Pros & Cons: Using Social Network Sites for Education
It has been 5 years since a study was reported by the Huffington post about the debate going on with educators pertaining to the pros and cons of online education, and the use of social networks as it’s vehicle. Back then a Portland, Oregon teacher saw an increase in grades by 50% and noted that there were students completing more assignments that were given online, and not just for extra credit.
As technology has grown so has the pros and cons of online education. We have put together some here that may help you decide which is the right route for you or your student.
Security Has Been Enhanced
At the time of the study, the main focus was on security and the role of the teacher to make sure that the online environment was one that was safe for children to study in. Today, that problem has all but been eliminated with the development of education specific websites such as Canvas, where teachers can build a classroom structure that only allows the students in the class access with the use of passwords.
Universities around the country are developing distance courses, making them available for those students that need flexibility in their studies. Some Universities are mainly online which makes a degree more accessible across the country. They understand that today’s students are getting more attached to this type of platform and in order to compete they have to keep up with the technology. Facebook has even developed pages that teachers can use for classroom only discussions. It is up to the Teacher to sign up for this type of secure page.
The online platforms give students more options to be able to engage their peers, develop increased skills, and access a wider range of tools to use in their academic studies, but when the classes are centralized with only the students that are signed up for that class, distractions are not as prevalent. Students read the required work, and if a discussion is required, they have open discussion that the teacher has access to as the moderator. Having less distractions gives students more time for their brick and mortar classes and the opportunity to find a job if they desire.
Although not in the #1 position as an advantage, money is the biggest plus when it comes to online learning. Students can find so many classes that are free. Classes that are offered by some of the most prominent schools, which are called MOOCS (Massive open online courses). For a full listing go to moocs.co. Here you can find apps and resources that lead to many free online courses.
Not only Universities have jumped on the online school bandwagon, publish school is also increasing their online presence. K-12 is the most popular website for parents that have decided to home school their children. All of the supplies are free.
Responsibility Level Increases
Students that take online classes have a very flexible schedule. Although, the syllabus clearly gives them times that they must engage with each other online, this usually within a given week, not a given day. With an Internet connection, students have the ability to sign on anywhere, even from the beach, and get their work done. Students begin to learn self-discipline by turning in papers online and on time, or many of the platforms, such as Canvas will lock them out of the program.
No Job Stoppage
Earning a degree online keeps you working at your present job. Your employer will be happy to know that you are showing ambition by taking classes and working at the same time. They may even offer some sort of incentive for doing so.
Technical Skills Enhanced
The level of systems that you have to utilize can be a maze in the mind of someone new to the online world, but when you do it every day in order to work on your projects, you become an asset to your job. You can train new people on the use of software that you now handle due to your online presence. LMS’s, learning management systems, help develop skills such as document creation, audio and video development, learning to understand and completing training sessions etc.
Because networking is so important in the business world, this is the number one disadvantage we wanted to list. You will have classmates that you have online discussions with, and you may have one-on-one interaction with your professor mostly through e-mail. However, there is nothing like face-to-face interaction when it comes to networking and getting to know people in brick and mortar classrooms.
You Professor: Access
As mentioned above, you may not see your professor unless there is a problem with your work. When you are in a classroom, sometimes those non-verbal cues that your professor gives during a lecture are just as important as verbal ones.
In a traditional classroom you get practice in public speaking when developing presentations, this is not possible with online learning. You are limited to how much interaction that is possible within the frame of your online class. Some classes don’t have any interaction at all. There is just a list of projects to turn in on designated days.
Many Universities give you the key to the city so to speak when you attend their campuses. You are able to utilize the learning labs, the computer rooms and access tutors. If you are only taking one or two classes online but still have the rest on campus, these facilities are still open to you, but with a school that is strictly online, you miss out on these great tools. For online writing services you still have great access tools online.
These and many other pros and cons are available to search and will become available as the online experience grows. It has tripled in the last 15 years and the 10-year outlook is looking better for this type of academic engagement.
The shift is already permanently in place around the country. Some schools are building additions such as Culinary Pavilions and Theater additions to provide more room for the types of classes that cannot be taught online. You can’t very well teach a Culinary student what it smells like when fish is not right for a restaurant through a monitor screen, or how to correctly block a scene in a play without hands on instruction.