Showing posts with label online education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online education. Show all posts

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Online Learning Has Earned its Permanent Place in Higher Education

Online learning is now a permanent part of higher education and will continue to expand its market. The ease and convenience of online education is changing the face of colleges across the country. As a modality of learning, it allows students to connect to their class and professor at times that are more convenient for them.

Traditional education is face-to-face and requires the student to be present in order learn. This leaves out many people who balance families and careers. Besides, those who live in rural areas, or out of a university’s geographical area, will be cut off from higher education.

A selection process not based on actual skill or ability is bad news for the economy. Employers require highly skilled employees who continually update their knowledge to stay competitive with the market. Those who are most likely to capitalize on higher education are left out of the mix.

Online education will likely continue to grow and become a standard, possibly superseding tradition modalities, as a delivery channel for teaching and learning. Professors and students are becoming familiar with online education and are likely to adopt more of it in the future, (Mbuva, 2014).

There is also an additional cost benefit. State budgets are getting squeezed and colleges are running in the red. Online education may continue to become a popular method of reducing campus costs and lowering overall operating costs.

Universities will continue to look toward for-profit, online models, to cut costs; even if they continue to lobby against competitive higher education ideologies. They don’t really have much of a choice. Most avenues of increasing wealth have dried up and cutting heavily will lower the quality of programs.

Virtual classrooms lower costs and expand a university's customer base. Land based colleges will maintain their prestige but will need to augment with hybrid, and/or fully online programs. They will seek to expand their offerings to support a growing need for higher education.

Online education is here to stay and it will continue to be adopted by institutions. It reduces costs and fits the needs of students. Professors and students are becoming accustomed to the online process and will seek its convenience in selecting future programs. As market factors adjust, online education may find itself a hot commodity.

Mbuva, J. (2014). Online education: progress and prospects.   Journal of Business & Educational Leadership, 5 (1).

Friday, April 10, 2015

Online Education Encourages Stronger Scholarship Cultures

One of the greatest advantages of traditional education is its ability to create knowledge based cultures through face-to-face communication.  It is believed that on-campus social interaction creates norms, values, and expectations that lead people to higher forms of scholarship.  This is not always the case when negative cultural influences restrict the ability of students to be successful.  New research shows that online courses help to enhance the scholastic nature of colleges by countering some of the destructive norms in society that limit intellectual growth.

When people interact and socialize with each other they create social expectations that can either lead to more scholastic behavior or lessen that behavior. For example, cultural norms can encourage greater research and knowledge sharing or it can socially restrict the transference of knowledge. When negative cultures are developed in face-to-face environments they can be extremely difficult to reverse. Online education offers the opportunity to create egalitarian learning networks not based in preconceived notions.

A paper in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning discusses how online education with Saudi Arabia female college students not only enhanced their learning but also encouraged positive pro-learning environments (Hamdan, 2014). Online education offers an opportunity for socially restricted individuals to own their education and contribute to their respective bodies of knowledge in a meaningful way.

This issue is not restricted to Saudi Arabia alone and can impact American students as well. Consider how cultural norms may subtly restrict minority students from speaking up in class, become highly educated, or contribute to scientific discovery in a meaningful way. The process of exclusion can occur between genders, in/out groups, people who are different, those who have higher intelligence, minorities and social class.

Online education creates an environment where people can speak freely without all of the subtle cues that leave some with the impression their opinion isn’t worth as much as others. Because of the nature of posting to other students, a natural activity among the younger generation, negative social norms don’t hold as much sway. Professors and students may be completely unaware of the race, religion, gender, or status of the other people in the class unless they self-reveal.

Where people may be naturally dissuaded from engaging in class activities in one setting may actually find themselves thriving in an online environment where they start on equal footing with others. Classmates know students by what they think and post versus their social status. The process of bringing forward various opinions into collaborative learning environments raises the transference of knowledge and the potential for scholarship.

Hamdan, A. (2014). The reciprocal and correlative relationship between learning culture and online education: a case from Saudi Arabia. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15 (1).

Monday, March 30, 2015

Why Industry Experts Won't Turn Their Back on Online Education?

Professionals wont turn their back on online doctorates because it provides them one of the only feasible ways to obtain a terminal degree. People with decades of experience don’t often go back to get a doctorate because of the years of time and investment that would pull them away from their business duties. Online doctoral education can marry professional experience and theory in ways that would be difficult for traditional schools to fulfill.
Online doctoral education has four purposes (Radda & Mandernach, 2013).:
1.      Prepare the doctoral community to develop knowledge and skills for the 21st century.
2.      Capture the collective intelligences and knowledge of individuals.
3.      Deepen scholarship and practical application of that scholarship.
4.      To further the interests of scholar-practitioners.

Online education has come a long way over the past 20 years and research has shown that the modality is growing in terms of benefits and effectiveness. One of the reasons why traditional colleges are adopting the model is because of cost and reach. With online education they can draw in additional learners that would previously been unable to go back to school.

We should think about all the experience out there hidden in the boardrooms and office. Many of these people would offer valuable knowledge to both academic and fellow industry stakeholders. Getting them into a doctoral program not only helps to grow their businesses but also ensure that their knowledge can be applied by others.

One of the main purposes of higher education is to grow and expand knowledge in a way that furthers the interest of societal stakeholders. Sometimes theory is developed that is difficult to implement for practical use in business. People with knowledge from industry have a better shot at developing theory that has immediate application to industry stakeholders that furthers economic growth.

Developing useful theory has a wider benefit to the business community and society. As better theory is produced and more quickly implemented into business practices the economic fundamentals of society strengthen leading to higher levels of adaptation and development. Seasoned business executives won’t turn their back on online education because they understand that quality of learning and usefulness of solutions are more important than the name of the school.

Radda, H. & Mandernach, B. (2013). Doctoral education online: challenging the paradigm. Journal of Education Technology, 9 (3).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

8 Ways Online Education will Help Balance University Budgets

A sound college degree is expensive and the cost of managing universities is continuing to put pressure on stretched state budgets. Online education entered the market in the past few decades and is disrupting the traditional system. Despite this feather ruffling it also will bring a few new things that may help both universities and states become more cost effective.

The legal design of the institution (for or non-profit) is less important than the actual quality of education provided. To that end, traditional land based universities have come grudgingly to accept the merits of online education in both terms of cost and learning quality. Online education will change the cost structures of universities (Cowen & Tabarrok, 2014):

  1. Using the best professor and content creators to teach more students.
  2. Save time with less repetition and commuting costs.
  3. Flexibility in when and how lectures are viewed.
  4. Greater productivity improvements as software substitutes labor.
  5. Additional incentives to invest in quality as market increases.
  6. Stronger feedback through adaptive systems.
  7. Greater student measurements.
  8. Reduce cost and increase quality of higher education through enhancing productivity.

Online education is here to stay and will continue to grow and develop over the years. It will provide a number of benefits for universities whose administrative and cost burdens are high. By focusing on high quality online quality learning, universities will be able to find higher economies of scale and greater reach for their educational benefits.

Cowen, T. & Tabarrok, A. (2014). The industrial organization of online education. American Economic Review, 104 (5).

Monday, March 9, 2015

Why do People Enroll in Online Education?

All students have hopes, goals, dreams and desires; some are more realistic than others. Each is limited in their available time and resources to make those dreams a reality. Higher education affords the opportunity for people to achieve parts of their dreams and find ways of moving up the social ladder. Unfortunately, life has many different types of roadblocks people must navigate to achieve their goals. According to a study in the Journal of Educators the students who choose online education do so for scheduling purposes (Fontenot, et. al., 2015).

Many of today's students are older than those of the past and the ever changing market requires them to be adjustable while continually learning new ideas and concepts. That new knowledge can come from informal and formal sources. Education is one of those formal educational processes that leads to a degree that can be used to apply for job openings.

People don't always go to college right out of high school nor do they have the resources to focus only on their education. Some people will graduate from college early and go back to college at a later date to receive a master's degree or some other degree that helps them stay on top of their fields. The fluid nature of the market makes it difficult for people to keep updated.

Online education is one way to go to school while not giving up on traditional responsibilities. Some people have work responsibilities while others may have family responsibilities. Juggling these responsibilities is difficult at best. Trying to further education in a ground based system may be near impossible for many people and could limit their potential contributions to society.

Based upon a survey of 165 students it was found that students who choose to take online courses do so because of timing and scheduling; they enjoyed the flexibility and convenience of online education. A mitigating factor was perception of quality.  Students who perceived online education as a valuable quality proposition will be more inclined to go online.

The study helps us understand that as the real and perceived quality of education rises and people become more familiar with online education there will likely be a higher percentage of society taking online courses. As traditional universities, and existing online universities, improve their offerings they will attract motivated students who feel that the quality and convenience of their education affords them new options. For a generation growing up with more familiarity of technology online education will seem to be a natural fit.

