Comm Tech: eBooks & Online Classes

Through out my years taking college classes, I have only taken 3 online courses. Out of all of them, my favorite was my Intro to Equine class simply because I understood and enjoyed the content. The others I could have cared less about. In all of these classes, not once was there a recorded lecture featuring the professor standing in front of a board or class. It was simply all in text and left for us to make sense of. The MIT program in the article “How Online Learning is Reinventing College” with the MOOC class that is broadcasted to thousands of people, I think I would understand and enjoy much more than reading what a professor is typing out and posting. According to an article “50 Striking Statistics About Distance Learning in Higher Ed” by Anuli Akanegbu of EdTect Magazine, there is a 150% rise in students taking college courses online as opposed to in class settings. In total, 65% of students have taken at least one online course in their college career. I can definitely see how this relates to the displacement theory, however, in a negative way. Taking more online classes cause you to spend more time online, which could take away from your time studying for in-class lectures.

The only thing I cannot get behind when it comes to MOOCs is the fact they are credit-less. Sure, they’re free. That’s great. But what’s the point of putting in the work, taking notes, and do assignments if you don’t get any credit for it? In the article, the author says this raises the question of what college is even for. When it comes to getting a degree (the point of college) you need credits and that’s just reality. The use of this technology is fantastic, but universities need to make these courses eligible for credit so that students have an actually gain from them.

Technology, as a whole, has been prevalent my entire K-12 schooling aScreen Shot 2016-02-02 at 7.24.11 PMnd now even more in college. In elementary school, we had computer classes, took computer literacy exams, and use Type-To-Learn every day to learn how to type faster and faster. Now, in college, I take more notes on my laptop than I ever have. According to Pew Research’s graph to the right, more and more students are allowed the use of laptops in the classrooms for note taking. I have all of my notes saved on a USB so they are always on me. We use technology for research papers and projects; I haven’t racked open a book in a library for information in years. In saying this, though, I think technology is neutral in the education setting. It’s very positive because it opens opportunities and teaches students new things, new skills. However, it can be negative; technology can easily become a distraction if you let it. Technology can also provide incorrect information if not used correctly. So, it is neutral. For me, personally, technology has made my quality of education better. I have always loved computers and the Internet. I even got excited about writing a blog for classes. In todays world, you need to be fluent in technology, so using it in school is a great way to explore what all possibilities there are and effective ways of utilizing the technology was have.

One way technology has been extremely positive in learning is through the eTextbook. According to Pew Research “there are four times more peScreen Shot 2016-02-02 at 7.23.54 PMople reading e-books on a typical day now than was the case less than two years ago.” The Pew graph to the left predicts that more than 51% of students in ten years will use eTextbooks for their classes. I have used eTextbooks in the past and present and have learn their convenience! It makes carrying your backpack around much easier and lighter. It’s also accessible at anytime and on almost any device out there. In the article “E-textbooks a cheaper option, but students remain skeptical” I find it disappointing that there are professors who discourage the use of eBooks in the classroom. For me, eBooks are cheaper. With the weight of tuition already on our backs, why is it fair that I have to spend $200 or more on a physical book when I can be the eVersion for around $100 or even less? I dare to even bring up the environmental issue of eBooks using less paper. If doctor’s offices can go paperless, why can’t the classroom? Some students may be skeptical of eBooks, which is fair. Having a book on your laptop/tablet/phone can lead to distraction easily. But from my own experience, using the book on my computer is far more useful than lugging a physical book around on my back that I may or may not even get use out of.

All in all, I think technology has changed the education landscape. My parents sometimes say how lucky we are today to have Google. I once had a high school teacher tell us “horror stories” of having to do research with real books in the library and I do feel grateful for the advances technology has taken. I still think physical research is still valid and useful, but online research is convenient, you can have more access to more information, and it’s just easy.

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