Online Higher Education in the 21st Century

The twenty first century presents unique challenges for higher education. Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are seen as the major driving force of the future economies of countries around the world. While complexities of the society are enforcing the need for more education, ICTs are increasingly expanding the reach and range of educational institutions by making it possible to access any course from anywhere in the world and at anytime. They offer the possibility of drawing students from many countries who are studying the same course together at the same time. They also serve both the ‘free market’ (i.e. those markets where people are able and are prepared to pay the full cost of accessing services) and the ‘social market’ (i.e. those in need of on demand education and training, and do not have the resources to access or pay for such services, but who for reasons of both social justice and long term national economic development need basic education, upgrading or retraining).

The scope of education is being dramatically increased from a specialized activity for young people to a lifetime need for everyone. The wealth of nations will depend increasingly on knowledge based high-tech industries. This means that education and trainings are essential elements of the new information age not just in the pre-work years but throughout lifetime. Thus, ICTs offer the promise of not only widening access, but also improving the quality of learning by making it relevant to the skills and knowledge needed in an information society.

What is emerging today is education in four kinds of campus settings:
-Campus based education (conventional universities etc.)
-Dual mode education (Traditional universities offering online courses as well)
-Off campus education (open universities and distance education institutions, etc.)
-Global electronic campus education (virtual universities, electronic based consortia/global networks, etc.)

There has been a tremendous growth and diversity in the number and types of learners, the learning outside traditional classrooms and also in the variety of providers from typical single mode and dual mode institutions (open universities/dual mode universities) with the purpose of increasing the access of corporate organizations to higher education in the aim of upgrading/retraining their workforce.

By using ICTs, formal universities are being transformed into distance learning institutes. They are starting to lecture on and offline to meet the growing pool of part-time students and open another potentiality. On the other hand, distance learning institutes are aiming to make it possible to teach and learn beyond spatial/time limits.

Behavioral and social issues play a huge role in the uptake of online offerings so do the economic issues that rule the implementation of online business models. The learning community would move beyond the classroom walls and would no more be dictated by the classroom schedule. Systems would no longer be age or time based. All boundaries related to distance, time, location of study, age, language, and culture would disappear. Individuals/groups that constitute the learning communities would be able to interact with each other across the globe. In other words, ICTs can personalize the prevailing impersonal studies by making dialogue teaching forms possible, and enabling them to be transmitted via data networks.

The exponential growth of information and communications technology (ICT) over the last 10 to 15 years has had a profound impact in every walk of life. Given the impact of ICT on many businesses and industries, it is being seen as major change agent in the field of higher education too. ICTs are predicted to revolutionize the way education is delivered. Computers are increasingly becoming powerful with technological breakthroughs in satellite, fiber optic and wireless technology. Software developments such as multimedia authoring systems have made it easier to create digital material such as computer simulations and educational material. Consequently, there is great interest in virtual education, which is based on the idea of a widespread and significant application of ICT on the core activities of education.

Many institutions worldwide, but particularly in North America, Australia and New Zealand, the United Kingdom and several other European countries such as Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have taken early lead and invested heavily in online education infrastructure.

It is clear that ICT capacity will continue to expand at a rapid rate throughout the world and will drive opportunities for online education. It will be in the interest of nations and institutions to embrace online education system.

On the other hand, virtual education requires a stringent set of conditions to work efficiently and online accreditation must embrace multiple standards of learning if it is to be universally accepted. Thus, traditional education settings and processes will not disappear, nor should they.

As today’s children become tomorrow’s college students, providing alternative (online) learning environments will become more and more important. With the changing face and needs of society, quick adaptation would be the key to success. While universities need not abandon their rich traditions, they must become more adaptable and flexible to survive. For institutions that refuse to change, the outcome is quite clear: public support will fade and they will eventually cease to exist.

Why Online Colleges are the Choice over On-Campus Education

Obtaining a long distance education was once thought to be for students with little or no responsibility, or had the ability to be attached to their computer at the same date and time every week, with positively no interruptions. If a family was a responsibility, it was almost easier to drive to and attend classes on campus, as keeping little ones quiet while taking a course was nearly impossible.

Fortunately, the internet era has allowed us to morph into the world of asynchronous classes for long distance learning needs. These types of classes make taking online classes very flexible and easily fit into life’s planned and unforeseen events. Long gone are the days in which you had to be at a computer at the exact same time each week.

This is how asynchronous classes work. Each week, your online college course of choice downloads a class for you to access at your leisure during a particular week. During this time, you can study and work as little or as much per day as you choose as long as all necessary assignments are completed by the pre-designated ending day of the week. The next week, an entirely new lesson is ready and waiting for you to access, again, when it’s convenient for you.

Aside from an asynchronous class schedule, there are other items that require your consideration before choosing an online college. For example, you need to be sure that all classes are fully accredited so that your distance learning experience is a worthwhile one.

In addition, there are a few attributes to that are considered to be more of bonuses than an absolute need for a positive, distance learning experience. One such trait would be a staff that can understand the trials and tribulations of going back to school while still continuing on with the rest of life, including work and family responsibilities, and/or making the change from high school to college. Another would be a great tech/class support system in place for your utilization. Available tutoring for those troublesome courses that you’re having a hard time with is yet another.

If time is of the essence, your search for the ideal distance learning institute may want to include a rapid or accelerated program to get you down the path to graduation. Many offer life credits to students who deserve them. Of course, being able to take a class or classes when it’s convenient for you allows you the freedom to take more classes at one time.

The best online colleges and universities will offer a wide array of degrees in the Technologically-Focused fields, such as internet marketing and web analyst. Since more and more people are choosing to earn their degrees online, it only makes sense that your college of choice offers programs which are moving forward with this fast-paced, ever-changing industry.

With gas prices at an all-time high (and consistently on the rise), it seems almost silly for college students drive to a campus to take a course or two when the internet has brought the entire world into our homes. Allowing the World Wide Web to work for you as it has done for so many is just one of the positives to living in present day.

To learn more about the advantages of a long distance education, Afa Ismayilova recommends the easy-to-follow information regarding the benefits of online learning at: http://www.rasmussenonline.edu/future_students/online_learning_benefits.asp

Obtaining a Masters in Education Through Distance Learning

How easy is it to obtain a Masters in Education through distance learning? The answer to that question really depends on the person who is pursuing the degree. While some students will have no trouble obtaining a Masters in Education others need the structure of an actual classroom. You must evaluate your own situation and determine whether you have the self-discipline to take advantage of distance learning. That means you must keep in mind you are completely on your own-there will be no teacher reminding you when your work is due or being available during the entire class in case you have questions.

Does everyone qualify to register for a Masters in Education through distance learning? The question is not whether everyone qualifies but whether an individual student can benefit from that type of education. While it may seem to fit their lifestyle because the student can continue working and doing the other things in his or her daily life if they do not have the self-discipline to follow through with their studies, any benefits they will be short-lived. There is no shame in admitting you lack the self-discipline to work on your Masters in Education; it takes a strong person to admit they need more than what it can offer.

Make the choice that is right for you. Before you make a decision you need to compare the advantages and disadvantages of both distance learning and on campus education in order to complete an accurate assessment of your individual needs. Do not limit your evaluation to only the employment and lifestyle changes you will need to make if you attend classes on campus, but look at the entire picture and how your decision will affect every part of your life.