Online University


Online University

Online University is a branch of distance education and can be easily done using the internet. Nowadays, as the internet has revolutionized various fields, it has also brought significant changes in educational fields. In this type of training, the location and time zone of the learners are not important, and they can participate in any situation. An Online university is made up of classes which conform with the principles of teaching, learning and academia. There is usually no need for physical presence of learners, except in special cases. students can register and participate in the classes which they prefer to choose among the available and offered options. In the online university, in addition to participating in chosen classes, learners can be assessed by passing exams. They can also communicate with their professors and other students by audio, video and text. The online university is a suitable platform for the students and professors to exchange their opinions and learn new lessons according to their needs, so that the participants can perform their duties and the classes can be held.

These days, due to the living conditions and workload, the use of online universities has been welcomed. In this text, we want to review the various aspects of online universities and online courses and learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of this type of studying. 

The expansion of Online university

Nowadays, online universities and classes are getting popular and expanding. This popularity has reached a level that many prestigious universities in the world have turned to it recently and many audiences all over the world are looking to learn online about what they need. Learners in different corners of the world can use the virtual classes to get the needed training even in their preferred language. 

Today, due to the heavily scheduled planning, lack of time and energy, limited budget and transportations problems, people who need to learn new skills or continue their education prefer to participate in online courses and this type is more applicable than traditional teaching methods for them. The importance of this issue reached a level that some organizations train their employees by using virtual training to be more efficient by reducing the waste of time and energy.

The difference between distance teaching or education and distance learning

Distance teaching or education requires designing and planning for the topics which are needed to be taught. This type of training requires a platform and technology that support this design and planning for training. It includes the mutual needs of the educator and the learner, and both sides need to communicate effectively. Distance learning, on the other hand, just focuses on the needs of the learner. 

The difference between distance learning and e-learning 

E-learning is one of the branches of distance education. In e-learning, the communication between the trainer and learner is limited to the Internet, while in distance learning, this communication can be through telephone, the Internet or social networks and video conferences. 

Online University and creativity in teaching

Online university and the process of virtual or online education in addition to the educational tools and technology that are needed to exchange the files, need factors such as interaction and getting feedback. It is better to use new and effective elements to make the teaching and learning process more attractive. This attraction leads to the success of online education and university. The most important element is producing interesting and interactive content for learners. This can be done by using an interactive and appropriate combination of audio, image and text. If an interactive and effective communication is formed with the learners, it will motivate them. To get successful in this process, you can use surveys, games, assessments and short quizzes and get brief feedback from learners.  

The importance of creativity in online teaching process 

Although online university and online courses result in focusing more energy on the lessons and subjects, some learners can not communicate well with online classes. This group of people know the online courses, inefficient and sometimes effective communication is not formed due to lack of creativity in the methods used to teach and interact with learners. So, using the methods that we will introduce in the following, can increase the attractiveness of online education. 

Getting brief feedback

Online universities and courses may have shortcomings, by getting feedback, it would be possible to be aware of them and fix them. Since education is usually a step-by-step and continuous  process, it is necessary to ensure the appropriate transfer of contents to the audience and learners at each step and then by having a proper foundation of learning, the next step is also properly informed. For example, at the end of each section, by asking yes- no questions or short questions, you can find out the effectiveness and efficiency of online classes. Then if a significant number of learners do not understand the section, it can be presented in a new and different way. After that by getting a brief feedback you can ensure the quality of the learning process. Also using creative elements, can improve the online learning process. For instance, using colors, combining music and text, interactive games and questions could be helpful. 

Planning for presenting contents at an online university 

The first and most important step in teaching in online universities and virtual courses is having a specific plan for producing contents, the preparation of them and presenting the topics in class. If the content is transferred to the computer screen and taught in online class in the same way as in the traditional methods in class, it will not have interesting and practical results because factors such as interaction may be eliminated. The topics, sections and prepared content for online classes are significantly different from the methods of production in traditional classes and require the use of different tools and elements.   

The history of distance learning 

Distance education has been around since the twentieth century, but it did not work until television and radio became widespread in the world. Using the Internet, distance education has revolutionized. Today, prestigious universities in the world have also used distance education by holding online courses and providing valid certificates.  

