For centuries, human beings have looking for a way to get knowledge in a quicker and in a more relaxed setting apart from the traditional forms of student and teachers interacting in a classroom setting (Bender, 2005). This came to become a reality after the invention of the internet nearly over 10 years ago (Bender, 2005). The spread and use of internet changed a lot in the education sector (Postman, 2006). It is up to recent that people have started appreciating the role of online courses in their day to day lives (Bender, 2005). In the past, people used to believe that it is a must for someone to go to school, and have a one on one interaction with a given teacher, in order for knowledge to be acquired (Sean, 2011). With the emergence of internet, a lot of information has been availed to millions of people in the world at the click of their fingers (Bender, 2005). Hence, online courses took advantage of such situations in order to cater for the needs of people who wanted to acquire knowledge without going to those institutions to attend physical classroom sessions (Sean, 2011). Nowadays, many people have come to appreciate the internet and its benefits and started to appreciate the role online courses played in their lives to enhance education (Postman, 2006). It is estimated, that back then in 2010, nearly over 6 million students in the world had been registered for online courses. There has always been some opposition regarding on line courses on the claim that they are not serious, but that is not the case this days (Sean, 2011). Usually, on line courses are often designed to be identical to that which occurs on the given campus, only that the delivery method is via the internet. The purpose of this paper will hence explain the impact online courses on education (MBA), which includes its ability to save on cost of education, convenience, provision of technical knowledge, and reduced tutor student interaction.
Online courses have managed to revolutionize the learning process by making it cheap and affordable. The very essence of technology is to become efficient from the older ways of doing things (John & Bourne, 2005). Take for instance an online course in Masters in Business in the University of Liverpool costs less when compared to the same course offered in that university. In breaking down the cost of education while in campus entails so many things, for instance, one would require to pay a much higher fees structure than that of an online course simply because some of the money is used in developing and expanding the institution (Sean, 2011). In addition, institutions sometimes use tuition money to pay some of their lecturers and staff. Since a real campus is a business environment that constantly has to be run, expenses of staying and schooling on a daily basis on such institutions are often higher (John & Bourne, 2005). Furthermore, students are often required to look for their own accommodation in or outside campus, hence overburdening their parents (Bender, 2005). Unlike attending real classes in campus, on line courses tend to save cost. First of all, one can comfortably attend online classes from his or her own house (Bender, 2005). A person attending a master in Business Administration online classes will spend less compared to another person that attends physical classes in a given campus (Bender, 2005). According to a research by John & Bourne (2005) on 100 students undertaking online courses and comparing it to 100 students taking classes ordinarily, he came to a conclusion that students who received online education received quality education at their paid fees as compared to those on normal classes. He argued that in as much as education is a stressful and tiresome experience, students that attended real classes had too much stress that interfered with the learning process (John & Bourne, 2007). A research conducted on Adults who have children for instance would save between $300 to over $ 900 a months by using on line classes. Costs are able to be saved in term of limiting transportation costs, cost of buying foods while in campus, cost of paying for parking spaces and tickets (Sean, 2011). Hence in doing online courses, one is always left with a lot of disposable income to do other resourceful activities.
Another impact brought by online courses to education is convenience. For one to enter a virtual class, does not require the rush of keeping on time as it is required when attending classes in real classes (Postman, 2006). A person is expected to enter for the virtual classes at any time of the day or night and do his or her session, unlike real classes that have specific times and dates. Students that come from far usually find it inconvenient attending such classes as it entails forfeiting a lot of things just to make it in time for the given classes. This is not the case for online courses that offer classes convenient for the needs and respect the time for the given student (Postman, 2006). This implies that a student who attends an online class is more relaxed and at ease to enable faster understanding of leaned concepts compared to students attending real classes. Hence online courses provide a given student opportunity to plan for other activities so that they may not interfere or clash with his or her classes. Hence attending an online class is not a rushed decision like that of students attending real classes (Heilman, 2007). Usually, class attendance in real classes is sometimes what takes some students to attend some classes, but in online classes, one is destined to learn the art of self-discipline (Postman, 2006). It is expected that adults are self-reliant and independent human beings. Another reason why it is convenient is because the learning process in online classes can occur at one’s own house instead of moving from place to place. In addition, the time spent on learning process is reduced when undertaking online classes as compared to taking a real degree in a given campus (Heilman, 2007). A standard course usually takes 3 to 4 years to complete, but on the other hand, online courses usually take less than a year to complete. All in all, students that attend online classes do it in a relaxed state as opposed to attending real classes which at times might be stressful (Amarin, 2007). In a statement by Amarin (2007) regarding online learning, this is what he had to say, “Online courses are really cheap.”
Another impact brought by online courses on education is the acquisition of technical knowledge in the virtual context. Take for instance, an online course in Master in Business Administration (Bender, 2005). Usually, such courses in normal real classes involve just attending classes and understanding the various concepts involved in business administration. Such classes do not have practical sessions like health courses like medicine or even Law (Heilman, 2007). Students here are able to acquire knowledge by themselves through reading through organized resource material provided in the online courses, which in most cases remains in line with courses offered in campus, hence creating no difference (Amarin, 2007). Furthermore, online courses provide a better interface for students as they are able to learn in a more relaxed environment plus even further their research through the internet search engines (Bender, 2005). Many researchers conducted on knowledge acquisition found out that those students that used visual aids like computers and internet had a better understanding of technical aspects in academics compared to those who sat in boring classes for over a year (Bender, 2005).
Online courses usually reduce on student-teacher interaction, which has been the basis for the old system of teaching (Amarin, 2007). This is a disadvantage on the side of online classes. According to the founders of the philosophies that underlie education like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato, knowledge acquisition was supposed to emanate from a teacher to a pupil through daily interaction (Bender, 2005). In the olden days, knowledge used to be acquired through apprenticeship that means, students were expected to walk and learn the ways of an experienced person in a given field by constantly seeing and appreciating whatever he or she is doing (Amarin, 2007). It is this concept that was narrowed down to physical classes containing teachers and students. Hence, in an online class, the relationship between student and teacher is lost (Amarin, 2007). From another perspective, since online courses for instance in Masters in Business Administration, is more so directed towards responsible adults capable of carrying out personal readings on their own, one could argue that teacher-students interaction at some point is not necessary for learning process to continue (Bender, 2005).
In conclusion, it is evident that online learning has enabled students to save money, enhanced the convenience of learning, improved on acquisition of technical knowledge and minimized on student teacher interaction (Bender, 2005). Online courses are usually cheaper and take less time when compared to real classes in campuses (Amarin, 2007). Furthermore, technical knowledge acquisition in courses that do not require practical sessions are preferred to be acquired via online means as they provide a more friendly and relaxed environment to read (Bender, 2005). According to Bender (2005), the quality of education achieved from online courses is much superior to that achieved in classrooms. On the downside of online course, the student teacher interaction is usually reduced in such cases. In real classes, the interaction between students and teachers is important in ensuring students clarify in areas where they are stuck. In online classes, it is usually hard to get clarifications done. In summary, one can conclude that online courses have positively impacted on education (Amarin, 2007).
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