The internet is making it easier for more and more students across the globe to access world-class courses at the click of a mouse.
With the advent of internet technologies, knowledge has almost become free to students. From educational videos on Youtube to Khan Academy teaching elementary subjects and videos from TED talking on technologies; all are available free of cost. Now, students can download thousands of free ebooks of their choice from gutenberg.org. All they require is a PC with a reasonable broadband speed and the hunger to learn.
There is a vast knowledge database on the web from iTunesU for university students which can be accessed through iTunes. Many university course recordings can be watched not only for free but also as per students pace and convenience. Elementary and secondary school students can access 3,500 micro lectures across multiple subjects from Mathematics to computer science at Khan Academy — a non profit organisation.
“There is a paradigm shift in education with students’ accesses not only to course curriculum but also to recording lectures from the finest universities in the world. This ‘learning at home’ gives an edge to students in the competitive world and also provides value to the student for a focused research on a particular topic or subject of their choice,” says Ch Subba Raju, CEO, 1midea.
The most challenging aspect of online education is the consistency from the student in terms of learning. They may get carried away with other activities as there is no course duration or deadline set to complete the course, unlike in classrooms. This gap is filled by Coursera, a social entrepreneurship company, which partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for free. Not only does it have a deadline and a fixed duration for the course completion, but also gives assignments and gives a certificate acknowledging their course competition.
“To bridge the digital divide and take internet education to rural areas, there is a need for affordable internet connectivity with a low cost laptops or tablets,” adds Raju.