It’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen.

Online learning has become quite a profound entity especially in higher education. The more we progress through higher ed, the more prevalent online classes become. So, how sustainable are these disruptive technologies and how long will they still be prevalent?

Human beings love convenience. We love having the ability to look up any information we want whenever we want. Human beings also love efficiency. Once an opportunity is created to incorporate convenience and efficiency together, endless possibilities ensue. We live in a society where we want an easier life. We have been sold to the idea that our lives must revolve around being easy and convenient, and we will find any opportunity to make convenience practical. The pursuit of convenience has been a huge business model over the last few decades and has caused mass amounts of disruption throughout various industries.

Higher Education is being heavily affected by this disruptive phenomena. The power of convenience and efficiency take precedence over anything traditional, which is precisely what online classes and online education platforms have achieved. How sustainable are these disruptions? Very. They are significantly more cost effective, they are extremely convenient and efficient, and they can instigate a better path to learning the material. Finances have always been a huge, huge debate among families. Looking on the perspective of online education from a financial standpoint, traditional schooling does not stand a chance against online education. Online classes have the ability to be extremely cheap (some classes can be $300 or less) while allowing the professor to widen the scope of the students s/he teaches. Additionally, there are free education services on YouTube such as Khan Academy. Khan Academy was created more for as supplement to classes. Additionally, other free educational platforms opened up after Khan Academy to offer support to anyone who needed explaining on a specific topic in a plethora of fields of study. (Business, history, etc.) Khan Academy had reached a new level when the information was beginning to be translated in different languages in late 2013. If the Khan Academy continues at this rate, it could eventually be an accredited entity which could cause some serious problems in the higher education industry.

In a Ted Talk by Sugata Mitra, he found that children can teach themselves if they have the opportunity and the willingness to do so. Precisely put, it’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen. Online classes are doing exactly that. They are putting people in the position to learn whatever they want, whenever they want to learn it, at whatever time is convenient for them. All anyone needs now is internet access and a computer, and could, essentially, become educated in any field s/he desires. Could this trend in disruption become the beginning of an end… the end of something that was ultimately an empire? Only the future can tell, and the question we have to ask ourselves is, what are we going to do about it?

18 thoughts on “It’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen.

  1. Patrick McDonald

    I share many of the same viewpoints as you and the blog you posted. I believe we are headed toward an education system based on online classes and learning materials. The cost advantage is huge and it allows the greatest minds in the country “teach” a class to whoever is willing to pay. I used quotes around the word teach because the only pitfall of online classes is I am not sold that teaching can be done effectively over a web based platform. I have always been a hands on learner and have loved the ability to challenge my teachers and ask questions.

    The major reasoning I think there is a need for a classroom setting is my belief in the power of the Socratic method. The classes in high school and college that I have learned the most in were the ones taught using an open dialogue between the teacher and the students. Supporters of online classes will note that questions can be asked and answered on online platforms but I would argue being behind a screen may cause some students to shy away from actively participating in the discussion. For me personally, I would simply read the powerpoints or listen to the professor’s lecture then call it a day. Lets also remember that classes taught online will also have online exams where half the time students either work together or use google as there one stop shop for all the answers. When this happens we can agree that know learning is actually done.

    In all honesty, I understand where you are coming from with this blog. I just will always be a supporter of a student taking the majority of his/her classes in a physical location face to face with other students and a teacher. Based on the title of this blog I can argue that college itself is “letting education happen” rather than making it happen. In high school, the government was demanding kids go to school-therefore, making it happen. But college is a choice made by whoever attends. College students are letting it happen- it isn’t being forced (most of the time). I’m not saying the title is bad because it is intriguing and is definitely supplemented well with the first few lines of the blog. Your argument about convenience is also very well thought out and placed within the article.

    There is just so much changing within the education system and the use of technology that it is hard to reach all aspects in one article.

