Innovations have critically led the mankind into a new era that is filled with exciting opportunities shaping the ways of living. With emergence of new methods the access to information has made it lot easier for the people to become competitive in their approach. Internet for so long has become the leader in the provision of information and plays a major role in the communication processes as well. The evolution of internet has greatly impacted education in its every mean. The days are gone when students have to physically present into the classrooms where now they can access their computers to take their lectures and submit assignments. The previous term of Distance Learning has now evolved into Online Learning and currently many universities are providing these kinds of learning facilities to their students who are unable to attend classes. More importantly online education has become a profitable business as well like formal education and there are many universities that provide dominant portion of their education through internet likewise University of Phoenix and Capella University (Johnson, 2005). However, whenever the evolution of science and technology has taken place it has provided with some consequences as well. On one way where it is believed that internet has shaped the ways of communication, it is also stated that it has helped the ways of learning. But still apart from all the benefits, online education is one of the considered drawbacks of internet where everyday thousand new students enroll into universities to get degrees but in the end find out they have wasted their time because they haven’t practically learnt anything. Therefore theme of this paper is, “University degrees via the internet is not the way of the future because it has considerable flaws in whole of its operation which limit the learning of the students entirely which is its integral part”. Currently the online education provision is becoming a major source of education in many countries where federal budgets are provided to open online universities. This paper will directly analyze how the online education is not worthy as compared to formal education.
Online learning is becoming very common in the educational landscape and the proponents of this education method believe that it is the way to the future. The ease with which the resources and information is gained from internet is not hidden where hundreds of thousands of people each day access many websites full of articles and many online libraries that somehow help them do what they have to in order to complete assignments and proposals. However, this fact is not hidden as well which describes that science and technology evolution always put forward some hazards in conjunction with the benefits. However, in the end it comes to the personal preferences where students like either face to face education or online learning. Perspectives of both have different advantages and disadvantages. The traditional education requires that students should attend the classes at pre-organized schedule based on the availability of the instructor. The instructor then delivers the lectures in real time trying to evaluate his different objectives. The presence of mind for both makes it easy for the instructor to know what is he teaching and the students have a better chance to understand what is being taught to them. In this mode of instruction, the skills generation is much better and the results are quite obvious as well because traditional education has given students different real skills which they can easily implement in their daily life. In this instruction mode students have to concentrate and have the facility to ask questions as the instructor moves forward with the lectures. This point seems less emphasized, but in reality this is how the student starts to learn effectively. The point of all this traditional education is to make student compatible in the future competitive environment which they can’t learn through online learning. The books can be read at home and so does the lectures but this cannot provide the real practical knowledge which students learn in a competitive environment in the classroom (Johnson, 2005). The traditional education has a curriculum that revolves around the instructor. The instructor has the responsibility to make it understood to the student in every possible way, therefore when students get to classes they are pretty sure that when they will leave classes they have learnt something which is quite contrary to the online education. Online education seems to lure with various benefits including no time schedule and ease of learning procedures but this is its biggest drawback. In online education students are not dependent upon the teachers. They have to go through slides and lectures provided by the university and it in the end is their responsibility to understand those lectures. More important point of debate is the interpretation. During traditional classes the teacher knows which points need emphasizes and which don’t and he can easily make students to interpret what is important. This is where face to face learning plays an important role in further careers of the students. Researchers believe that online learning is fine only when there are some constraints on the part of students and more importantly only when the student has the skills where he can understand on his own and these understanding skills can only established with the traditional learning. Therefore it is quite easy to state that face to face learning is far better than the online learning.
