Quote:Are Teachers Becoming Obsolete?
How the Internet is slowly replacing formal education
By Scott Ijaz
From good-natured websites that provide free medical advice, to disturbing ones that explain how to build a firework bomb out of an onion and tin foil, digital dilettantes can learn all sorts of things by surfing the Web. Students often use the Internet's broad array of information to educate themselves.
By presenting course material as a teacher would, websites cater to students who prefer teaching themselves by simplifying the self-education process.
Selfscholar.com organizes and connects students with academic tools and resources. The website provides links for free downloadable textbooks, assembles learning communities comprised of students from all over the world who are interested in learning the same topic, and even has a section that teaches languages. Selfscholar.com also has a feature that allows its "students" to instant message a live tutor.
Mike Spuzzilo, a second year mechanical engineering major, said about the site, "Everything you need is in one spot. If I come across a tough homework problem, I can type it into YouTube," he said, adding, "A digital teacher will appear, taking me step by step with a similar problem."
Spuzzilo remarked that the process makes more sense to him. "I learn easier that way," he said.
He notes that the Internet better meets his needs. "[The resources online] are accessible whenever you can get an Internet connection. University teachers can only help out as their schedule permits. It is much more convenient," Spuzzilo said.
Top tier schools like The London School of Economics, MIT and Yale embrace the advent of self-educational websites through Open Course Software. Open Course Software streams recorded lectures from the classroom into the audience's room. The Internet viewer who doesn't drop a dime experiences the same explanations as the students in the classroom who pay high-end tuition dollars.
Nathan Shubick, a second year student studying physics, better comprehended the online explanation than the classroom's. "I went to the oyc.yale.edu, and listened to one of their teachers explain the same material on a podcast," remarked Shubick.
Shubick favored the Internet source over his classroom teacher. "Turns out, the Yale professor authored the textbook which my university teacher refers to in class. It was easier to learn coming from the horse's mouth," he said.
With such an ample and diverse array of resources, students question emptying their pockets to pay for university tuition if the same material is accessible on the Internet without charge.
Karen Diaz, the librarian at OSU responsible for managing online courses, emphasized...