The requirement for quality and the backing of the name of a reputable university create new challenges for online educationdetailsonline. These institutions that can provide high quality online education will need to implement methods to achieve a consistency between the online proposition and the traditional one.
Accreditation and Certification
The new paradigm creates great opportunities for both educators and learners in terms of accessibility, flexibility, and in some cases, cost. However, it also creates significant challenges for quality assurance and accreditation. A survey amongst online learners revealed that 44 percent value quality and accreditation when choosing an online education provider. Another 22 percent deemed rich student experience as paramount importance. Interestingly most people do not know what “accreditation” really is. Different accreditation agencies like the AACSB offer membership and also accreditation status. Membership is open to all institutions and sometimes this is illegitimately “confused” with accreditation. Accrediting bodies have the challenge to educate about their standards to the different involved parties like government, corporations and the general public in order to minimize this confusion.
Online education is two-way and delivered via mentoring and direct assessment. This is why traditional classroom standards need to be modified to fit with the new delivery method and be consistent with the bidirectional approach online education delivers. Once accreditation agencies develop credible methodologies to certify online education courses, there would be strong incentives to improve the quality of the programs.
Learning Styles and Assessment
Without proper examinations and student assessments, there would be no way to certify that the learning outcomes have been properly delivered to the students. The online approach gives the exceptional opportunity to assess many different types of learning styles and motivation levels. The online experience allows setting up automatic diagnostic tools that would seamlessly reinforce weak areas until the student is deemed to be competent in the subjects. Taken to an extreme, the online delivery could integrate the learning and the examination simultaneously.
Interaction with Faculty and Fellow Students
Often students rate the possibility of interacting with peers or faculty as an important part of the learning experience. Universities must make sure that their online proposition encourages and facilitates student-student and student-faculty interaction in order to maximize the network benefit. There are no technological impediments for this too, as instant messaging and web cams are easily accessible. This issue places constraints in the sizes of the online student body if the university is to maintain its quality standards in the education delivery.
Roger Achkar is a renowned Lebanese award-winning author and business thinker. He has appeared on most TV stations in the Middle East.
Roger is currently the CEO of ‘Sharp Minds’, a Lebanese management consulting firm. Formerly, Roger held many senior and managerial positions at multinational and regional organizations and held a track record of business success across multiple industries like Management and E-Business Consulting, Power generation, HVAC and Water technologies, Telecom, and Wholesale and Distribution.