I have always found attempts to modernize the education process rather annoying and just plain silly. Sure, Schoolhouse Rock might have worked for some, but only on a wave of retro appeal or nostalgia.
I have always found attempts to modernize the education process rather annoying and just plain silly. Sure, Schoolhouse Rock might have worked for some, but only on a wave of retro appeal or nostalgia. In general, efforts to make textbooks more engaging or have mathematics taught via hip-hop should be halted. Whatever happened to learning from challenge and general interest?
However, I don’t apply this notion to the issue of online education.
The Vanguard recently reported that one form of online education, the hybrid course, has been receiving positive results. Such courses offer the best of both worlds, taking half of what would be done in class and moving it online. Having both methods working hand in hand offered students an avenue to the material that best fit their learning style and ability. For example, students who might not engage in class discussions had no problem speaking out online. A teacher once told me that a Victorian mother didn’t raise her child like a Medieval mother, or a mother of the 20th century. They didn’t train or teach alike because the times and cultures were different and each culture had its own way of doing things and thinking. We are now facing such an age where we must admit that the times have changed, and our culture along with it. We don’t learn like we once did.
Computers and other technology have become engrained within our society and, more importantly, our businesses. The businesses in our society rely upon and actively use modern technology as do, for example, our military. It’s everywhere.
We interact perhaps as much online as we do in person. A variety of media, including TV and computers, shape how we take in information and in turn process it. Given how we now learn and communicate, why would we expect to slow down and change how we operate to get an education? It is almost as if we have to relearn how to, well, learn.
Once upon a time, a fraction of students could leave home immediately after high school and go to a university where they had access to a well-rounded education that not only taught skills, but enlightened the students on a number of intellectual fronts. Four years later, they would be molded into top thinkers and doers of society. But that was then.
Today, students are lucky to get through college in one shot or even in four years. More and more people are heading into universities across America. College degrees are becoming more common, though the need for workers and innovators in a variety of fields remains. To think that our centers of education should continue an outdated model is absurd. It is like trying to teach people how to fix a Model T, when everyone is driving Priuses and SUVs.
Our universities need to focus on cranking out an educated and skilled populace—one that can move society and the country forward. Teaching applicable skills is the key and the way we teach these skills can be essential to this end. Online education programs exist within the spectrum of our modern civilization. They operate in the manner of communication that is becoming ever more so common.
This is not to say that sitting in a lecture course has no use. There will always be an essential need for listening, reading and studying the old fashioned way. Though we should not forget the wisdom of past educational methods, we should also not neglect our educational future.