Jungles of virtual education
06 September, 2012
Jungles of virtual education

The Internet is about to bring to university professors what it has brought to secretaries, journalists and music executives: unemployment. People might have their doubts. Lectures from elite universities are widely available online, after all. If the groves of the academy could be delivered to your house by WiFi, wouldn’t they be there already ? What makes people suppose that this long- awaited “tsunami” now stands on horizont ? In a word: grading. Educators at top universities have begun to

rank their online courses.

Ranking students solves many theoretical problems of on-line learning in one fell swoop. For instance, how can an oversubscribed professor stay in touch with all his students ? He can’t. But he can ration out time or e-mail privileges to the top 1 per cent or 10 per cent. Certain questions of how to make online education pay have been solved too. Now online educators are giving their courses away free. Google books did the same when it was photocopying world’s libraries. Bringing old institutions into the digital age can be a raw deal for those who hold a stake in the legacy technology. Once the cyber-educators begin charging for the cyber product recriminations and resistance will result It is wiser not to start charging until habits, dependencies and institutional ruts have made online education indispensable.

Certain drawbacks of on-line courses are obvious. They lack human contact. They are still ill-suited to teaching humanities. I would not touch upon primitive cases of English, German and French tutors and private teachers with their lessons over Skype teaching for remote geographically skattered learners of foreign languages. As I do not consider this technology efficient as there is still no methodology and it is domain of private teachers.

One of interesting and challenging projects of on-line education is USA based company Reasoning Mind Inc. www.resoningmind.org, Houston based R & D business entity, which focus is to teach mathematics school kids in USA and other countries. Reasoning Mind’s mission is to provide a first-rate math education for every child. To achieve this, it offers an engaging on-line community that develops students’ math knowledge and thinking skills, and we help schools and parents bring this to their children.

Another interesting business case is company named Wiley www.wiley.com .Wiley is committed to providing customers with the information they want, when and how they want it. With WileyPLUS™ (www.wileyplus.com), we are offering digital higher education texts that are integrated with resources for online study and administration of homework, tests, and other course elements, in a way proven to engage students while helping them master topics and achieve better grades. WileyPLUS and Wiley Inter Science are both transforming Wiley’s relationships with customers; they allow us to see how users interact with our content, providing valuable feedback that guides us in developing better products and solutions for them. Global Education responds to evolving markets; the Wiley Pathways series, introduced in 2006, targets the growing group of students, often working and with families, who are pursuing their post-secondary education with a strong career focus.And finally Italian company named Docebo-it is a fast-growing company in the E-Learning industry. Docebo, has its Product Development, Sales and Services operations in Milan and Naples (Italy), and a Global partner network in 16 different countries Georgia can not only purchase such software and expertise but also develop its own cyber learning programs in the fields like: medicine, international and corporate law, physics, seismology, construction materials, organic/eco agriculture, where Georgia has historically strong background.

In that sense, online education might be an improvement. It could give young people in Georgia access to the modern economy and advanced culture without requiring an apprenticeship in the vices of the rich in Oxford or Cambridge.

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