Online education was once hailed as a potential equalizer, offering science, technology, engineering and math skills to everyone regardless of gender, nationality or socioeconomic status. Online, students could avoid stigmas, such as being one of the only women in a class. It didn’t turn out that way.
The heyday for massive open online courses was studded with hype. So much so, the New York Times even dubbed 2012 the “Year of the MOOC.” Advocates for the courses would point a finger at the unaffordability of traditional education, promising that MOOCs could offer cheaper, more innovative alternatives. But in many ways, the times have changed.
In an era of rising student debts, a growing number of people are concluding that higher education simply isn’t worth the financial risk. While this may be understandable, as student debt loads rise, there is at least some hope on the horizon. Over the past decade, online education has rapidly expanded, and there is growing evidence that it is making higher education more affordable.
Continuing education for developers is important. Just when you think you’ve got a language or skill mastered, it changes on you. But instead of going back to school or joining a bootcamp, try learning online, which can prove more efficient (and often more cost-effective).
In 1944 Congress passed the G.I. Bill, making a college education -- something once reserved for the rich -- into a real possibility for returning middle class soldiers. Today, access to education is still being expanded, and not just across class lines. Modern day education institutions are using technology in unprecedented ways to make sure that no student is left behind, regardless of their disability, distance, learning style, or background.
When it comes to education, online learning has become an increasingly popular choice for many students. Between the demands of family, work, and extracurricular activities, college and university students today are tasked with more than just earning a degree. Online classes provide the flexibility students need to juggle multiple commitments while furthering their education.
What do students want in the learning activities for their online STEM courses? They'd prefer more real-life problems to solve and instructional resources such as simulations, case studies, videos and demonstrations. They'd also like the chance to meet and collaborate with other students as well as teaching assistants online.
Since the year 2000, it has been found that online learning had an edge over traditional, classroom-based learning. In 2010, a review published by the US Department of Education stated that online learning was just as effective, if not better, than face-to-face interactions.
Education doesn’t have to be expensive -- there are plenty of free courses to brush up on your IT skills that require nothing more than an internet connection and a laptop or smartphone. These eight online education providers offer free programs and courses on nearly any technical domain. It’s a great way to dip your toe into a new topic with limited commitment, or to stay on top of developing trends and technologies in your industry.
The last few years have also seen the development of massive open online courses, or MOOCS. Providers such as edX -- which was founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012 -- offer free online courses from renowned institutions such as Columbia University and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The platform provides more than 1,900 courses and its users come from all over the world.