Why is the Shift Toward Online Education Happening?

This paper deals with the question: Why is the shift toward online education happening? This is a complex issue that involves questions of educational access, paradigms for teaching and learning, competition and globalization among universities, the development of new and better online technologies, and the financial pressures facing higher education. A huge transition is underway.

The same networking and computing technology that has revolutionized global commerce, and many other facets of modern life, is now being targeted at education. Partnering the Internet with modern course management systems makes it possible for universities to offer online coursework on a global basis. The critical task that lies ahead is to create and disseminate curricula of high quality that students can embrace and educators can sustain. For more details visit to [http://www.guardadsense.com]. The overall objective of José's Online Education Forum is to examine the realities of college and university online teaching, and the processes of education using today's information technologies. Collectively, the authors of this paper have taught over a hundred different university-level courses online, both graduate and undergraduate, mostly using the Internet. The issues and insights discussed in this Forum will provide educators with important tools and the understanding needed to effectively embrace the world of online education.


1.1 The Sloan Consortium

In a Sloan-C survey of 1170 Provosts and Academic VPs, more than half indicated a belief that online education would be 'critical for the long-term' in higher education. Surprisingly perhaps, the same percentage said that they believe success in achieving learning outcomes is already equivalent between online and traditional teaching methods. And there was also a consensus of opinion among these respondents that the quality of online courses would continue to improve, with a third of them believing that online teaching quality will soon surpass the quality typical of conventional teaching. These opinions may be surprising for many of us in the teaching profession, coming as they do from such high level and influential administrators. They signal a fundamental change in perceptions about the potential of online education in the immediate future.

1.2 Overview

The objective in this paper is to investigate and assess why this shift to online education is happening. Several factors can be cited beginning with improvements in access to educational services using online technologies and changing paradigms for teaching and learning that integrate well with these technologies. Other factors include heightened educational competition and globalization, the ongoing and often dramatic improvements in online systems capabilities, and the underlying economics of providing online education versus conventional means. The following sections of this paper explore each of these factors individually.


2.1 Access for the Masses

The ability to use information technologies effectively is one aspect of achieving success in today's society, both for individuals and for organizations as a whole. The current job market requires educated workers who are capable of changing and adapting as business and cultural realities shift and evolve in today's fast-paced, global economy (Kantar, 2001). Information technology is enabling the development of this kind of economic world structure. For more information logon to [http://www.instant-adsense-dollars.com]. It is also making possible the education of the workforce that this new economy requires by providing new capabilities for teaching and learning online.

Online education offers the promise of increased access to high quality education for the masses. Exactly how this is going to occur is not clear yet, but there is no doubt that online education is rapidly becoming an established modality. The development of the modern world economy demands an educated workforce. Places like the three It's (India, Indonesia, and Ireland) and more recently China, are finding that the need for an educated workforce is overwhelming the capabilities of their traditional educational systems. In America and Western Europe, the same economic and political pressures associated with 'equality of opportunity' contribute to demands for equal access to a quality education for all who seek it.