Benefits of online university and virtual classes 

Online university helps learners to learn about new subjects without the need for physical presence in the classroom environment and just by sitting in front of a computer and using the Internet. There is also the ability to do research. For example, they can go to museums, libraries and other places they need for doing research and choose their favorite book. Nowadays, it is much easier to access more resources and do your own research. People can travel and complete their research just by sitting in front of a computer in their own place without having to move from one corner to another. So, if we want to point out the benefits of online university, we can review the following:

  1. Time saving
  2. Cost saving such as shipping cost.
  3. Participation in desired classes and having access without any restriction in your own location. 
  4. Accessing to wider resources such as books
  5. Relaxed place for participating in classes.
  6. Ability to return to the sections which you have not learned them properly 
  7. Increase sense of responsibility to do your tasks. 
  8. You can choose your favorite subject among offered classes to participate in
  9. Flexibility in program and environment
  10. More accurate and deeper learning 

Disadvantages of online university and virtual classes

  1. It is not possible for everyone to access the Internet and have necessary facilities such as computer to attend a virtual class.
  2. Limitation in capacity of participants in class 

Knowing the audience of online courses 

Online universities and virtual courses should be designed in a way that is suitable for audiences at different levels. Also, if a course has beginner to advanced levels, it is better to present it in courses and specific categories for each level so that audiences in each level can use their own package and not get confused. Designers of online courses can provide a program and solution for learners by gaining knowledge of the audience, their abilities, and capabilities. If there is a need to use a specific element for the learners, the related training should be provided to familiarize them with these elements, otherwise it may confuse the learner and damage the main goal which is learning. 

Sorting and ordering the contents for online courses    

Presenting content without any proper classification confuses learners and destroys their motivation. The content, topics and chapters should be classified into separate and related sections by the trainer. It should be possible to display each section and chapter in a list so that learners can refer to the section by referring to each chapter in the list. For example, suppose that the learner is confused in a particular part of a session and needs to review the related section. If the learner has to review all sessions to reach the related part, it will be time wasting and can destroy motivation. However, if there is a list of contents, the learner could analyze them quickly and move from one part to another.   

Recently, the Microlearning method has also become popular. By this method, teachers and learners feel less tired and more efficiency and effectiveness is created. Microlearning is a type of categorization and organizations of content. In this method, the trainer creates short sections between 15 to 20 minutes. Microlearning also increases the motivation of learners.  

The effects of online university on the learning process and the resulting changes 

The online university brought many changes in higher education and postgraduate studies. Years ago it was not possible for everyone to enter prestigious universities such as Harvard or Stanford, and it was not possible for everyone to use the classes in different universities. However, today using the Internet, it is possible for anyone who is interested in taking favorite courses in different universities. The first online university was launched in 1996 named Jones university. Today, by using online universities you can decrease your costs. For example, if attending a four-year university course costs a few thousand dollars, new online courses are also available for free or at a low cost.

The purpose of the online university 

The online university was established with the aim of enabling everyone to study at different levels and higher levels. As a result, anyone in different corners of the world can use the courses of prestigious universities. Passing courses at an online university requires viewing online courses, learning the presented sessions, completing assignments and submitting them, and finally passing an exam. People learn at different speeds, and some feel more comfortable learning in their preferred place, such as at home rather than on campus, so traditional classes are not desirable for many. Sometimes the speed in teaching in a class may be high or low for learners, so people who have slower learning speed or need to read a few rounds to study, in addition to the exercises and projects they have to do and their workload, they get lower scores and their motivation decreases. An online university helps each person move content at their own speed. People with a lot of motivation and interest can go through courses to get valid degrees and get the jobs they want. 

Types of online classes

Online class with trainer and supervision (Live class)

These classes are formed by monitoring and recording the entry and exit times of learners, attendance hours and virtual exams. This type of class is closer to the traditional definition of classroom. In this type of class, learners and teachers can interact with each other and make questions and answer.   

Online class without the presence of a trainer and supervision (Video-Based)

There is no active, online trainer in this type and learners can learn topics using files that the trainer has already prepared and uploaded for them. Finally, at the end of the sessions, they present a project or take a virtual test. 

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