The future of universities- Online education?

  • beaujangle

    Posts: 1701

    Sep 02, 2011 3:48 PM GMT
    To students (and professors): How much of online work do you do in your studies? Isn't it awfully boring, not to mention the sense of isolation? Isn't
    uni life about networking, especially if you're 18-22 years old?

    Where do you see the future of universities and colleges? I dread the day when all education is done online. It's so boring!

    Do you see that happening?
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    Sep 02, 2011 5:10 PM GMT
    I suppose that if on-line teaching methods can be demonstrated to work effectively, then they will eventually take over. However, it's hard to imagine anything that would replace the total immersion of actual full-time university attendance.

    Unfortunately, I've observed some troubling trends on campus that probably narrow the gap.

    Especially at junior colleges, more and more classes are taught by low-payed instructors who read canned lectures provided by the textbook publishers and hand out lame quizzes and exams, also provided by the publishers. This hardly seems superior to an on-line course.

    A few years ago, I attended a "design charrette" for a new classroom building. I tried to add some suggestions to make the teaching laboratories more flexible, and the dean said, "Oh, we're moving more toward computer simulations instead of wet labs." All I could think was "...then why the hell do you need a new building? Or even a campus?"

    And there's a commercial running on TV this week that gives me the willies. A smug model "student" sits in a lecture hall while his laptop takes notes by voice-recognition of the lecturer. The information isn't being processed by - or going anywhere near - the "student's" brain.

    It seems that there are a lot of experiments with learning technology going on, but nobody is keeping track of, or even much cares, whether they work.
  • smudgedude

    Posts: 260

    Sep 02, 2011 5:20 PM GMT
    only problem with online education is that people need to have that face-to-face interaction to learn. ultimately that is the quickest exchange of information. and it's immune to the glitches inherent in anything computer based.
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Sep 03, 2011 2:05 AM GMT
    I really doubt that education will move online fully. Maybe when we have holographic technology, it will be different.

    However, I would not be willing to do my full classes online, especially scientific laboratories, ethics/speech, and English. As was mentioned, students will not willing to give up the first chance to practice independence and the social interactions acquired in a semi-sheltered environment away from parents.

    In short, maybe the only classes I might be willing to do online the ones I could care less about- like business and accounting.

    During my whole 4 years of university, the only class I have taken online is Music Appreciation.

    Most of my classes did have online components, for example some classes had homework and lecture recordings and notes posted online.
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2605

    Sep 03, 2011 2:12 AM GMT
    I hope not.There`s so much more to university than mere lecture hall learning.That`s what I found going there.
    But I fear the principals,etc. will use that dreaded word 'efficient' in regard of this.
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    Sep 03, 2011 2:37 AM GMT
    It depends on your field, like anything else. Online Medical School or Engineering.... no way. Online Business Degree... perhaps.
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Sep 03, 2011 3:00 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    Brownale saidIt depends on your field, like anything else. Online Medical School or Engineering.... no way. Online Business Degree... perhaps.


    An undergraduate degree in medicine could be attained online. All that matters is that you are able to pass the exams in order to move along into medical school. If you were referring post graduate medical school then yes I am in agreement with you.

    I disagree. We had a lot of laboratories in undergrad. They can not be done online. if i wanted an MBA, I would do it online. Things like business and accounting and all those dealing with computer degrees can be done online however. I would shy away from doing classes that involve discussion such as English online as well. Doing a computer simulation of a chemical reaction or dissection is different and much less conducive to learning than in real time, physical work.
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Sep 03, 2011 3:09 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidWell, you might disagree with it but apparently it exists:

    http://www.universities.com/edu/Bachelor_degrees_in_PreMedicine_PreMedical_Studies.html

    Is this really online? Doing laboratories is useful in not only does it expose your to techniques in different areas and technology, but it teaches you patience and how to pay attention to detail. I think professional schools in medicine and podiatry require laboratories as well.