Another important aspect of the education requires the high motivation level. According to the social learning theory the motivation plays an important role in the completion of any task and the agents that act as motivation have to be strong enough that could guarantee the continuity of any action (Dewey, 1938). For every human action regardless of the nature motivation and inspiration play a crucial role. In educational perspectives the motivation levels have ups and downs and students require continuous inspirations to keep hands. Traditional learning provides better motivation levels and opportunities as compared to online learning. In classroom education students have to keep up with the schedule and in order to do so they have to work hard. Any failed result will consequently hamper their educational career. More importantly the environment that is created in the schools and the classrooms is very competitive where each student wants to get better grades. Apart from this the students foresee better future and the investment that is being done make them reluctant to always get indulged into the studies. This perspective of education is clearly absent in the online learning because there is no check and balance and there is no one who is keeping an eye on them (Johnson, 2005). Online universities like University of Phoenix imply that they use guidance counselors for every student regardless of his origin and level of his study. This guidance counselor keeps a close eye on the student’s results and progress throughout his educational career with their university. However, the results that have been observed are quite useless because the students still don’t care much about their grades and other stuff. The most important thing for them is attainment of a university degree and they most probably get it after studying for the required time in the university. In fact if the comparison between two forms of education is done with actual results it becomes quite clear that online education doesn’t stand a chance against hands on experience of the traditional classroom is each and every aspect. The motivation creation in the internet learning is nothing real but the motivation in the classroom education is pretty guaranteed. As stated before that the ups and downs in the educational life is quite common for the students, therefore when the internet learning is on cards, the students have to be self motivated (Allen, 2008). The self motivation factor is still present in the classroom education but there are different agents present which always trigger the motivation level even if it is not up to the level. Access to friends and libraries and meetings with teachers makes it easy for these students to get back on track quite early in a better manner. These things are quite absent in the online learning because there is no one who will be taking a look at your social side which plays a major role in any completion of task (Beck, 2009).
There are many other negative aspects of the online education. It has been observed lately that students use illegal means for the completion of their assignments. This situation is very common in the students but much more in those who are enrolled in online learning programs. There are millions of websites available on internet that provides students the facilities to complete assignments on their behalf. The situation of University of Phoenix is far more vulnerable. As the traditional infrastructure is missing in the University of Phoenix, students are free to use these services. Since teacher is unable to meet the student physically, he is unable to make any assumptions on the abilities and skills of a particular student (Johnson, 2005). The student therefore asks someone else to write an essay for him and the teacher will never know. Another aspect of this teaching is the inability of the students to complete their assignments as well. Research has shown that online degree students are much prone to the situations when a difficult assignment is given to them because they lack the ability to complete their assignments as they cannot interpret different situations arising in the assignment (Terrace, 1963). Take an example of a financial analysis assignment where student has to distinctively provide the summary of the financial condition of a company. The lectures that are provided to the students look at some basic formulas but not complex equations. In this situation they cannot turn to their teachers because none of them is available. They cannot get tutoring as well because if they could have they wouldn’t have chosen the online learning option. The simple solution to this problem is outsourcing your assignment to someone who can work for them by paying a small price. This culture is very obvious in the University of Phoenix or Capella University where even the students of psychology and sociology have no understanding of what they are being taught. The get the assignments, outsource them and then upload them to their mailboxes provided by the universities. On the other hand, though this trend is also present in the traditional students, but the major reason for most of them is the unavailability of the time. They know what they require and over course of time they have learnt how to solve difficult mathematical equations but because of some undue constraints they don’t have time to complete this. This aspect on the whole can be the most destructive part of the online education where the students don’t know what they are learning and eventually they have no knowledge of their degree, however, they can easily showcase this degree in their resume which could be beneficial but consequently the whole meaning of learning is wasted (Black, 1995). What is the benefit of this education if students don’t know what the research methods are and how they can access the libraries, what is plagiarism and what are the benefits of this degree and if they don’t know what they are being taught? This critical aspect of online learning makes it an inappropriate mode of education and this cannot bear same fruits as born by the traditional learning (Mazur, 2006).
Is online degree accepted by the employers? This question inhibits all the aspects of online education. It is being stated that online learning is the way to the future where all the people will soon be taking classes. But can anyone emphasize on the fact that whether or not these degrees are accepted by the employers. The answer simply in majority is no. The employers never seem reluctant to hire anyone who has the online degree. There are many more reasons that are explained above. Online degree is merely a piece of paper which cannot describe the abilities of the students to cope into a real practical environment. Everyone knows how these things work out because the infrastructure of these institutes is not hidden from anyone. Research shows that some people were hired by employers but the results they obtained restrained them to hire someone else with an online degree (Allen, 2008). How can a psychologist treat his patients where during his education he has never confronted someone who had psychic problems? Or how can a personal be a sports counselor where previously he hasn’t been able to observe the conditions of the sportspersons during tough times. This is all done through practical experiences and on the hands on knowledge. The traditional education provides the students access to certain facilities which play an important role in the completion of their practical responsibilities and this whole object is missing in the online learning, then how can it be the way to the future when it has no benefits in the real life? The debate continues and continues where the proponents of the online learning still believe that it has benefits for many people.
