Today, we could learn anywhere, anytime without physically being in a classroom, thanks to the rising trend of online courses that are taking over traditional education activities. The convenience and flexibility of online learning platform has changed the way of learning, with the support of experienced tutors and proper certification.
There is the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), an online course forum aimed at engaging unlimited participation and providing open access via the web, allowing user forums to support interactions among students, professors and teaching assistants. MOOCs are a widely researched development in distance education which were first introduced in 2006 by Stanford University with “Stanford Online” and emerged as a popular way of learning in 2012.
Online course is able to tackle the distance barrier which can make education and knowledge more accessible just like what the Internet does for our lives today. It eliminates all barriers and borders as students around the world could meet and discuss about the lessons in group chats and teleconference forums.
Online course also makes education more flexible by customising each person’s schedule. In some ways, online learning compels people to become independent learners and good managers of their time. It also allows people from different backgrounds and locations to mutually embark on the learning journey.
In 2018, Udemy.com was introduced in Indonesia where people could join online courses with more than 65,000 class, featuring on-demand videos and certificates upon completion. Like other commercial online courses such as Coursera and Udacity, people could pay per course, beginning from introduction to conclusion.
There are also online courses that are free of charge, such as the ones offered by Khan Academy and edX.com, where universities would open their classes online for free, only to charge a certain fee for issuing certificates of completion. edX alone has 100 chartered universities and companies with big names that include Harvard University and Microsoft.
The era of online course heralds a new way of learning and adds value to conventional education in the classroom. Online course also triggers the transformation of pedagogy as the class becomes the source of innovation for both the students and the teachers, who are urged to always come with creative new concepts and teaching methods
Masterclass.com is another trailblazer in the realm of online learning, where people get the opportunity to learn certain skills from industry experts such as Academy Awards-winning film director Martin Scorsese, R&B star Usher, culinary moguls Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay, and Golden State Warrior Point Guard Stephen Curry. Notable universities such as Stanford University and Princeton University have also participated in open online courses.
According to the report “Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States” (2016) by Babson Survey Research Group, the growth in distance learning has reached 5.6 per cent increase in enrolment, exceeding the gains seen over the past three years. About 31.6 percent of all students, numbering some 6,359,121 students, now take at least one distance education course, while three million others exclusively take distance course.
The trend continues to move upward. Take a look at the significant increase of Coursera users which in 2018 has reached 25 million learners.
To answer scepticism among some education specialists about whether online learning has tangible benefits for the students, course providers are continuing to improve the quality of their classes by providing better-planned modules and syllabi, as well as live tutorials and discussions.
Early MOOCs often emphasised open-access features, such as open licensing of content, structure and learning goals, to promote the reuse and remixing of resources. Some later MOOCs use closed licenses for their course materials while maintaining free access for students.
Degrees and certificates that are achieved after completing an online course or graduating from an online degree are equally acknowledged by universities and employers, which also open the possibility to transfer the credits.
New way of learning and teaching
The era of online course heralds a new way of learning and adds value to conventional education in the classroom. Online course also triggers the transformation of pedagogy as the class becomes the source of innovation for both the students and the teachers, who are urged to always come with creative new concepts and teaching methods.
Short from changing conventional education, online learning serves a complementary function to advance one’s career and improve their technical skills.
On the other hand, practical classes that require hands-on training remain a weak spot for online learning. As a solution to this problem, specific classes – such as photography and music – have been offered using teleconferences, mini exhibitions, video and online showcases. It’s akin to watching tutorials on Youtube, but in a more structured, academic way.
Whatever the end goal, online learning may provide a solution for many seeking better knowledge, career improvement or simply enlightened perspectives.
This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine March 2018 issue “Design for Living”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.