Just over a decade ago, enrolling at a nearby college or university was the only choice people had when it came to higher education. This meant that working adults, who didn’t have a school nearby offering night classes, could not pursue their degree-seeking goals. With the advent of the Internet, many working adults were able to get the education that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Understanding how the Internet is shaping education can help to explain why thousands of schools are now opening up their degree programs online.
The Internet Increases Enrollment While Saving Students Money
When educational institutions decide to offer online programs, they invite students from all over the world to enroll. Students who want to receive a master of engineering management, for instance, can now do so no matter where they live. This means the educational institution makes more money from tuition and other fees they wouldn’t have if those students weren’t able to take courses. With this increased income, schools are able to offer more educational tools, courses and learning opportunities to students.
The benefit isn’t one-sided either. Students seeking online degree programs save money. While they have to pay tuition, they don’t have to pay for transportation costs and parking fees. They also don’t have to reduce their work schedules or even quit their jobs. Students are able to continue their full-time employment and seek their higher education from basically anywhere.
The Internet Enhances Technology Skills
With online education, working with technology is a given. Students now are highly technical. This dependence on technology is pervasive in all aspects of education. The future of education will likely turn to eBooks instead of textbooks, online testing instead of testing centers, and emailing electronic assignments rather than turning in a paper or exam.
With all of these changes, students and administrators must adjust and develop the necessary skills to proficiently work with the technology. As an additional benefit, students graduate with the skills they need to get higher-paying jobs when they enter the workforce.
The Internet Develops More Leaders in Less Time
According to the Pew Research Center, “higher education will vigorously adopt new teaching approaches, propelled by opportunity and efficiency as well as student and parent demands.”
With online education serving more people than traditional education ever could, the number of people with degrees will increase. For this reason, there will be more people seeking higher-paying leadership positions. With this increase in people seeking such roles, companies will be able to grow faster, which will then open more opportunities for leadership.
The Role of Social Media in Education
An advancement that hasn’t quite struck yet, as far as online education is concerned, is the part of social media. People quickly turn to Twitter, Facebook and other popular social networking sites to connect with those also enrolled in their degree programs. Many experts, such as technology author and consultant Fred Hapgood, believe that integrating online education with social networking can be of great benefit; however, integrated social media (for things such as group activities) and education doesn’t come without challenges. Hapgood and other experts believe schools will meet this challenge, which will lead them to further success in online education.
The Internet and Education: A Promising Future
With millions of people turning to online education due to its accessibility and cost-effectiveness, the professional world itself is evolving. Educational institutions are not falling behind with these changes. These institutions are responding by offering more and more online programs. With advancements in technology happening every day, colleges and universities that offer online courses will embrace the challenge ahead.
Author info: Michaela Davis is a grad student who investigated several online MBA degree programs thoroughly before deciding on her current degree path. Getting her education online has been the best fit for her life.