  2. Mike Gavela

    When it comes to online education as Cameron mentioned there are various alternatives out there like Khan Academy or Youtube. One can use these two methods to learn just about any skill from playing a musical instrument to learning a new language or even another level of mathematics. But online education goes even further than Khan Academy or Youtube. By simply being able to “google it” we can find a Wikipedia link on just about any topic or a thought provoking TED lecture by some of the world’s leading minds. When we talk about, online education, we usually narrow down the focus to academics but the sheer scope of the internet can lead to so much more. The capability of learning about new and different cultures and religions in any region or the ability to virtually watch any movie or tv show from just doing a simple search. I agree with Cameron that we should just be letting this happen but an online education is more than just completing a course for accreditation.

    If we were to continue to spread internet access across third world countries and impoverished nations then more children would have the capability to teach themselves. These children would have the capability to do more than just receive an academic education. They would be able to learn different trades that affect their day to day lives such as the basics of fixing or maintaining a car, learning how to cook or improve their current living conditions. The term, “online education” cannot be constrained to just an academic education because it would undermine the total impact it can have on children in the developing worlds. As Cameron mentions in his blog, “In a Ted Talk by Sugata Mitra, he found that children can teach themselves if they have the opportunity and the willingness to do so”. By broadening the access of the internet we can give children the opportunity whatever skill or trade they need to thrive in their world.

  3. Jessica Page

    c of discussion brought up by Cameron. Online classes and textbooks have become a huge issue in higher education, even here at Seton Hall. I have personally had experience with online classes and I genuinely have mixed feeling about them. I took an online course in high school and last year I took and online marketing elective through Stillman. In both cases, the convenience factor was definitely there as Cameron mentioned. I did not have to worry about going to class or being on time and I had a little more leeway with when I needed to complete assignments and how long I had to do them.
    For the first class I took, I felt as though there lacked a sense of pressure in learning the material. It was more about getting the work passed in. In the online marketing class I had last year, the professor really utilized the book we had to buy, we had much more interaction with him and he made sure we interacted with our classmates through online discussions and posts. I think the professor definitely determines how efficient an online course is.
    Overall, I still tend to believe that even though there is a convenience factor and a financial benefit of taking online classes, we really need to look at how much students are really learning and what they are taking away from the classes. I think supplements online like Kahn Academy are great but they are supplements for a reason. We have to compare the convenience to the effectiveness in this instance. How much are students getting from the class? What are the consequences long term of online classes? How do students who take online classes differ from those who did not when it comes to finding jobs and applying what they learned in the work force?
    I think Cameron brings up a great point in his conclusion, talking about how in order to succeed in online classes you must be willing to teach yourself. This is completely true. It is something that not all students think about and those end up being the students that struggle more with online classes overall.
    Technology has also affected the way we teach classes too, with a lot of textbooks now being offered online or only in digital form. I’ve noticed this particularly with a few of my friends in the nursing school. As great as this sounds, a lot of students still need the physical form of a textbook. I know personally, I love marking up what I am reading, making notes and highlighting. I can’t necessarily do that with an online edition. So although they may be cheaper, I don’t consider them as effective. Unfortunately, I see this as a continuing trend and eventually only online editions will be available or offered. Students like me will have to adapt, but it is another way technology has penetrated the way we learn and disrupted the norm.
    Overall Cameron did a great job in talking about the facts of this online phenomena in higher education and I think it is something we will continue to see grow over the next decade. It will be interesting to see how far it succeeds and the outcome and difference between online courses and physical courses.

    1. Jessica Page

      The first sentence of my statement got cut off… it is supposed to read “I think this is a great topic of discussion…”

  4. Nicholas Sibilia

    Online education is becoming one of the newest rages to hit the education world. It has many benefits which are all discussed in this article, such as, affordability, convenience, and the endless options to choose whatever it is you want to learn. However, what is not discussed is the loss of a one on one teacher student experience that people thrive on inside the classroom. With online education comes self teaching, this is not always an issue however due to current classes being taught at various schools across the country many students are teaching themselves the material because of poor teachers or professors. With that being said, the continual growth in popularity online education is beginning to make waves in the classic university or college ways. This is touched upon in the article when they discussed a possible end to an “empire” that traditional classroom education has been for so long. The information given was all on point and did not fray from the topic of discussion, as well as gave good detailed description of the important points.

