Online education has exploded in popularity over the last decade. In 2013, the total enrollment of online students is expected to surpass 20 million in the United States. This is an incredibly impressive figure when you consider that this technology was virtually non-existent in the no-so-distant past. The growth of online education has made striking impact on the world as we know it.
Access to Higher Education for All
Traditionally, the ability to obtain a college degree was reserved for those from affluent backgrounds or those with exceptional intellectual abilities. The average blue-collar worker never had the time or money to pursue a college education. Today, online universities have changed the status quo by creating access to higher education for the lowest income levels and backgrounds. As time goes by, this same technology may be used to educate some of the poorest nations in the world.
Connecting People from All Walks of Life
Online classes rely on a high level of group participation. This requirement brings together people from a diverse range of backgrounds. The conversations, teamwork, and collaboration found in online discussions force students to open up to diversity like never before.
Disrupting the Traditional University System
The typical four-year university has been turned upside down by the innovations created by online schools. For example, Arizona State University has rolled out an extensive online degree program that is modeled directly after for-profit educators. Many other schools are following this business model and there is fierce competition to recruit new students for these new online departments.
Sparked a Worldwide Debate
Many people ask the question… Is online school really an effective way to educate people? This debate has been popular for as long as online schools have been around. By most accounts, the answer to this question has been an overwhelming YES. However, the debate rages on and there are still many studies in progress regarding the effectiveness of online schooling.
A Highly Educated USA (In Progress)
Online schools will be a major contributing factor to a United States where every adult has a four-year college diploma. Without a strong online education system, it would be simply impossible to maintain a workforce and a highly educated population. If you can think of other ways online education has changed the world, please contribute in the comments.