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Distance Education: Pros and Cons

One of the most famous educational online projects with free courses is Coursera, it started a year ago in February and became so popular that the American Time magazine in its ranking gave it first place among educational sites. Now 33 universities are participating in the project. