Is Online Education as Effective as Land-Based Education? Essay

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Online Education vs. Land-Based Education

The Best of Both Online Education Alone and in Combination With Land-Based Education

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As the economy begins to turn sour, many are relying on education as a way to get ahead. People want to learn a new skill or get some new training in relation to an old skill in order to be more versatile. Online education is one way in which more and more people are gaining access to education. Online education makes it possible for those who do not live close to a university or who work too many hours to attend a university or college to receive higher education. But is the higher education received by those online the same as the education that those who attend classes on campus receive? Some would say no. In fact, many students at schools that offer both online and on-campus degrees demand that the degrees specify which school the student attended. In order to answer this question, though, one needs to understand what good education is. Because higher education not only aims to teach a skill but also a way of thinking and reasoning that transcend subject barriers, good education for those at higher levels can be difficult to define. Nevertheless, it is clear that good higher education must be composed of skilled teachers and lecturers, opportunities for discourse, and tasks that stretch students' abilities to think and reason. These characteristics are necessary for adequate higher education as they emphasize the critical reasoning and thinking skills necessary not only to succeed in the professional world, but also to make wise decisions professionally, personally, and academically. Because online education allows for the successful achievement of these criteria, online education is as effective, and some may argue more effective, than land education.

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In terms of skilled instructors, online education presents an opportunity for the fulfillment of this criterion. Many universities that offer land-based education also offer online education, and they employ the same teachers that teach land-based classes in the teaching of their online classes. These universities include those as prestigious as state universities and even Ivy League universities. For instance, Harvard University offers online education through the Harvard Extension School. Lectures in this program are offered via videos online, and the professors are actual Harvard lecturers. Furthermore, the requirements for university teaching are constantly teaching. Now, most universities require teachers to hold a master's degree, even teachers who instruct only online courses. For example, the well-known Phoenix University requires teachers to hold a master's. Some may argue that the quality of teacher cannot be as high as in land-based education, though, because teachers who instruct online are not as motivated or excited as teachers who get the benefit of the classroom environment. This is not true, as teachers may be able to respond easier to students individually through online discussion forums. In addition, because many land universities allow graduate assistants and other teachers without master's degrees to teach classes, some may even argue that online education provides better instructors in some cases.

In addition to teachers, however, part of the college experience is discussion, or learning to bounce ideas off of not only the teacher, but also one's peers. This is an important feature of online education because it allows students to ask questions and make statements regarding the ideas posed by other students. Together, this discourse teaches students the importance of working together to solve problems and pose questions. In the classroom, this type of discourse is usually facilitated through discussion. Professors may pose questions or introduce subjects, and students… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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