Fontenot, R. et. al. (2015) Predictors of enrolling in online courses: an exploratory study of students in undergraduate marketing courses. Journal of Educators, 12 (1).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Readiness Characteristics of Successful Online Students

Online education is now a popular educational medium and online students have certain characteristics that set them apart from traditional students. Academic achievement and student satisfaction during online programs can be a major predictor of student retention and success. A study in the Turkish Online Journal of Education Technology helps highlight five factors of readiness that predict online student success (Kirmizi, 2015).

  1. Computer/Internet Self-Efficacy: The ability to be confident in the use of computers and the internet. Students that use the Internet on a regular basis will feel more confident in online courses when compared to non-computer users.
  2. Self-Directed Learning: Those students that enjoy learning, reading, and managing their own learning process are more likely to be successful in online education programs.
  3. Learner Control: Those students that desire more control over their educational experience, time, and curriculum will enjoy online education more.
  4. Motivation & Learning: Students that are successful in online education have higher levels of motivation and feel an intrinsic appreciation of education.
  5. Online Communication Self-Efficacy: Students that are strong with virtual forms of communication, forums, messaging, posting, replying, etc… will have an easier time with online education.

Online education isn’t for everyone and certain types of people are more likely to excel than others. Motivation is a key component of the strong online student. Successful online students will seek out opportunities to have more input in the educational process and control how their work gets done. Online education attracts those who seek more educational freedom.

Before students enter into an online program a level of readiness is needed to ensure they will maintain persistence throughout the entire program and not drop out. Students with poor motivation and low technology skills are at risk of giving up faster than other students. The same low levels of ability and motivation may impact their lives in other ways beyond higher education.

The report doesn’t move into this aspect but one must wonder if assessing or providing a short survey of student’s technological familiarity and personal motivation will be helpful in gauging whether or not students will be successful in an online program. Technology skills may require a pre-requisite course but motivation is part of a life-long learning process. Successful students will naturally have certain characteristics that set them apart from traditional students.

Kirmizi, O. (2015). The influence of learner readiness on student satisfaction and academic achievement in an online program at higher education. Turkish Online Journal of Education Technology, 14 (1).

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Has the Internet Spawned a New Generation of Professors?

The Internet is rapidly changing the nature of professorship and offers a whole new academic lifestyle. With the growth in virtual education, and the slow but steady adoption of online coursework by "traditional" universities, the creation of a new type of professor becomes apparent. Virtual professors live in a world where multiple responsibilities are balanced by integrating technology into their lifestyles. The new age of technology has spawned a new type of professor.

To be a strong virtual professor requires high technology and high pedagogic knowledge of the subject matter (McAnally-Salas, Lavigne, & De Vega, 2010). Low technology skills and high pedagogic knowledge didn’t work well as professors couldn’t share or express their knowledge. Likewise, high technology and low pedagogic knowledge limited depth of explanation. Both technology and knowledge must blend together to create effectiveness. 

Online professors don’t have the same level of wiggle room than traditional professors and must navigate an environment that is more concise. As professor’s online knowledge increased it was found that they were more exact, shifted toward the Socratic Method, and created multilogues with students (Coppola, Hiltz, & Rotter, 2002). The very structure of online courses changed the core abilities and competencies of professors to be more finite.

Online professors are very good at task management as their work becomes integrated with their lifestyle. Some may be checking class postings on their cell phones while waiting at the grocery store and others could be sitting in a coffee shop spending an hour correcting papers. The life of an online professor affords more flexibility throughout the day but requires a higher level of self-motivation and commitment.

All of this integration between technology and life generally means a person could be working longer into the evening even though the intensity of that work may be less. With blurred home-work boundaries it may seem as though they are more likely to experience stress and burn out. According to a study of virtual academics online professors are less likely to get burned out than their traditional colleagues (McCann & Holt, 2009).

The nature of today's academic is changing with the times. Virtual professors will have more flexibility with their time as classes are 24/7 asynchronous but also must check into their classes on a regular basis. They will be conducting research at different times of the day and evening while still grading papers. The lifestyle of the new professor is one that requires a new way of looking at occupation and work. There is a blend of life and purpose other occupations may not offer and has spawned a whole new way of educating students. 

Coppola, N., Hiltz, S. & Rotter, N. (2002). Becoming a virtual professor: pedagogical roles and asynchronous learning networks. Journal of Management Information Systems, 18 (4). 

McAnally-Salas, L., Lavigne, G. & De Vega, C. (2010). Online course instructional design from the professors’ pedagogic knowledge and technology skills. Problems of Education in the 21st Centure, 19.

McCann, J. & Holt, R. (2009). An exploration of burnout among online university professors. Journal of Distance Education, 23 (3).