Online Education is a rapidly growing field within a highly competitive educational market. With the advances in technology over the last several years, more universities are offering an online curriculum to a diverse range of students. The increased demand for an educated workforce; has increased the need for additional means of education beyond the traditional in-classroom experience. Due to this increased demand, institutions are being tasked with developing a reputable form of online education. The program needs to meet the needs of the faculty responsible for delivering the material, a growing student base, and also prospective employers. This study will look at the perspectives and problems faced by both the faculty and students as this medium for education continues to grow. In doing so, we will take a brief look at the history of online education and how its growth has affected students and faculty, both negatively and positively.
Colaris, Gibson and Harris (2008) defined distance education as asynchronous or remote; computer based, and has an instructional system that supports it. Contrary to what many people believe today, distance education did not begin with the electronic age. The first recorded instance of this form of education was much earlier. Distance education began in the United States as early as the 1800s, when the University of Chicago introduced the first major correspondence by mail program based on the fact that the teacher and student were in different locations (Seibold, 2007). From these early beginnings, distance education has thrived in the U.S. for many reasons such as the expansive geographical distance between U.S. citizens from institutions, the great thirst of our citizens for education, and technologies’ rapid advancement (Casey, 2008). The technological advancement can be seen while tracing the origins of distance education. From the time of the first correspondence program in Chicago, technology has played a major role in the advancement of distance education. During the World Wars, our federal government granted radio broadcasting licenses to over 200 universities. This in turn allowed the use of radio as a medium to provide education delivery to flourish. By the early 1940’s, several schools were using both radio and mail correspondence to educate their students (Seibold, 2007). By the 1970’s and thru the 80’s cable and satellite television became a popular form of educational delivery to distance education students. With the invention of the World Wide Web in 1992, a form of distance education referred to as online education has now become readily accessible (Harasim, 2000). One can define online learning courses as a course that has at least 80% of the content delivered via the internet without traditional classroom interactions (Dykman & Davis, 2008). Over the past 20 years, the innovations and technological advancement of the internet has caused an exponential growth and expansion in the delivery of online education. While at first glance this may seem like a positive advancement, there are many problems associated with this new form of distance education. This paper will focus on the growth of this online learning aspect of distance education and will address these perceived pros and cons, along with the perspectives of faculty and students alike. LITERATURE REVIEW
Dykman and Davis (2008) wrote a series of three papers and in the second one, used for this research paper, the focus was answering the question of how online teaching is different from conventional methods. The article discusses topics including online course planning and organization, teaching constraints and guidelines, tutorials versus lectures, relationships among teachers and students, and student performance assessments.
Bejerano (2008) looked at the increasing trend among colleges...