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Online Learning


By Brian Sanner - Posted on 09 December 2012

In May of 1995 Bill Gates wrote in a memo, “. . . improvement in computer power will be outpaced by the exponential improvements in communications networks. The combination of these elements will have a fundamental impact on work, learning and play.” He was right. Colleges and universities are realizing the vast market potential of the online student.

As a 30 year old enrolling in college courses for the first time I was only interested in traditional learning. In high school I learned best by listening and taking notes. I thought I wouldn't have that option in online courses. They also meant self-motivating as there was no “period” I had to be in class. It wasn't long, however, before I was forced into an online class due to conflicts with my schedule. The very reasons I was interested in traditional courses became the very reasons I preferred online courses. They offer more flexibility in my schedule with a full 24-hours to work with rather than the brief time school was open. I didn't have to sit through entire lectures since I could watch the video. I could even work ahead allowing me to concentrate on other courses when I knew a test or project was coming up.

Furthermore, I found online courses offered more learning tools than a traditional course. I could pause, rewind, or fast-forward a lecture. Rather than crudely drawn sketches I saw animated diagrams. Discussions between students continued indefinitely through the class blog rather than restricted to the time allotted in class. When examining options for education I encourage everyone to consider online courses. To paraphrase what Gates said, as communication networks become more capable, online learning will become more prevalent. Be prepared. The future is here, and it is online learning.

~Brian Sanner
Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Candidate
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia

Reference:
http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/07/internet-tidal-wave.html

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This article makes some good points and I am very familiar with the ways that technology has affected both my business and the way I work. However, I am concerned with the increase in technology and computerized social networking that today's students will graduate with social awkwardness when it comes to interviews or making a business deal as they will be unprepared for face to face interaction.

Good read. Very good points made for on line classes.

I agree, I feel that online learning is also preparing you for what lies ahead. These are things that will be used for whatever career you chose.

My first degree was achieved through online classes. Great article!

As an online faculty member, I appreciate the student perspective regarding online learning. I, too, enjoy the flexibility of online teaching/learning and the asynchronous environment. I also like that I get to work with people I would likely never meet in a face-to-face university setting (e.g., US soldiers stationed overseas).

Great article!

On line classes are an excellent option for a student who needs to work or has a family. Flexibility is extremely important.

I’ve been considering a few online courses lately and its points like these that make such a consideration valid. Great article!

the future is here now a little 1984

I thought this article was very well written and brought up a lot of good points about online learning!

I had not thought of online classes as a way to converse with other students! Interesting!

Hi Brian, I really enjoyed reading your essay; it gave me a different perspective. I know as a college student fresh out of high school, I never really considered online courses; however, I'm no stranger to online learning tools such as MasteringPhysics and WebAssign in both high school and college settings. Also, there are classes where videos of the lectures are being utilized for supplementary learning. It's obvious that online learning is becoming more and more readily available. I'm also slowly making a transition to those useful tools and started utilizing them more. While I'm not completely sure I'd like to make a full transition to online courses, I definitely see their pros for those of you who are also working full time for a wider flexibility.

Hi Brian, I really enjoyed reading your essay; it gave me a different perspective. I know as a college student fresh out of high school, I never really considered online courses; however, I'm no stranger to online learning tools such as MasteringPhysics and WebAssign in both high school and college settings. Also, there are classes where videos of the lectures are being utilized for supplementary learning. It's obvious that online learning is becoming more and more readily available. I'm also slowly making a transition to those useful tools and started utilizing them more. While I'm not completely sure I'd like to make a full transition to online courses, I definitely see their pros for those of you who are also working full time for a wider flexibility.

Very interesting commentary. I enjoyed the change in mentality.

Enjoyed the read, very well put together article

I couldn't agree more. Having these options is so much better than the traditional way. This education system works better for many more people. Thanks for the article.

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