  5. Jennifer Scari

    Upon viewing the title of this article, I was not quite certain what the learning would pertain to, which caused a curiosity in me to read a bit further. When first starting to read this article, I was not only drawn in by the interesting choice of title but additionally by the excellent choice in diction portrayed by the author. Throughout the remainder of the article, I commend the author, Cameron Quisenberry, on his ability to keep my attention with his interesting views and well thought out word choice. The basic idea behind this article is that online education is the future. The author begins by discussing that people in our society enjoy convenience; therefore, taking classes and learning trades and skills online would appeal to the majority. In this way, I do agree with the author. People enjoy convenience and are constantly looking for ways to simplify or “cut corners”, if you will. I also agree that taking online classes to gain a college level education may be the right choice for some, and when I say some I mean a very small portion of people. You see, the only reason that taking an online class, in opposition to a four year University or something of the sort, is to save money. The fact that taking courses online or learning for free from online videos would be there right choice for a person that would never be able to afford attending a University. Now since a lot of people go to college right after high school, I understand that those students would not have the means of paying for a four year University at that point in their life; however, if they are studying to go into a competitive field that will later in life produce the money to pay off student loans then I believe going to a four year college and incurring those costs is far more beneficial than missing out on that experience entirely by taking online classes.
    The article presented makes many valid points; however, it fails to consider a few important aspects of attending college that is not online. When going to college that is not an online class, the student is able to have access to a variety of sources. Just as a student that takes an online course, those who attend college have access to everything on the internet. In addition to these, these students also have the resource of his or her professor, his or her peers, and an entire network of alumni that have graduated from that particular college. These additional opportunities make the extra costs of attending a college worthwhile.
    Unlike the beliefs described in the article, I do not think that these online classes and videos will be the end to Universities on campuses, at least not in the near future. Although I disagree with the some of the points in this article, I found that it was a pleasure to read. The hyperlinks that were used were very necessary and enabled me to learn more about where the information in this article was coming from. It made this work much more credible. As I stated previously, it was also very well written and the way the points were laid out flowed nicely. It was a respectable article.

  6. Amber Bockin

    Almost everything in this time and age is accessible anywhere at any time through the internet which is a major convenience and sometimes an inconvenience.
    Having everything at one’s finger tips provides efficiency by eliminating the time spent on finding the material needed to give insight and further knowledge on a subject. Homework, essays, grades, everything a student needs to keep up with in this busy frame of life can be done at their time. However, with high efficiency comes high production output. High production can be both good and bad since there is more learning and understanding of the material the more one practices it and especially in the work environment more can get done in less time. For instance, in a law firm that deals with medical malpractices cases there is a process of receiving records. The process starts with the fact that the HIPPA authorization must be signed by whomever the records pertain, the HIPPA is sent to that person in which they must send back the signed and dated copy. The law firm will then forward that authorization to the provider of care for the patient, they look up the records, create a copy, and send the records back to the law firm. Without technology the process would be lengthy and time consuming. Many of the providers have the records kept on a computer and send them using the internet, email, fax, and if they only have to send it in a hard copy normally all they have to do is press print on the document instead of going through the actual hard copy of the records and copying every page.
    The expectancy for high production output and efficiency can be a downfall in the fact of some people become overworked easily and it creates a high expectation for every worker and student. Not to insinuate that people should be lazy but in order to succeed, the work must be efficient but correct. When things become too efficient there are important factors that can be missed or simply skipped over and the work may not be as well completed as needed. In the long run this has very little impact compared to the benefits of advancing technology and our society.
    Another downfall is that at the moment there is a break between those who embrace technology and those who stay traditional. Many of those that are the ones who own the firms, companies, and corporations. They are still using old ways and believe that tradition is better. Even to something as simple as refusing to use email. This creates a break in efficiency since correspondence must be sent my mail therefore it holds a day’s time before being acknowledged while an email can be sent and answered to within minutes.
    Cost wise the advancing technology is extremely efficient. There is no need to buy a hard copy of books, pencils, and pens, and other writing materials since a book can be downloaded from the internet and kept on one’s laptop and can type or even use a smart laptop and write notes directly on the screen. This keeps things at a minimal cost and being highly efficient at the same time.
    This was a great post, I specifically like how you used talk by Sugata Mitra about how children can teach themselves as long as they have the opportunity and willingness. Many people believe a classroom is the best place to learn and it is all based upon the willingness of someone to learn and how they better respond to the learning environment and practices. When I was young I was inspired by the piano and took the opportunity through technology to teach myself the piano. Even on a mere level of a hobby the technology today can inspire the want to learn many things.

