What if, while never stepping inside a classroom, one could still be able to access to some of the finest lectures, taught by preeminent professors from the most prestigious colleges in the world—without paying a cent?
Coursera, Udacity and EdX offer free online courses which can be taken by anyone, anytime and anywhere. This growing trend will have a definitive impact on brick and mortar colleges such as Boise State. If colleges such as ours do not get in step with swiftly moving developments in education, they may be left in the dust.
According to Nathan Morgan, a sophomore majoring in computer science, there are pros and cons to this method of having a fully online curricula.
“I think it’s easier to dedicate the time and energy to studies when you are physically present,” Morgan said. “At the same time, I’ve worked for the Army War College for eight years and online tutorials and training in the form of YouTube videos and online courseware were vital for learning the ins and outs of product updates and new releases. If a student has the willpower and dedication to make online learning work for them, it’s a great option.”
Senior Josh Tate, another computer science major, feels it would be a great way to offer some entry and mid-level classes for credit toward a degree. But he added, “I think the chances of academic dishonesty increase significantly with an online-only degree.”
Some students thrive in the interaction of traditional college while others are more prone to enjoy the pure online experience. There is a need for Boise State to think outside the current education norm by delving into the possibility of allowing international and U.S. students to graduate without setting foot on its Idaho campus.
Sadly, many professors simply are not up to the task, having nestled into their tenured, dogged pace.
They will be left far behind as their students realize their college education should be more of a consumer-driven commodity, rather than submitting to the dull emphasis of curricula forced upon them by staff who tarry behind in meeting the needs of current and upcoming Internet generations.
With the advent of a new venture by Khan Online University, sponsored by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson foundation for Idaho K-12 students, the program will herald new technological advancements for upcoming collegiate students.
According the aforementioned foundation, Sol Khan, Ph.D., presents his ideology as an investment in the student, rather than just the instructor.
“What is powerful about the Khan Academy pilots in Idaho is that they are showing that the model can be rethought using technology and that, ironically, the technology makes the classrooms more human for the teachers and students,” Khan said in an online statement.
If this project proves a success, Idaho will see children no longer restricted by teachers who are simply there for a paycheck or forcing them into tracks of disinterest. Each student who graduates will ignore the upper echelon of educators who refuse to technologically advance with them, therefore leaving the educators themselves irrelevant.
And as those pupils grow into university undergraduates, professors will be faced with even more tech-savvy students than before, thus lagging further behind with each generation of students dissatisfied with the uninspiring fare offered by standard
We are certainly not proposing our college should offer its classes for free. But if our own alma mater does not diverge to offer more cost-effective online classes and full online degrees, it may fall victim to the upcoming cannonade fast approaching on the academic horizon.