Online Learning: Yay or Nay?

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Online learning may have brought us a step closer to education of the future but according to career counsellor and educational consultant Marc Scheer (2010), our society still has reservations about the credibility and effectiveness of online degrees. Indeed, we have reason to doubt the feasibility of online degrees because if we were to replace the experience of campus-based teaching curriculum with completely virtual ones, the quality of the learning experience will be severely compromised. Society also views online degrees with much scepticism, and rightfully so, because there to this date, there is no globally recognized regulating body for the accreditation of institutes offering online degrees. The United States has many Regional Accreditation agencies which are internally “self-regulatory” and “peer-reviewed based” (U.S. Regional Accreditation: An Overview, n.d.). However, what we need is a standardized and transparent set of guidelines that the most academic institutions around the world acknowledge, at the very least an imitation of the role the U.S. Food and Drug Administration functions in the biomedical industry.

Apart from just a preference for traditional degrees over online ones (Carenvale, 2005), employers have been known to discriminate between degrees from a well-established university and a solely Internet university like Stanford (How do employers view online degrees, 2011) which may highlight the limitations current online degrees have in providing a holistic education experience.

No doubt it is only a matter of time before technology becomes sophisticated enough to enhance and carry out most activities previously only achievable in a traditional classroom, the one thing that technology cannot replace is the physical aspect of interaction that produces “legitimate social bonding” (Thompson et al, 1998). No amount of technology can replace the camaraderie and euphoria when your football team wins the inter-varsity games or the...
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