A New Dawn of Education – Online

It’s sometimes easy to underestimate the impact that  the latest new online concept will have.  For most of us now, the internet is no longer new, shiny and exciting – it’s pretty much part of our everyday lives.  We shop, bank, browse and entertain ourselves online – in my house at the moment five people are using the internet in a variety of ways from typing this article to blowing up some sort of huge alien spaceship – yes I have teenage boys!

However I suspect that many of us have not quite appreciated the impact that online education could have on our world. The concept is far from new, I myself took a online course in 1997, although it was only text based and certainly wasn’t as slick as today’s offerings.  But over the last year or so, there have been a huge surge of possibilities – the biggest Universities in the world are now taking this very seriously.  There are now thousands of online courses available from some of the best educators on the planet in a wide variety of sectors.  For the most part a lot of these are still free even though you may be listening to a Harvard professor over the internet.

The commercial aspect is bound to increase as it inevitably does with all web based enterprises.  I would expect the offerings in the US to end up being restricted to those accessing from a US IP address range eventually, but for now it all seems pretty much open and accessible to all.  If it does switch – this site will show you how to keep up your education.

There are of course other options, this is the internet after all –

This video is available on YouTube, which you can find here entitled – Hide IP Address. It’s extremely sad that the internet has become a place where your location affects what you can do, but alas it’s true.

But the exciting aspect in my opinion is how education will become more accessible across the world especially the less developed countries.  Imagine a brilliant maths student living in Africa with limited educational opportunities.  Perhaps for financial or personal reasons that student has no way of continuing their education and so they live with that underused skill never being developed.  Here there is at least a chance to harness and utilise that talent, through the medium of the internet.

Of course it relies on availability of an infrastructure and a PC, laptop or other devices to access the courses.  But the very possibility of a brilliant maths student being mentored in a remote village in Africa by a world leading professor has got to be a good thing surely.  Of course we’ll have to how all these developments go, but for now you must excuse me – I have a lecture in Artificial Intelligence to attend online !

 James Meadows