Jay’s Corner

Education in the digital age, part 2.

jahan Choudry002

Jahan Choudhry Ba(hons) PG/DTLLS shares his thoughts with us on education in the digital age, based on 15 years teaching experience of English for Academic Purposes , including at Regents University, London. He currently supports students with their blended and online learning experience at ABS.

 

In my previous blog: http://apsley.eu/jays-corner-25012015/

I spoke about how the internet and the digital age has changed education from being one where the educator was physically separated from those being educated whereas now technology exists to overcome that separation with the educator being able to speak directly to people regardless of how far away they are i.e. skype and other similar software.

So what does this mean for the education process?

First of all let us not get too carried away. Educators may not have been able to speak physically in audio form to people miles away in the past but they could "speak" to them in the form of their "speech" being recorded in books. What students could not hear they could read in books. Obviously they could not ask a teacher for simultaneous explanation or clarifications as they could in a face-to-face lesson and nothing can ever compensate the physical face to face learning experience for a multitude of diverse reasons.

Universities have had non-physical courses, sometimes called correspondence courses, where students in the past would read the educational material, study it and later do the exams without the support of a lecturer ever teaching them personally. In fact one of the British prime ministers of the recent past is a graduate of such a correspondence course, namely John Major. Major after completing this course went on to serve in all three major positions of the British government as head of the economy (chancellor), head of foreign policy (foreign minister) and then the premiership itself.

Source (Linda Nylind for the Guardian- link at foot of blog)

So it would be a complete fallacy to imagine that the internet totally revolutionizes education in way never witnessed before in previous history, in fact as mentioned above there have been correspondence degrees but also radio and television have been used to educate students not in physical proximity to a "teacher", with Britain's "Open University" exemplifying the use of television for such purposes. The internet just expands this already existent phenomena but with an additional medium i.e online learning.

So how are universities dealing with his? Well many universities have not reacted in a noticeable way but some universities or colleges have including those specializing in MBAs, i.e. Masters in Business Administration. Distance-based learning of any sort be it postal, radio, television or online can never replace physical face-to-face learning but it can supplement it and open opportunities to those who for various reasons cannot access it whether it be due to lack of time e.g. working professionals, those with health and mobility issues and also those who have financial difficulties.

Universities, which are becoming more and more commercialized due to the demands of an ever increasingly more competitive world and educational "market", are reacting to a demand out there for online MBAs. Another sector of education which has been impacted greatly by the increasing availability of the internet and instantaneous international online communication (e.g. skype) is the language learning sector. This, the impact of the internet and the digital age, on education is something which cannot be reversed but has to be embraced and harnessed for the benefit of all parties involved including the students and their educators.

 

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/apr/03/theatre-book-prize-shortlist-major

Disclaimer: All images are copyright of the original publication and www.guardian.co.uk- Apsley Business School holds no responsibility for any claims nor information held on external sites.

 

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