In the past, to study at a university in another city or country, one had to relocate to the campus to attend lectures and classes. Today, if a student wants to get a degree but cannot or doesn’t want to study on campus, they can choose online courses many universities provide.
How does online learning work?
Online courses are available for students willing to get a degree and study from home. Such courses usually take several years to complete. Postgraduate qualifications obtained online are usually internationally recognized and equal in value to on-campus degrees.
Many universities also invite wide audiences to participate in the so-called massive open online courses (MOOCs). Anyone can enrol, even if they don’t want to get a degree in a given field. MOOCs are usually shorter than postgraduate online courses and can be accessed for free.
Participants can study from wherever they are on condition that they have a computer or a mobile device and are connected to the Internet.
Unlike with e-learning, an online course participant usually cannot expect they will talk to their teacher on a day-to-day basis. They are provided with the necessary learning materials, e-lectures, presentations and assignments via a course platform they get access to. There is a person who supervises their work but it’s each student’s responsibility to stick to deadlines.
So, what people are the online learning target audience?
Students who choose online learning need to be disciplined. They don’t attend daily lectures or classes but they still have to deliver assignments on time, take exams, etc. They are the ones to decide when to study a given batch of materials and how much time to spend studying a topic.
People interested in online learning are usually highly motivated. They have to make a much bigger effort than on-campus students. Without the daily routine, it might be difficult to study systematically and they may easily get distracted. So, online course participants should know the aim of their education perfectly.
They also need to be self-directed. Instead of expecting too much guidance and instructions they should be able to work independently and know where to find the information they need.
Benefits for students
Despite the special effort they have to take, students can greatly benefit from attending online courses. First and foremost, they can get a diploma or a degree even if they cannot study on campus and attend regular lectures and classes.
They can study from wherever they are and whenever it is convenient for them. This lets them flexibly fit education into their weekly or monthly schedule.
They study at their own pace and if they need to take a time out due to e.g. work, family matters, etc, they can do it and then continue whenever they are ready.
Benefits for universities
With online learning, universities can offer their programmes to a much wider audience and reach out to students who cannot come to study on campus.
Since online learning is technology driven, universities that have it in their portfolio, boost their brand image and are perceived as modern educational institutions that follow the latest trends.
In this way, universities also cater for the needs of the so-called digital natives – young people who grew up in the era of the Internet and use digital devices not only for entertainment but also to study.
Online learning tools
Online courses are usually delivered via their own course platforms, often called VLEs (Virtual Learning Environment). Each student gets their login and password to access the online learning materials provided by the university.
Webinar platforms such as ClickMeeting can come in handy whenever there is a need for a solution to create high-quality resources. Thanks to a variety of webinar tools attractive presentations, online lectures, video-tutorials and expert guides can be created, recorded and delivered to students via the course platform.
Online learning is a great way to obtain a diploma or a university degree without having to study on campus. Course materials are available from wherever students are. The necessary conditions to study in this way and to succeed are a computer or a mobile device connected to the Internet and a great deal of self-discipline.