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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Will Technology Make the Physical College Campus Obsolete? by Marina Salsbury

Today I have Marina Salsbury as guest blogger. Please be sure to check out her unique guest post. Guest posts are always welcome, please contact me.

For hundreds of years, the school as a central physical location has been firmly cemented in the hearts of educators and students everywhere, and today millions of citizens young and old all over the country flock to college campuses every year to obtain education that will help them in turn find careers and ways to make their own living.
However, with advances in technology and the incredible range of information at everyone’s fingertips through connection to the worldwide Web, the actual college campus is starting to be seen as a thing of the past. What’s more, it has begun to be viewed as a pain.

The trend started a few years ago when schools began offering
online college classes. Instead of sitting in class, course material is sent directly to your computer, enabling you to listen to lectures, review readings, and take notes on your own schedule. If you work eight hours a day for five days a week, you don't have to worry about finding time for classes during the workday. Best of all, these online course offerings made it possible for people to travel while taking college classes. All students need is internet access, and of course to turn in their homework on time.

The opportunity to attend school through your computer comes with a number of incidental bonuses as well. Students can receive high quality education at a lower price, and they don’t have to spend a fortune on gas driving to and from campus. There's no pressure to move away from home, which is a godsend during an economic crisis like the present one, and students can hold down jobs and adapt their college schedules to their personal lives. It's flexible, practical, and perfect for those looking to save money on college education.

What can’t students get from a college experience facilitated by technology? The biggest downside tends to be that they don’t have the face to face interaction with classmates or teachers. Everything is done through a server, a discussion board, e-mail, and sometimes live chats. While students do communicate with other people, they don't have direct personal interaction, echoing a
common gripe about online social networking in general. Depending on students' personal character, this could significantly help or hinder the learning process.

How do technology facilitated colleges better suit students’ needs? The biggest factor is students can arrange their college schedules around their personal lives. Instead of homework and classes dominating the way they live, web-based college allows them to choose when and how much time they spend on education. In the end, it doesn’t matter how they decide to arrange their personal lives as long as they get the work done by the time the deadline rolls around. This flexibility allows students to work, travel, and most importantly spend time with family and friends, something students often hardly get to do if they attend a physical college campus hundreds or thousands of miles away from home.

The bottom line is a technology-facilitated, web-based college education has its pros and cons, just like conventional on-campus study. The pros, however, seem to outweigh the cons in many respects. Because of the ongoing advances in technology, it's safe to assume online colleges will continue to flourish and become a popular alternative to campus life, possibly even making physical campuses obsolete over time.

Questions and comments can be sent to: Marina Salsbury

Many thanks to Marina.
Enjoy your reading!