Can A Quality Educational Experience Be Delivered Online?

There is so much that students can do with the Internet. Not only can they communicate with international students, they can gain from others’ knowledge and experiences, participate in chatrooms, share ideas and solutions and learn about the many diverse cultures out there.

While the Internet does a lot for students, there are also benefits for parents and teachers. The interactive learning that the Internet provides can help students and parents with little or no English skills to learn English. Parents can become more involved in their children’s education by connecting the school with homes, libraries or other portals.

Next month, Stanford University will launch three free online courses – Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, Introduction to Databases and Machine Learning – that are open to all, taught by eminent scientists, involve study, homework and exams, and are rewarded with a ‘statement of accomplishment’, should you complete them. It’s been described as a ‘bold experiment in distributed education’, and so far more than 135,000 people have signed up to take the Artificial Intelligence class alone.

Universities began putting course material online using software such as Moodle, while organisations such as the Coventry-based Resource Development International (RDI) extended that by working in partnership with educational institutions to offer complete courses and degree qualifications via the internet. “The internet has been an absolute godsend for our students,” says Niall Sclater, director of learning, teaching and quality at the Open University. “There’s information instantly at their fingertips, there’s the ability to connect with other students and huge administrative benefits in terms of assessment. If the Open University had been founded today, the whole thing would have been formed around the internet.”