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article imageOp-Ed: Why online schools could be the future of education

By Simon Crompton     Mar 27, 2014 in Lifestyle
You hear the controversy in the news on an almost daily basis. The cost of a four-year university degree continues to rise at rates unimaginable by the middle class, often sending it out of range for many.
Yet, with the demand for higher education required to support a new breed of careers, people need the training and coursework provided at the college and university level to compete with what is now a global marketplace for job seekers.
To address this issue, several private companies have emerged from the explosion of the Internet scene, offering educational tools, coursework, and fully accredited degrees, sharing access to higher education to many at a cost that is much lower than a traditional college.
One example is Khan Academy, an online education forum that features short video clip tutorials explaining complex concepts in simple terms. Sal Khan, creator of Khan Academy, started this highly successful venture as an easy way to help his niece in math. He quickly realized that this method of reaching out to students, wherever they are, was becoming increasingly popular, and allowed for people to learn in a way that best suited them.
Khan Academy has since grown to offer tutorials and courses in Science, Economics, and Humanities, standardized test preparation, and offers partner content with renowned educational institutions such as The Brookings Institution, Stanford School of Medicine, and The Museum of Modern Art.
Online education brings to the table a myriad of benefits that is rapidly expanding its popularity. Many online schools that offer laptops are popular for that reason. Online education universities such as University of Phoenix, Capella, and Kaplan University offer a variety of degrees that can be completed online. The tuition tends to be more affordable than that at an actual college and this method offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of schedules and payment options.
Traditional universities have been offering online coursework for several years, helping students enroll and attend classes on a more flexible basis. However, they still required students to attend on-campus classes and officially be enrolled on campus. Now, with the emergence of so many degree options online, these traditional institutions find that they must also make a transition to online education in order to stay competitive.
Universities such as Harvard, Drexel, Stanford, Princeton, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have all transformed their traditional format to include online options to support education. Specifically, Harvard, UC-Berkeley and MIT have collaborated on a project to create EdX, a non-profit that offers online courses given from one of the three universities, free of charge, even for people not enrolled in a degree program.
Online education may not fully replace attending college, but it is rapidly finding wide acceptance amongst those that need a more affordable way to get the degree they need to succeed in a field of their choice. Tradition options are becoming limited as tuition costs continue to rise.
Online education will grow in popularity as its acceptance increases and the quality and variety of options offered grow. It offers everyone access to a four-year degree, at places they might otherwise may not have been able to consider.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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