Last updated: 08.09.12

Online learning 'can broaden academic experiences'

Students are able to broaden their academic experiences through the rise in e-learning.

According to former SA president Bradley Halpern, online learning courses also an opportunity to "mend global disparities in education" which he told University of Rochester (UR) publication Campus Times is an "admirable and necessary goal for all educational institutions".

Massive Online Open Courses are becoming increasingly popular and the one being used at UR is Coursera, with the College Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable (CTLTR) at UR regularly meeting to decide how online learning can be used at the facility.

"The university has long been engaged in the effective application and support of instructional technologies for faculty and students," Eric Fredericksen, associate vice provost of academic and research technology and chair of CTLTR, said.

CTLTR member and senior Sonja Page explained one of the key ways universities can ensure e-learning is an option for all of their students is to make wireless internet connections available across the campus.

She stated UR has done an "amazing job" in achieving this, so students do not have to be at their desk in a class to be able to learn during their studies at the university.

Rob Clark was recently named by UR as interim senior vice president for research and e-learning is set to be one of his main priorities over the coming months.

"While we can expect the university to continue to move forward in this area, it will be done with the same high standards," Mr Fredericksen commented.

One part of the world where online learning courses are becoming increasingly popular is Asia, according to a recent report by Agence France-Presse.

China, Malaysia and South Korea, as well as in India and across other nations, are embracing technology in order to increase access to education for young people.

Ishan Abeywardena, an information technology teacher at northern Malaysia's Wawasan Open University, explained quiet students in particular benefit from distance learning.