  7. Brianna Young

    I am glad Cameron chose this topic of online education for his article. Online education is a great innovation like Cameron mentions. The convenience of being able to just go online and not have to be in a class setting is easier for some people. I like online education a lot the only issue it raises for me is that some people do have a better learning experience being in a classroom setting. Having that professor or teacher there to answer your questions right away and show you exactly how to find the answer or fully explain the answer is better for some. But you can easily get a response for your professor or use Skype to have a face to face conference with that professor. I have taken several online classes and they were more convenient for me. A few of them I didn’t like the way the professor didn’t really have the students interact with each so much. I think that is key to a successful online class. The interaction part because like in a class setting where you get to interact with other students and hear their thoughts you should be able to do the same in an online class so you can get a better knowledge of a certain topic or see how your other classmates feel about certain topics so you’re gaining more knowledge overall or clearing up confusion may have. Also another key point that Cameron does bring up and I feel is important for online classes is being able to teach yourself. With online classes you definitely have to be ready and willing to teach yourself and many people aren’t so if higher education was to become strictly online many people may not get the full benefit of a class because they were just doing the minimal to pass instead of trying to go above and beyond. I think online education is a great innovation and I can’t wait to see where it leads us in the future.

  8. Daniel Kelly

    This notion of learning when we want to learn sounds lovely and all, until someone makes the first cat based learning program on YouTube. These distractions are far more insidious and branching than described, to a point where the amount of content on the internet becomes a blessing and its own cancer eating at the free flow of information. Essentially, I am pointing to the idea of a glut of content and the lack of content generators like Youtube, Netflix or otherwise to begin curtailing information in such a way that limits distraction. Yet this is a fundamental freedom of the internet, the lack of any apparent control by outside forces but we all know they exist. Google searches will forever try to manipulate their product, namely us, by steering us towards safer websites and products which we have proven to like. So the internet, for as free as it is, has very little freedom; unless you explore the deep web and its surface material is still too much begin exploring with earnestness. The academic side of the internet, while I applaud its efforts, does not do enough to make the content nearly as approachable as its time wasters, that is to say that Pewdiepie on Youtube is far more interesting than an online professor while both have an hour long session presented. What then are content creators meant to do? Some simply present excellent data sources like Wikipedia and the aforementioned Google. Others provide very specific academic sources such as resource libraries and online document databases. Where the learning is intentional and user designed, such uses of the internet get at the root of free flowing information. Or through detailed but approachable videos such as the work of the Vloggers at Vsauce or Idea Channel where complicated concepts are explored with interesting twists and approaches. Such work really brings out the entrepreneurial side of the internet and has spawned a veritable subgenre on Youtube with professionals in the field using the style to make their field’s exciting. It reminds me of what adventure books might have done to young kids in the 50s, with tales of Science Fiction and space aliens inspiring young kids to look to the Stars in wonderment and work for Nasa as adults. Or films of all genre’s that inspire young audiences to explore the fields but now, with the internet, you can do this directly and continue to keep the creative juices flowing. The internet can be a wonderful place because of this interactive learning experience. But I do not believe we should become reliant on them.
    Despite all of the wonderful things inspiring thinkers can create with a handheld camera, there is no reason to replace traditional education. The internet, as I said before, is filled with distractions and thus is much better utilized as a creative tool. Young students can be encouraged to watch videos about Minecraft to inspire play and then brought back to a creative learning environment where those skills can be utilized with group activity. Some know better than others that an uncontrolled internet life can become a source of isolation despite connecting us with the entire world. Without controlled learning, mixed with time for free flow exploration, there would be no education of any reasonable kind. For me it makes the internet the perfect tool but one which should never be over relied upon.

