Education remains the only formidable tool against ignorance the World over. Cognizant of this fact, academicians in governments and the private sector toil day and night to explore all avenues through which knowledge can be disseminated without compromise on quality and ethics. Whether formal or informal, classroom based or online, the common denominator in all these is dissemination of knowledge with intent to fight ignorance. However, online classes offered at some institutions of higher learning have catapulted a metamorphosis in today’s education: online classes at the renowned Cleveland state university is such one example.
Antagonists to online classes at CSU may argue that whatever the effort put, the number of degree courses offered through the traditional classroom set up at CSU or any other university far outdo those offered online. However, it would be too myopic of anyone including mathematicians to argue based on arithmetic alone because of the overall benefits that come with online learning. Besides, the number of programs offered online at CSU is quite appreciable considering that this concept is hardly half a century old vis-à-vis the centuries-old classroom learning. Moreover, the gravity of numbers is neutralized when the variable of interested students who actually make to enroll is brought into the picture: with online learning at CSU, you need not reside within USA or commute daily to benefit. Moreover, foreign students need not undergo the sometimes-humiliating process of visa application, or waste hundreds of dollars in air ticket. Precisely, the challenge of geographic inflexibility that formally hindered many practically sublimes on the face of online learning at CSU.
In the 21st century, everything is about cutting expenditure. Economists can swear that it is more practical for an institution to make an initial investment however expensive, and then reap the benefits forever rather than continue making low expenditure but on a long-term. To this respect, the argument that initial installation of softwares, hardware, and the human resource per program is expensive holds no water. Indeed, it suffices to say that it is a win-win situation for both CSU and the students on financial grounds because the school fee is often lower. This is because the school meets few operating costs. Isn’t this proof that quality education must not be expensive?
Talking about quality, someone might argue that lack of interaction with the lecturer and classmates may affect the quality of education by virtue of lost non-verbal communication, failure to utilize university facilities, and inability to hold student leadership positions. May be, only the first argument could be somewhat true but no goodies come without a worthy sacrifice. Regarding utilization of university library, it is indeed paradoxical to make such an argument given that most library resources are currently digitized and available online: even the students attending regular classes hardly rely on hard copies today.
Regarding students interaction especially with a view of holding academic discussions, it is indeed cheaper in terms of cost (commuting and meals) and time when students discuss via social media like twitter than purpose to converge at the university. In any case, social platforms are the in thing today and no one can afford to ignore them. Besides, how many times do people miss lectures because of adversaries of weather like heavy rainfall especially if you do not own a logbook? Looking at student leadership positions in view of enriching your resume for ultimate job interviews, it is common knowledge that employers are more fascinated by leadership positions held at an equal capacity rather than just positions. Therefore, a student pursuing an online degree at CSU and working in a relevant field simultaneously will be an obvious nemesis come job interview. Besides, this capacity to work and learn has helped many students circumvent the problem of lack of school fees.
Moreover, insofar as juggling classes and work may be challenging, financial constraints are a common denominator to many students taking degree programs. Ironically, even those attending regular classes at times have to contend with taking night jobs and still attend classes during the day however tired one is. The fact that online classes at CSU allow students flexibility in choosing study times is thus an unchallenged advantage because one can reschedule a class if it is impractical to ‘attend’ the session. Furthermore, the flexibility is extended to taking examinations: unlike in regular classes where examination time cannot be rescheduled just because of one person; online learning at CSU gives the student a chance to reschedule examinations albeit within a stipulated duration.
In conclusion, it suffices to say that online classes at CSU has indeed revolutinalized education far beyond USA boundaries. The benefits of flexibility, lower cost, and convenience in the face of preserved quality of education are the driving forces for CSU’s online classes program. Conceivably, CSU is bound to surpass its own goals on promoting higher education, significantly help increase the number of professionals, and reduce poverty in a domino effect.