Future of Online Universities

Is online learning the way of the future? The world is enduring a low-level crisis and increased instability due to the pandemic. This is creating an ambiance of uncertainty, confusion, and anxiety across the education environment.

An article recently published by “The guardians” titled “’Students like the flexibility': why online universities are here to stay” has a point of view regarding our situation.  Herein is our analysis of their POV.

According to the article most of the universities are planning to transition at a minimum their fall semester from on campus to online learning. This move has received mixed reactions.

It’s hard to find a substitute for the real-life campus experience. A significant portion of the knowledge gained at University is obtained through teacher-student, student-student, teacher-class face-to-face interaction, rather than through books alone. Essential skills for a future in management (managing people) is include teamwork and communication skills which are developed during campus life.

Students are reconsidering plans to invest in a University education that is merely online and are instead opting for short term or professional courses as a mechanism for improving their skills and job prospects.

These challenges are not confined to the students but to the universities and colleges as well.  “Online learning may produce a precarious gig economy to connect students and educators,” suggests the author. “This competitive, fragmented learning landscape could raise accountability issues, prompt a loss of academic expertise and lower teaching standards.”   Given that online learning is not as well established as classroom-based learning, expectations and standards may certainly decline.

Moving on to the advantages… Materials are now more accessible. Online learning is flexible and creates platform for many to enrol who would otherwise will not be able to attend due to financial or affordability challenges. And most students can save money by staying at home rather than in dormitory or student housing.

The article suggests that the future of education will involve blended learning that will drive education efficiency.   In this scenario, students can gain the interactive benefits associated with campus experience, as well as the cost and time efficient benefits of online learning.  How this all plays out is to be seen.  As always, students that are disciplined and self-motivated will succeed in either environment.

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