  9. Anthony Hector

    Convenience is definitely something that people crave for in the modern day. Products that offer this luxury are always wanted by the public. With the more releases of newer products the features continue to let to consumer to do less, but still get the results they want. An example is the Iphone that releases new software that is always just a little more efficient than the one before. The convenience of the new software is in allowing the user to access data even faster than before. Even the history of phones themselves are an example of convenience being something of worth in today’s society. The old phones were very big and would be very difficult to carry around. Then the flip-phone came out that allowed the owner to be able to carry their phone around because the size significantly lowered, which makes things even more convenient.

    Then when the Iphone came out things got even easier because the Iphone contains everything you need in one device. On the surface of the convenience of the phone, it is touch screen compared to buttons. Then it also has the internet that allows the user to get any sort of information that they might need on the go. Plus the size of the phone is still relatively small so that it can fit in your pocket and easily accessible. The fact that it has so many features makes it the most convenient thing and the invention of the smartphone opened up the market for phones immensely because now everyone has a smartphone. This is a clear example of how convenience is cherished in any aspect today. The technology really shows this convenience because it allows people to multi task with any aspect of life. If I want to see how far it would take me to drive from my current location to my desired location I can just look on my phone to see the exact time it will take me and how exactly I will get to that location. I honestly cannot see a world where my phone does not have the capability to direct me.

    Technology even has impacted our education by having college right on the internet. Having college right at your fingertips is the soul reasoning behind convenience in America because education is easily the most important thing a person can gain in their life. With having it right at their homes makes things easier and can allow more people to gain this education because there several obstacles out of the way. Money being an issue because having an education online takes a lot of the expenses that people get from going to a university.

  10. Tamila Garayo

    It is no secret that higher education is undergoing a period of rapid transformation that embraces the digital age. Everywhere we turn, there are tablets, smartphones, to even wikis and blogs with make collaboration and information sharing much easier than ever before. Today’s digital environment includes the ability to take online courses which provides students an easier access to education, as well as a more personalized, flexible and customized learning experience. According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning almost nearly 30 percent of all college and university students now take at least one course online. To me that is amazing! Who would of every thought that academic institutions can provide a different option rather than the traditional classroom setting. To this end, new research has shown that online education can be just as, if not more, effective than in-classroom instruction. A recent report on online education conducted by SRI International for the Department of Education concluded, “On average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”
    Though some truth may lie in that study, I personally don’t think I am one of those students. Without the proper guidance from a professor I don’t think I can excel to my highest capable potential. That isn’t to say that I don’t agree with this new multi-dimensional level of personal instruction. I just don’t think it’s something that we as humans will adapt too so quickly and master in since we have been so used to working with an instructor for most of our lives. We have been so involved in an open dialogue with our teachers, so for some it may be a new adjustment depending solely on your computers for questions and answers. That is to also say, if the student has a question to pose it probably won’t be answered in the same personal level that a professor can give a student when being in contact with one another.
    I am almost certain that they adhere to certain standards in order to maintain a level of academic rigor and quality for the students to ultimately excel. If done right, shifting focus over to online educators will most certainly transform the world of education, and offer students a rich learning experience. Yes collaboration is crucial for any learning experience, however I do believe there may be some potential in a mobile classroom.
    In the article, the idea of convenience is mentioned a few times. That is probably one of the greatest benefits out of receiving a degree online and such. If you ask most students why they choose to learn online, the most common response you’ll get is, “It’s just more convenient.” This convenience falls in many different categories. First being you can attend class at any time, students can access their course at any time with Internet access. The ease of accessibility, courseware is accessible for whenever students need it. You’ll enhance your ability to communicate effectively through the latest technology, you can learn at your own space, etc.
    This may even be a cost-effective choice for students. Online courses may help individuals eliminate costs of transportation, housing, and other expenses incurred while attending classes in a traditional classroom setting. Also some web-based classes may not require expensive physical textbooks. E-textbooks might over a substantial amount of saving for students, adding up to a hundreds of dollars every single year.
    The Khan Academy, for example, is a non profit organization with a goal of providing for a free world-class education to anyone, anywhere. To date, it has offered over 300 million lessons. It’s Youtube channel has more than 283 million total views. By comparison, MIT’s channel has 52 million views, and less than half of Khan’s 1,233,000 subscribers. That’s the power of video and learning (Wired).
    I also believe that taking an online course requires an immense amount of self-discipline. Rather than physically being at a lecture at a specified time. They must take initiative but these no longer will have people telling them what to do, and when it’s due. Nonetheless, online learning will soon become an important part of the educational landscape so people should start getting familiar with the idea.