The trend of fake degrees has also emerged as a problem recently. Students are quite reluctant to get involve into these scams as it offers them better opportunities. One of the drawbacks of the online universities is that they are not recognized by the governing bodies all the way. Some states recognize these degrees and some not. In most cases when the degree is recognized, the problem is to check whether the degree is real or not. Because most of the employers are not indulged into recognition of online degrees, they simply refuse the jobs even if it seems that the students are qualified. This situation has also allowed the promise of generating fake degrees to prevail where students tend to give hefty amounts to these online institutions and get degrees in learn. This is a pity at its highest level where the online students at first place don’t know what they have learnt, and secondly the degrees are being sold with no basic knowledge. This is how the trends are working for the online educational institutes who believe in themselves for the provision of the competitive degrees and are shaping the way of the future.
The policy of the online universities is to prefer the on job students. This has been successful for them in recent years where the trend shows that most of the students who enroll into the online educational institutes are working (Beck, 2009). This seems a benefit but it is nothing more than a serious drawback and consequence. The working students get easily lure into these universities because they feel that they will get a university degree by not attending fulltime classes. In fact this is the only benefit of the online universities which they have used as their sole power but still it worth nothing more than a piece of paper (Bloom, 1956). Research shows that continuing education is very important for the career growth but people tend to do things which cannot bear them fruits in the future perspectives. This means that if the students are enrolling in the online programs, they are virtually wasting their time and money because no one will observe these degrees as competitive (Hiltz, 1990). The better approach in these situations can be to enroll into part time programs but preferably in the traditional educational institutes.
The technical skills that are being required for the online education are another hazard for this way of future. It has been found out that the people who are not related to the internet or computer field have to face many problems to keep up with this computer education. Students have to learn computers even if their degree has no relation with its use. The presence of internet in many countries is still a big issue therefore; this means that if there is no internet there will be no education which limits its behavior as a real approach as well. The limiting approach of the online learning is one of its serious drawbacks as well (Mason, 1989).
The researches show that online universities like University of Phoenix charge the fees comparable to the traditional universities. It is found that per course charges at University of Phoenix is around $1500 which is closed to $1800 offered at the traditional universities (Allen, 2008). The problem then arises that why these online universities are still preferred in the situation where they provide no extra benefits for the students? It seems that people are not worried about the future aspects of their degrees or this can also be said that they are not aware of the consequences as they might also have been lured by these universities or may be recommended by their friends who may be getting education from traditional architectural universities (Mazur, 2006). It can also be said that unavailability of the time is the major reason for the people to turn to computers and get online education because apart from this nothing seems to be the real reason for the high enrollments that take place every year in the online universities in many countries.
The above analysis of the internet education describes its various disadvantages. It is quite clear that online universities are not a suitable place to get an education on which future career is dependent. The competitiveness that is currently present in the whole world requires that extra skills must be learnt through jobs and learning but this doesn’t mean that enrolling into something will help get a better job or a better resume (Black, 1995). The prominent factor of conventional educational institutes is their ability to generate graduates who have experience and have the knowledge to cope with pressures in the real world because of the study schedules that are built on hand on technical knowledge which is quite evidently missing in the online learning. Online education seems useless even at its first phase where many employers don’t hire them just because they believe they don’t have the capabilities to survive in the competitive world because they haven’t learnt practically. The online education doesn’t provide motivation, it doesn’t provide healthy environment necessary for the nourishment of a competitive graduate. The degrees are not recognized in most of the states as well because these states don’t observe online learning as a learning itself. Students also pay hefty amount of money for every course in addition to what they have to pay for outsourcing their assignments where at the same time with same price they can get quality education with access to physical teachers and friends and an environment that makes it easy for them to learn and propel through their future career. If these are the disadvantages of the online learning, it should be avoided at all costs because it is nothing more than a piece of paper which cannot discriminate the students from those who have been a part of the traditional education system.
The paper distinctively focuses at the drawbacks of the online learning by following its theme. The paper clearly identifies the critical educational infrastructure online universities are providing to their students.