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Article: Direct Education Yields Interactive Experience


By Marianne Salina
January 31, 2006
Online Education Degrees Contributor


Do you learn better by doing? Do you wish you could attend classes that allow you visualize and experience the material? Students everywhere are seeking the online classroom for a more individualized learning experience. Learn more about what direct learning has to offer.

When we begin exploring the world through the education system, teachers and administrators stress the importance of a hands-on learning experience. Math lessons are aided with the use of colorful, tangible objects such as M&M's or stackable blocks-teaching students to visualize and explore the concept of numbers rather than merely comprehend addition and subtraction. Learning is a process seeing, touching, and responding to what it is we are being taught. This certainly isn't a new pedagogical discovery; rather, it underscores the significance of the newest and most efficient strategies for educating. What, you may ask, are the latest educational modalities? Technology has afforded students, young and old, the opportunity to learn without the constraints of time or location through direct education. With the world's greatest information resource as a primary tool, students are utilizing the Internet and the network of academic institutions to access an educational panorama with no strings attached.

How Does Online Education Work?

Online education utilizes many of the same resources that traditional colleges and universities implement, only the format occurs over the Internet. Students pursuing their online graduate degree can choose from many of the same colleges that traditional students attend, with 65% of these schools offering online degrees. Once you're a registered student, you can generally anticipate these characteristics in your online course:

  • Traditional colleges with online degree programs usually adhere to a quarter or semester system. While you can set your own schedule, anticipate a time frame of at least 6 to 8 weeks for course completion.
  • Emails and interactive discussions are the primary form of communication. You will need to adjust to posing your questions, thoughts, or concerns in an online format. Frequent communication keeps you connected!
  • Assignments, discussions, and a professor's lectures are posted on the Web. Online students should feel very comfortable with computers and will need proper browser capabilities.
Is an Online Degree Meaningful?

Many academics and course administrators have discussed the relevance and overall effectiveness of an online education and most agree that the results are promising. The success of any educational pursuit is contingent upon the student's level of commitment and work ethic throughout a course of study. This said, for students who are self-determined and require minimal outside encouragement, direct education proves to be equally, if not more effective to traditional face-to-face learning.

Schools Go Digital

Colleges and universities are recognizing the trend towards digital learning and are heeding the growing interest among older or already-employed students. Online enrollment, according to a 2005 survey, increased from 1.98 million in 2003 to 2.5 million students in 2004, and most schools anticipate even greater numbers in the coming years. According to chief academic officers, students respond well to online programs because the high expectations and challenging coursework are the same, but with the freedom and mobility that make learning more accessible. The "hands-on" approach is also anytime, anywhere, and for anyone. The only remaining question: Is it right for you?

Sources:
  • "Being Digitally Educated, Dewey, Technology, and Distance Learning" By Michael Brint, http://enhanced-learning.org/prox/paper1.htm
  • "Guide to Online Degree Programs", 2002-2006 All Star Directories, Inc. http://www.allonlineschools.com/faqs/online-qa/
  • "Growing By Degrees: Online Education in the United States, 2005", The Sloan Consortium, http://www.sloan-c.org/resources/survey.asp
About the Author:
Marianne Salina is a freelance writer in Spokane, Washington. She writes about pursuits in education and degree opportunities.