  11. Lauren Gutowski

    I agree with many aspects of this passage, especially the overall message in it: where is our society heading with convenience- driven ideas? Right, only the future could tell and when we get there then we will know. But the least we could do is make educated assumptions. Bottom line is any invention contributing into making something more convenient than before, is profitable. Let’s start off with the invention of the automobile (helps you get from point A to point B faster). Of course we still use them today. Sounds pretty convenient, but manufacturers already made self-driving cars. All of us may not even need to drive a car in the next decade or so; they’ll be driving themselves. We crave the idea of an easy lifestyle no doubt. And that is why universities are on their way towards a huge problem. Pop-ups and banners are all over the web advertising online courses offered at local colleges along with TV commercials. Even notable schools like Cornell and New York University advertise online classes. Why? Well, our lives could be so hectic that it would make sense to complete a course in the comfort of our own home opposed to required presence in a classroom. Commuters especially benefit from them by avoiding morning/evening traffic and saving gas money. And the fact some online classes are greatly cheaper than in-class lectures really says something about where we are heading.

    Khan Academy is my lifesaver when it comes to understanding material in a timely matter. But it really should be looked upon as a threat by high level institutions. What if we are allowed to receive credit from taking Khan Academy classes? It could turn into an online college if we wanted to hypothesis. Think about it, students are already taking advantage of online classes at universities around the country. Who is to say there is not a possibility of a college working solely off the web? No need for dormitories or any buildings for classrooms, just you and the computer. Most of the funds would be allocated towards web developers, employees and the software used. Its funny how kids are able to learn just about anything they want because they have access to the worldwide web at the tips of their fingers. When I was a kid, the only thing I had was my mom and dad’s computer to find information. If children of the twenty-first century take the initiative to go onto their devices and look up things of interest, they can become an expert on that subject without even getting up from their seat. Teaching yourself is easier than ever these days. So where is the world heading? No precise destination, just to a place where everything already at convenience becomes even more convenient. Our society would not survive if we happened to regress so it is only up from here. People want their days as easy as possible, so that is what innovators are shooting for.

  12. Isabel Goodman

    The higher education system has been built on the model of a professor teaching his students in a classroom setting using textbooks and occasionally computers to enhance the class. This classic model is now changing due to the widespread use of technology and the implementation of online classes throughout the education systems ranging from elementary to college level. These online classes, as the blog states, differ drastically from the typical classes we experience today. While traditional classes are held in a classroom and are at a specified time, online classes can be taken anywhere the student has Internet access and a computer. This model of convenience and efficiency speaks to the student because the typical student has been brainwashed, like the majority of the population into thinking that the best things are both convenient and efficient and if we have the opportunity to model our education after that then why wouldn’t we? While I think online classes can be beneficial, I do not see them completely replacing traditional ones. What we pride ourselves on here at Seton Hall is the small student to faculty ratio. With online classes, that doesn’t exist. The professor hardly knows their students and the students have little to no contact with them, and certainly no face-to-face communication. Interpersonal skills are never going to die. We need them in order to survive as a society. Online classes take away the personal component of a traditional class, and that is something the student needs or else a small ratio would not be emphasized so highly. Students need communication with their professors in order to fully develop their skills. The questions they have may not be answered to the extent they want them to be, and that is where office hours are highly important and necessary in order to develop students and their skills. In addition, the convenience is there, but there are plenty of students who are unmotivated and need the specific time frame in which they must attend class. Without that cut-and-dry time frame, they simply would not attend class. As a result, they would not learn. This is not to say all students are like this, but if there is a class online the student does not have to go to at a specific time, they may choose never to go at all simply because there is no penalty if they do not. In high school I took an online physics class and though I did fine in it, I barely remember anything from it at all. The online atmosphere allows you to skim and be distracted by external stimuli and simply not focus on the material you should be. While that is the student’s fault, that is something that just would not happen in a traditional classroom setting. While I believe online classes are excellent supplements and have benefits to a motivated student, I do not believe the online class will ever fully replace the traditional classroom and everything that has resulted because of it. Technology is certainly the future but interpersonal skills are the past, present, and the future as well.