    Like you said, these online programs would be very feasible for those with families or primary careers seeking to gain more education.
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    Sep 03, 2011 3:14 AM GMT
    beaujangle saidWhere do you see the future of universities and colleges?
    I see them being obsolete.
    People who seek out knowledge can find it.
    Professors just tell people what knowledge the state wants them to know.

    In fact, that's the reason I never returned to college. I aced almost every course simply by searching google; and came to the realization that college wasn't necessary for my career path.
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Sep 03, 2011 3:18 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    beaujangle saidWhere do you see the future of universities and colleges?
    I see them being obsolete.
    People who seek out knowledge can find it.
    Professors just tell people what knowledge the state wants them to know.

    In fact, that's the reason I never returned to college. I aced almost every course simply by searching google; and came to the realization that college wasn't necessary for my career path.

    That is why you didn't need a college degree. No reason for universities to become obsolete.

    Universities and teaching arenas have been around for thousands of years. Again, areas dealing with science, mathematics, engineering, and technology can not work outside of physical work in traditional lab settings in physical universities.

    You will find that states and even universities can not limit most professors on what they choose to teach, provided they teach a set of skills students are expected to learn at the end.
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    Sep 03, 2011 3:22 AM GMT
    commoncoll said
    paulflexes said
    beaujangle saidWhere do you see the future of universities and colleges?
    I see them being obsolete.
    People who seek out knowledge can find it.
    Professors just tell people what knowledge the state wants them to know.

    In fact, that's the reason I never returned to college. I aced almost every course simply by searching google; and came to the realization that college wasn't necessary for my career path.

    That is why you didn't need a college degree. No reason for universities to become obsolete.

    Universities and teaching arenas have been around for thousands of years. Again, areas dealing with science, mathematics, engineering, and technology can not work outside of physical work in traditional lab settings in physical universities.

    You will find that states and even universities can not limit most professors on what they choose to teach, provided they teach a set of skills students are expected to learn at the end.
    You do have a point about those subjects.
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Sep 03, 2011 3:24 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    I found that doing a quick Google search. If anything, I would think that the majority of classes could be completed long distance and then the classes that you mentioned could have testing sites for people to demonstrate their actual skills in person. That happens quite a bit in long distance learning.

    There is no possible way for people to show passable expertise in scientific techniques without practice. That practice is not possible due to cost inhibition and lack of instructors at home. We used some expensive ass machines that cost upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    We did dissections and chemical and biological reaction in laboratories. You get good at them by doing them again and again.Even where there are specific amounts being used with good instruction anything that shouldn't happen, can and does. Then you need your instructor's help. This can not be done in homes. It can be unsuccessfully simulated online on computer programs, but it doesn't seem conducive to learning.

    Currently, in my class, we are dissecting. There are computer programs available that will show you every single thing we learn but in better condition. But somehow, these programs don't stick when you haven't spent fishing around in fat to find tiny structures.

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    Sep 03, 2011 3:45 AM GMT
    Not really. It was like that the first couple of years with homework because professors are too lazy to grade all the work but now it's all in class or in lab (Engineering). It'd be virtually impossible to gain functional knowledge of all this stuff just by reading about it online. icon_neutral.gif

    There are majors I can see that happening with but I can't see a future where an Engineering degree, an accredited one anyway, is done mostly online.
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    Sep 03, 2011 7:12 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    commoncoll said
    paulflexes said
    beaujangle saidWhere do you see the future of universities and colleges?
    I see them being obsolete.
    People who seek out knowledge can find it.
    Professors just tell people what knowledge the state wants them to know.

    In fact, that's the reason I never returned to college. I aced almost every course simply by searching google; and came to the realization that college wasn't necessary for my career path.

    That is why you didn't need a college degree. No reason for universities to become obsolete.

    Universities and teaching arenas have been around for thousands of years. Again, areas dealing with science, mathematics, engineering, and technology can not work outside of physical work in traditional lab settings in physical universities.

