Online education is a process of learning and teaching through the Internet. Over the years, the World Wide Web has expanded ideas and information, making them more accessible to people wherever they are. With audio and visual technologies, the Internet has allowed the creation of a more effective, faster instructional system called the network, which makes distance learning possible. To build a network in order to unite the distance learning teacher with the student, both need only a satellite, cable modem, digital subscriber lines (DSL), or wireless cables. But before these technologies came about and made a difference in learning methods, online education seemed to just be a vague picture around twenty years ago.
It was in the early 1980s that cable and satellite television became the primary media for distance education courses. Over time, the computer industry grew; and educational institutions used multimedia programs, the PowerPoint being the most popular one, in order to enhance teaching techniques in the hopes that students can easily absorb lessons. In mid-1990s, the Internet happened, and online education started to become a part of everyone’s way of life. At first, e-training companies only rendered online training courses for business entities that did not prefer in-house trainers for their employees. However, as the technology advanced, online classes and college courses ultimately became the next big thing. And up to now, we continue to witness the evolution of distance learning and online education, the changes of which have resulted to a lot of benefits.
What basically sets online education apart from traditional face-to-face education is the technological separation of teachers and students. Online education saves students from the burden of actually going to a certain place at a certain time to meet his professor in order to learn. The two-way Internet-based communication systems that comprise a great streaming media, online video access, and fast web servers allow students to learn at home or someplace else at their own time. This enables students to keep on earning their respective university degrees through ways they see more efficient and effective. If they wish to study while working, then taking college courses online could be their best option. However, every option has its pros and cons and perhaps the major downside of online education is the lack of interaction that is naturally present in traditional classes. Online courses may be flexible for one’s study and work schedules, but it may also limit social skills that contribute into making a well-rounded individual. That is why online education must be balanced with a good amount of interaction as learners do tasks aside from studying.
All are unique individuals with distinct methods to gain knowledge. And the fact is that online education has become an adaptive means for education pursuits for many people; high technologies such as the computers and Internet play an essential part in the educational system. The future of education, specifically for college programs and degree courses, holds a more accessible and wider range of educational and research opportunities.