Saturday, March 10, 2012

Correcting the Problems of Online Education

By Sean Scarpiello

In the recent article, “Udacity: A New Type of Education,” there was a lot of discussion on both the pros and cons of this new type of online education. Online education is quickly rising in popularity for its low cost. This means more and more education professionals are entering this field... As the head of the Udacity project, Sebastian Thrun, is beginning to enroll more students into more classes, he is addressing the problems of Udacity and finding new and innovative ways to fix them.

The first major problem Thrun is fixing is Udacity’s ability to give credit to students who pass the class. At the moment, students can take this college level class, complete all of the work and assignment, yet not receive any credit for all of their hard work. Since Udacity is not technically an accredited university, at the moment, degrees for classes cannot be given to students. Udacity is fixing this flaw by acting almost like a recruiting agency for companies to help their students get jobs. For example, if a company is in need of an employee with certain credentials, Udacity will give the company a list of students in the area who are qualified in certain fields and have passed Udacity’s classes. This is a great way to solve the accreditation problem because students are taking the Udacity classes to improve their knowledge at the workplace and to get better jobs in general.

One other problem that Udacity is fixing in their future classes is the social aspects of learning. Large class sizes, especially large class sizes online, can lead to the lack of student to student and student to teacher interaction. This needs to be addressed because students can learn a lot by asking other students and the professor questions. Udacity’s plan is to have interactive office hours for students. This acts as a time for students to ask the professor questions about the course and any problem they have had with the course material. Also, discussion forums will be set up online for students to interact with each other Here, students can ask each other questions, share opinions, and decide which topics the class should review with the professor.

Overall, there is a general rise in the popularity in online education. Many different universities and education professionals are beginning to start online education programs. There is a high demand in this field but as online education becomes more and more developed, only the best online programs will survive. Udacity is a pioneer in this field is well on its way to becoming successful. These new improvements to the curriculum are setting Udacity up above the rest of the programs. Ultimately, this rush to online education will lead to an entirely new form of education altogether where more students are being educated at lower costs.


1 comment:

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