  13. Darren Williams

    Humans absolutely love convenience, there is no denying that, but there comes a time where things become too convenient to be productive. Personally I believe that online classes are one of those things that are too convenient to be productive. Sure we would all rather take an online class at our earliest convenience rather than trekking across campus in the snow for an 8 am class for example, but at second glance how much are the students really learning during the online class? Online classes are a great source of information and can often serve as an effective learning tool but the user has to have the discipline and concentration to make it work for them. Of course there are cases where people must take online courses in order to fit there schedule. I am sure that the majority of us have seen the numerous commercials for various online colleges. The people the creators of those ads are likely targeting are people who are working and can’t make time to actually go to class or a parent trying to get another degree for a promotion while still taking care of the kids. These programs are perfect for them because they are time efficient, inexpensive and learner comprehensive. For students at a four year institution on the other hand, online classes may be counter productive because there are ways of getting out of putting in full effort seeing as there is no instructor guiding and grading the students. As we all know the world is changing significantly due to advancements in technology and those advancements are coming extremely fast. For me personally I am a visual learner so I remember one of the biggest things that furthered my learning was when the class rooms installed smart boards. The boards would enable the teacher to really engage all of the students and have them participate in the class in an unconventional way. My point in mentioning this is that technology plays a very important and specific role in the class room and it needs to be embraced. While that may be the case that technology needs to be embraced in the class room, that fact cannot be mistaken to mean it can completely replace the physical teacher presence. Therefore I completely agree with Cameron that educational services such as videos uploaded to online services such as YouTube and Khan Academy should be used just as supplements to compliment what the teacher is providing and further a students’ understanding, rather than be used to teach the students solely. I get the same vibe from how Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn Corporation, decided to purchase the Lynda educational library. LinkedIn is an important tool in the professional world now. It links professionals with similar interests or skills that would compliment each other. Now with the acquisition of Lynda, LinkedIn will be able to improve the skills of those professionals who use it to diversify their abilities and allow them to qualify for other jobs using new information that they have learned. In other words, supplement their prior learning.

  14. Stephen Gallic

    Once again we read in the above article how technology has made our world evolve in unfamiliar ways and is leading us down unaccustomed pathways. One field in particular that is still testing and adapting to technological advancements is education. With platforms such as YouTube, skype, and other interfaces of communication the typical person has access to a vast and endless array of information available at their fingertips. They just have to want it. Sugata Mitra gave a TED talk on education professing the capabilities of online education and how “it’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen.” Being a student personally I can attest to how true this statement is. It’s like the old saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Just because a student attends college and classes does not mean he is necessary learning. Learning requires a want, desire, and effort driven by that desire. Unfortunately, in our capitalist society that desire is drowned out by the necessity to receive an education in order that you might one day qualify for a job. Instead of inciting kids to receive an education out of desire and ability the education system is focused on profits when it should be focused on the potential of its students. They have made college out to be a necessity for success and with it trashed the American Dream.
    The idea of making education available online fixes many of the noted problems. Students would have classes available to them whenever they please and they will be able to learn these courses at their own pace. Online courses would also do away with a majority of the other costs related to college. With classes available for three hundred dollars or less the education system can do away with those absurd free college protesters. As was noted in the article, platforms such as YouTube have made information and focused lessons available to anyone who wishes to access it. Personally, I have used Khan Academy countless times when I ran into questions and needed further explanation and it always provides deeper insight and clarity. The more students remain independent the better off they will be when it comes to the real world. This installs a sense of self-confidence and security that lacks in state university schools where individual attention is limited.
    Technology is rapidly advancing and we as a society must do our best to fully utilize and stay up to par with those advancements, especially when it comes to education. Allowing easier and more in-depth access to online college courses will only result in positive results. No one will be hurt by the lack of information and knowledge except the universities wallet. Hopefully the system will recognize the potential behind these classes and make them even more appealing to encourage students to educate themselves rather than be educated vicariously through others.

