Online education is a type of educational instruction that is delivered via the internet to students using their home computers. During the last decade, online degrees and courses have become popular alternative for a wide range of non-traditional students, include those who want to continue working full-time or raising families. Most of the time, online degree programs and courses are offered via the host school’s online learning platform, although some are delivered using alternative technologies. Although there are subtle dissimilarities, the main difference between online and traditional learning is the fact that online education liberates the student from the usual trappings of on-campus degree programs — including driving to school, planning their schedule around classes, and being physically present for each sequence of their coursework.
Online Education Trends to Watch in India
Online education in India has been on an upward swing in the last few years and the trend is expected to continue in 2017 as well – maybe at a much accelerated pace. There is an ever-growing population of education-hungry students & professionals in India that is going online.
There are 50 crore students in India falling in the age bracket of 5 – 24 years and the country is just not equipped to provide a decent education to such a huge number only through the traditional mode (i.e. classroom teaching.).Add to that the prediction by ‘The Future of Internet in India’ report by Nasscom and Akamai Technologies that the number of internet users in India is more than double by 2020 (rising from 35 crores in 2015 to 73 crores). It is no surprise then that online education is increasingly gaining popularity across the nation!
Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is a web-based platform which provides unlimited number of students worldwide with a chance of distance education with the best institutes in the world. It was established back in 2008 and gained momentum in 2012 as a popular learning tool. Many MOOCs have communities that have interactive sessions and forums between the student, professors and Teaching Assistants (TAs) along with the study/course material and video lectures.
So, if there is a particular course you want to pursue but cannot, you have an option of considering a MOOC for your chosen higher education path.
HOW IT WORKS:
Think of it like an online platform where students and teachers come together and form an online pool of resources, which are readily available for you to utilize. You have the option of listening to lectures, downloading notes, contributing your own, and most importantly, sharing your point of view by communicating with your peers. Networking makes the process seem like a virtual online classroom.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) along with the HRD (Human Resource Development) Ministry and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)has launched the MOOC program in India for higher secondary, bachelors and masters degrees. This will cover a wide range of subjects that may or may not be taught in regular campus studies.
As it is being pointed out, MOOC cannot replace the traditional approach of classroom learning but it can be used as an alternative method to bridge the gap between various schools of learning. It has been said however that MOOC has certain limitations which are listed below:
- Although digitalization is a must now, there are many nations that are unable to provide the basic necessities to enrol for MOOCs hence the spread of MOOCs are limited.
- It is not always certain that all MOOCs provide degrees, certificates and/or diplomas which limits the number of candidates that enrol for these courses as many companies ask for records of the education levels achieved and candidates are unable to provide them with the same.
- A student’s life is confined to one room that has internet access and a laptop or a computer which allows little or no interaction with the outside world.
- Since MOOCs are web-based, there is no monitoring of the candidates/students, which carries a risk of plagiarism or cheating.
Employment Opportunities post Online Education
ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE EDUCATION
- You can learn whatever you want!
You can pick the program of your dreams in traditional education, too, but that would involve traveling away from home, living in a completely unknown city, and struggling in an extremely competitive learning environment. With online education, you can take any program or course present in traditional four-year universities.
For example, let’s say you’re mostly interested in neuroscience. All it takes is a Google search for such online course, and you’ll easily find the online programs offered by some of the most prestigious universities from all around the world. You can take such a course even if you have no aspirations to apply that knowledge in your future profession, but you’re simply curious to discover new interests and understand how the human brain works. The great variety of online programs and courses is a huge advantage of this type of education. It doesn’t matter where you live and what you want to study – you can always find a suitable course or even a degree program that you can follow from home.
Forget about attending classes for hours, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, and suffering from back pain by the end of the day. You will not be bound to physical class session when you opt for online education. All lectures and needed materials are provided via online platforms, so you’ll easily access them from the comfort of your home. You will not take public transport to get to campus, you won’t have to spend money on gas for your car, you won’t have to get up early to get dressed for class… the list of conveniences goes on and on.
Comfort is a strong advantage, but it can go both ways. You mustn’t allow yourself to get too comfortable when studying from home, so it would be best to abandon the couch for few hours a day and set up an inspirational studying environment in your home. All you need is a large desk and a nice, comfortable chair.
- Online courses look great on a resume.
It doesn’t matter where your career stands at this moment; an online program will always look good on your resume. It will show potential employers that you’re committed to learning and you’re eager to obtain more knowledge and new skills. Hiring managers don’t see online degrees as inferior to traditional ones. A degree is a degree. If you obtain an online degree from a prestigious university, you’ll boost your career with the speed of light. You will certainly become a better candidate for a job promotion, and your resume will look much better when you apply for new positions.
- Self-paced learning.
When you start browsing through interesting online courses and programs, you’ll notice the Self-Paced label on most of them. What does this mean? Self-paced learning means that the students can start completing the targets at any time, and he can arrange a learning schedule that meets his individual needs.
When you enroll in a traditional college program, you’ll have to forget about work, hobbies, and even family. In such setting, studying has to be a priority. That’s why many single parents and people who work decide to forget all about their dreams to get a higher degree.
A self-paced system enables them to make progress with rhythm that suits them. This type of system does not require attending live sessions; you can access the materials at any time that works for you. If you have to work or take care of your home and children during the day, you can study at night. That’s an advantage the traditional educational system cannot beat.
- Lower costs.
The fact that online programs are cheaper when compared to the ones held in a traditional campus setting is enough to convince you to consider them. The average tuition for online courses depends on multiple factors, so it varies from one program to another.