When we talk about today’s world, distance education and online learning seem to appear very familiar. However, there are still billions of students from more than 100 countries for whom these terms appear to be very extraordinary.
Term Ivy League(Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University) represents all the elite universities from across the US, Canada, UK, India, China, etc. Nowadays, these universities are offering their courses online at discounted rates or even free of cost in some situations. This step taken by these universities shows well how online learning is emerging as one of the most vital sources of education.
As per the current scenario, these Ivy League universities are offering many courses free of cost, hence every single student from all over the world who was aware of this opportunity was in a rush to get an Ivy League education at an absolute zero fee. This was a huge attraction for all students all over the world. Many people termed this as the beginning of the revolution in education.
History of free online university education
Nearly a decade ago, the idea of providing free education over the internet emerged with the sharing of video lectures without any assignments and deadlines. After a few years, that idea was transformed into a free sharing of educational resources. Being initiated by the University of Tubingen in Germany, this practice spread over to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT), who then created OpenCourseWare (OCW). Today, we can find lecture notes, assignments, and projects on over 5000 courses. Soon this was implemented by other Ivy League universities such as Harvard University and Stanford University. These universities are also now providing free online access to hundreds of their courses and materials.
However, instead of getting such an early start, online education was still not able to replace the old traditional education system. At that time, one of the major reasons for this decline was the lack of financial support, due to the economic decline of 2008. Sooner, online learning started to revolutionize the learning process, as being a part of having free online learning and free access to lecture and notes, etc. students who were studying from home or from were now able to feel like a real student who associated with the university with almost all the activities. Moreover, students were now able to study at the time of their own choice, online learning provided them more advantages such as ease of access, customized learning, flexible study hours.
The online learning model offered now sounds like: “Hi! We have an awesome opportunity for you. Do you like it? Enroll now!”. This recent development in the area of distance education is called Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), having its main attributes appear like a short term, but large-scale participation and open access via the web.
Today, there are hundreds of online platforms that are offering millions of online courses and training on every single subject, even on subjects that may not be available in one’s country.
Examples: Coursera, Edx, Udacity, Udemy, etc.
Regardless of the availability of distance learning courses including online learning, these courses need to be studied according to their educational procedure methods.
Hence, having the whole world as your classmate will surely serve only as a benefit. Although, before enrolling in an online learning course, the learner should feel it necessary to do due diligence. Otherwise, they may be confused later and surely fall behind. These courses are best suited for self-driven students with a high motivation to learn. Further, researchers proved that not the old offline traditional learning nor the highly advanced online learning, but only blended learning will have the last laugh, where traditional learning will coexist with online learning.