Distance Education became apparent after making its first appearance back in the 1990's and quickly gaining popularity among college students of all types. Most colleges in the U.S., South Korea, and elsewhere in the world have since introduced hybrid courses to take advantage of learning outside of the classroom in addition to the time within the classroom. Before it was believed that the future of the classroom was located in front of computer screen, however, the new image is evolving into a mixture of computer plus classroom. E-learning has its advantages and disadvantages to students and colleges.
Students are seeking out courses in which most of their "class time" can be spent interacting online. This is mainly due to the flexibility it offers. In addition, it opens opportunities to those who normally cannot attend courses in a classroom. The continuing of education for all ages enables those who are caring for children or elders, individuals who have less flexible work schedule, parents, etc. to advance academically. E-learning and hybrid courses give hope to those who otherwise might not have the opportunity to excel in the classroom alone.
In the case of hybrid courses, it takes one style of learning and mixes it with another. The classroom introduces directed learning while the online portion advances independent and self-motivated learners. The online classroom is supplemental and provides learning opportunities beyond what students could obtain before. It feeds the knowledge hungry brain with multiple outlets for expression.
For those who believe that the full-time face-to-face interaction cannot be replaced, it is essential to look at the quality of discussion which takes place online. Every student online has the chance to speak and voice any concerns, questions, or challenges. The responses and students' interaction can easily be monitored and controlled by the instruction which decreases the tension and conflict between students. On top of this, it gives students a chance to think thoroughly and critically analyze other students' ideas. It leaves more time for thinking rather than listening and jumping from one comment to another.
Not all students have the self-discipline to take the time to become involved in e-learning. For this type of learner, there is no benefit for the instruction. The students could do the bare minimum required while not expanding their ideas due to the disinterest in student conversations. Therefore, time and money is wasted. The efforts of instructors go unnoticed as there are some students who fall behind in class.
Frustrated students are pressured to meet the new educational standards. Occasionally, conflict in evaluation of students can arise if some students prefer the e-learning portion of the class. Undeniably, the students who attend the physical classroom are more likely to be favored when it comes to the grading. The students who spend more time learning online may become discouraged by grades and give up on the learning altogether.
The line between school and personal life is blurred. Schools demand students to take additional time outside of class to pursue educational excellence. A pressure that was not seen before is placed upon their shoulders as students cannot obtain a learning environment free of additional stress. As with any learning outside the classroom, distractions are inevitable which also takes away from the learning experience.
A challenge every university faces is the scheduling of courses and the availability of classroom space. E-learning eliminates this problem if the course is fully online. The hassle is also reduced for the classes in which there is a smaller amount of classroom time. Professors are not constrained as much by time, so there is additional time to offer feedback to individual students and help students enhance their understanding of the material. Professors also have the ability to test their students' knowledge; it opens the opportunity for professors to take the in-classroom time to clear up any common misunderstandings.
Colleges that offer online/hybrid classes can act as a monitoring tool that helps it evaluate the effectiveness of its teachings. It is easier to transform an online course to meet the needs of the students; there is flexibility in the means of teaching whether it is through discussion, PowerPoint, video, quiz, or audio postings. It also gives a variety of options for the student to choose which learning tool is most effective. Consequently, the rating of schools will go up as more students are seen to perform and learn better; the student attendance will increase bringing more money to the college as a result.
Obviously, money is important when running a school. The benefits of advancing students can easily outweigh the actual cost of obtaining access to an online education site. For the most part, these sites are fairly simple so training can occur with only a few instructors who can answer any questions others' have about the site. Overall, there should not be any dilemmas in this except when the site is undergoing maintenance or reconstruction. A problem that is not frequent in most cases.
Hybrid classes put demand on instructors to commit time to both classroom activity and online grading. It can be difficult to offer quality education to the students if the demand is too high to thoroughly evaluate both. There is also an obvious lag when there is a requirement for all students to participate in both forms of learning. The stress can be too high for the instructor to offer help to individual students as time is cut down tremendously. Although professors are able to monitor individual progress, it could be difficult to reach out to students on an individual basis due to time constraints.
When it comes to problems with the actual medium of instruction, maintenance or repair services may not last long; however, the small disruption is enough to affect the way that instructors are able to teach. Many instructors end up needing to add additional time to deadlines which causes build up of grading for assignments later; this alone can cause stress to both the students and the instructors.