  15. KCollins

    I agree with Cameron Quisenberry’s view of online education in his post called “It’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen.” Society today is all about convenience and online classes offer just that. The price of an online class is more convenient than that of a traditional class. There is no specific place that a student needs to be present to take an online class, they are free to do their work wherever they have internet access. Times are more convenient as well; students are not confined to learning the material at specific times each week, they can look at the material whenever it is convenient for them.
    With all of these factors combined, learning becomes more convenient for a student of any kind. Whether it is a college student or someone returning to school and working a full-time job or even someone who just wants to expand their knowledge of a specific subject area. Online classes provide much better access to materials and a structured learning environment. This more convenient learning platform is definitely more conducive to “letting learning happen” than a traditional class setting, which can often feel like a burden for students.

  16. Tamem Jalallar

    Our country is a beautiful country and has many benefits that other countries and citizens would beg to have. We go to a private institution where the tuition is high and the institution shows it. Though the endowment of the university is one of the highest in the state of New Jersey, with exclusion of the Ivy League school, it has yet to exemplify any alumni that have went on to REVOLUTIONIZE the world, or even the State. I will gladly admit that there have been in the past that have done every notable things but within the past 20 years, or within the current millennium. We were the university that brought up the co-founder of CNN

  17. Marquise Moseley

    This article makes a very good point. Being in raised in this kind of day and age we have been very reliant on technology. This reliance that we built for technology is why I believe we as humans need convenience. For example when I was younger we needed to go all the way to our friends house to see what they were doing, but in today’s day and age kids can shoot each other a quick text and instantly know what your friends are doing without moving a muscle. It is a shame because in today’s society kids do not even knock on the door anymore when they get to their friends houses, but instead they will shoot over a quick text message or phone call saying they are outside. The progression of technology lead to this new way of living.
    In this article it mentions online learning, and then it mentions the fact that humans love it because it is convenient. I have a bunch of friends right now in college that are angry that their schedules were not the way they planned them to be, and they mentioned how most of the times and the way their schedule was set up was not convenient. One of my friends has an 8 a.m. class, and he absolutely hates it. It is terribly inconvenient because he has to wake up at almost 7 a.m. in order to get dressed, eat, and make the journey all the way across campus in order to make it to his class on time. It would be so much more convenient if he was in an online course that way he could just tune into the class whenever works best for him that way all of these other problems do not really make a difference. It is hard to handle things that are so inconvenient when almost everything in the world we live in is so convenient. Just think about the fact that we have a cellphone in the palm of our hands that have everything we could ever need at our finger tips, and with online classes it would be just about the same thing. These online classes just make a huge difference because they are so much better for you than actually being in the classroom. For example, the online classes can be less expensive, and at the same time it can sometimes be more efficient. Online courses allow for your professor to sometimes expand a little more on things that they would not be able to expand the same on inside of a classroom. Sometimes just by not being in a classroom it allows for you to learn a little better. This article mentioned that “It’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen.” I feel like being in a classroom in school is making learning happen, but I think giving people the chance to sign on online whenever they want allows people the chance at letting it happen. If they do not log on then there won’t be any learning to let happen. The idea of letting learning happen is a topic that most people never really understand, but I think once you can distinguish this two then you will be in a good place for learning.


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