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Home > Education
Education Online

What do Jehangir, a senior executive in a banking firm, and Meenakshi, a housewife have in common? Both are graduates and want to study further, but cannot find time. Jehangir travels 20 days a month and Meenakshi has a tough time with her kids. Both of them satisfy their hunger for knowledge and further education, using the Internet.

Welcome to the world of Online Education.

In a typical education set-up, there is a teacher, a student and the medium of communication. In distance education, written notes are sent via the medium of postal services. Online education uses the Internet as a medium of transferring education. The courseware is sent to the student viz. e-mail or the student logs on to his classroom on the Internet to attend the study sessions. The sessions can be accessed at the convenience of the student and hence do away with the limitations of time and place. This makes online education a boon for those constantly running against time.

Two-way interactions are provided by the means of various discussions for. A student puts in his ideas and other students can comment/give their opinion on it similar to a newsgroup where the user can enter a discussion at any time.

Studying online: The Pros....

One of the major benefits of online education is that you can log on from any part of the world and still attend classes. This translates into massive advantages for professionals, who need not go on leave for a couple of years to fulfill their educational interests or requirements. Also, the group of students and faculty that a student of an online school is in touch with is very large in comparison with traditional forms of education. Not only do students interacting with other students from different parts of the world. But they get an insight into different languages, economies and lifestyles. Thus the benefit in terms of overall knowledge is much more.

Moreover, like Meenakshi or Jehangir, age and sex do not play a role influencing admission.

And the Cons....

Teaching experts insist that the personal bonding between a teacher and student play a vital role in the growth process of the student. This is missing in online education. The interaction between the teacher and the student is only via e-mail or discussion for. They hardly (or never) get to see or meet each other in person.

Another issue that has dogged this form of education has been the payment of fees and authenticity of online examinations conducted by the university or the institutions concerned. However, the acceptance of the results of these examinations would require a change in mindset of the employers.

How well will it educate?

While online education provides the convenience of anytime-anywhere learning, education experts are still debating on the effectiveness of this system.

Most programmes are not meant to replace the traditional form of education, online MBA and MCA courses could be a few expectations. The Indira Gandhi Open University, New Delhi offers its Master in Computer Application degree online. On the other hand, NIIT's Netvarsity offers modular courses in computer-related topics.

Interestingly, when computer based training packages was introduced into the market more than 15 years ago, they faced a lot of skepticism from educationists.

The typical method of providing information is making it available in one place, neatly classified and well archived. All a user needs to do is pick up whatever he thinks is important to him. The disadvantage of this is that the user tends to get lost in the sea of random information.

Another method is to hold virtual classrooms on the Internet, with a user-friendly interference resembling an actual college campus, with a classroom, cafe, lounge library and so on. This model is supposed to make the student feel more at home within the Webster and makes learning interesting. Also, the student need not log on at specific times- the University is open around the clock and the classes are held at regular intervals. The student can select the time slot for his class and attend accordingly! What are more you still have the option to bunk classes!

With the proliferation of the Internet in the country, the potential student community will give online education, and the merits it brings the nod.

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