    You will find that states and even universities can not limit most professors on what they choose to teach, provided they teach a set of skills students are expected to learn at the end.
    You do have a point about those subjects.
    Actually, I just had a change of thought.
    When you are working on your Master's or PhD, do you receive a grade?
    If the answer is yes, then your theory is wrong.
    College grades are based on a standard. If you don't meet that standard, you fail college.
    That means college is nothing but indoctrination - aka brainwashing.
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    Sep 03, 2011 7:19 AM GMT
    beaujangle saidTo students (and professors): How much of online work do you do in your studies? Isn't it awfully boring, not to mention the sense of isolation? Isn't
    uni life about networking, especially if you're 18-22 years old?

    Where do you see the future of universities and colleges? I dread the day when all education is done online. It's so boring!

    Do you see that happening?


    Well I don't think it should be about being fun or boring but more about how much you learn from it. I've taken 2 courses online and I actually did better online than I probably would have in a classroom (both high A's) because I was doing everything on my time and not stressed about waking up and running all the way across a campus to a damp and dingy building. I like the interaction with my classmates but there are times I don't feel like being bothered with anyone. I think it's a good direction especially for people who work strange and long hours. I've known people to bring their laptops to work and take class while working and manage to get a good grade.
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    Sep 03, 2011 7:21 AM GMT
    Nah, online wont take its place... but it will help! Just like online dating wont take the place of live dating
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    Sep 03, 2011 7:30 AM GMT
    GreenHopper saidNah, online wont take its place... but it will help! Just like online dating wont take the place of live dating


    good analogy, from personal experience I can see pros and cons to each. I like having to only carry my computer to certain classes rather than a 20 pound book. Also, online textbooks tend to be more interactive. HOWEVER, they also can be more difficult to follow along with, and in my calc classes, for example, it is nearly impossible to do the assigned WebWork because typing in integrals or derivatives of functions with the proper parentheses and exponents and such was just a pain.

    Personally I am neither fully opposed or in full support of digitizing college. However, physically attending class should be a must if that was what you were implying.
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    Sep 03, 2011 7:54 AM GMT
    University is one of the biggest scams around.

    The content is self-taught, we end up paying exorbitant fees simply for the piece of paper with the uni name and our final grade on it, the learning comes from the endless hours of reading. Even lectures are posted online these days. Just as gd as being there in person.

    I'd gladly welcome online university courses to become the new higher education paradigm.
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Sep 03, 2011 7:58 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    Actually, I just had a change of thought.
    When you are working on your Master's or PhD, do you receive a grade?
    If the answer is yes, then your theory is wrong.
    College grades are based on a standard. If you don't meet that standard, you fail college.
    That means college is nothing but idoctrination - aka brainwashing.

    How is the theory wrong? Colleges grades needs to be build on standards, especially at the Master's and PhD levels. How would you assess the student's accomplishments? These standards are set by what those professors think you should be learning. The state has very little to do with those. The exception being engineering and professional schools, and again, standards here are also set by people in those fields. Usually there is a thesis of original research and thought at the end of graduate level degrees.

    Most colleges do not encourage indoctrination and don't purpose to indoctrinate their students. In fact, if you took advantage of you situation, you can not come out of a college and not learn to think for yourself. I went to a fairly rigorous Baptist university. It was far from . For the liberal arts classes, the professors presented lectures very neutrally, and discussions were student driven. As for the sciences, there is no side to pick.

    Could things change, sure. But I thought if nothing else, my science classes were worth the money I paid for in learning skills from them.
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    Sep 03, 2011 8:05 AM GMT
    Don't sleep on online courses. They may seem less rigorous. They are not.

    Most online courses at reputable universities now use webcam and face technology. You are given a computer or tablet and expected to use it for the course.

    This means that all of your classmates and your teacher can see your face at all these. I cannot sit in the corner of the room and zone out if I want. You have to be attentive and interactive at all times.

    And if you're sick or traveling, so what? Still expected to be "in class".

    Suffice it to say I will not be taking any more online offerings, because in a four hour lecture class I need my zoning out time.