Despite this being the second decade of the new millennium, education is a myth for many countries across the world. This is especially true in the case of higher education and specialised studies. In addition to the absence of a holistic educational system, there are many educational myths that cause more harm than good. An example of this is the strong bias against distance education. With the arrival of the internet and the World Wide Web, education was now available in the most remote areas, the most war torn countries, the most underdeveloped sections of society, but this mythical bias left few takers. Thankfully, many educators across the globe are working to dispel any wrong notions about studying online.
The usual suspects, when it comes to criticizing online education, are the following:
- The quality of teaching is not good.
- The exams are too easy and only academically poor students choose such courses.
- The student studies alone, without any help.
- Employers don’t accept degrees earned through distance education.
Out of all these, none of them are true anymore. Course materials are being developed by the best and the brightest educators at universities that rank as the best centres of education in the world; exams are either open book or proctored and various other methods of assessments like reports and papers are a must; students can now associate with other students (via social media) across the globe and develop an international educational support system while teachers are available on audio or video chat and through e-mails. And the last stereotype about employers couldn’t be farthest from the truth. In fact, employers encourage existing employees to enhance their knowledge by studying online.
Once one can look past these misconceptions about online education, one will be able to see how immensely helpful it is and how it can become the educational backbone of developing nations and bring them at par with other nations. For example, think of Nigeria. A country steeped in political turmoil and social unrest, its education system has been unable to provide a quality education to those who want to pursue higher academics with the intention of bettering their lives. Those that have access to the internet can find details about the online courses conducted by renowned universities. Armed with a global degree, students of such courses would have the capacity to not only change their own lives, but the lives of others around them. It could lead to the birth of a new generation that can work towards the development of its country.