few disadvantages in online learning. Some people learn better in classroom environments. Some students also tend to find themselves lonely if they spend too much time isolated from their peers. But one can easily appreciate how overwhelming the merits & advantages of online learning are in comparison to its drawbacks. Just because you take an online course doesn’t mean you can’t pursue other traditional educational endeavours. In fact, a well-rounded education is just what e-learning provides. It will not be unreasonable to forecast that in the not very distant future, online education would turn out to be a permanent feature that would replace the traditional system, in the light of its plethora of advantages ,as discussed.
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Prof. K V Ramkrishna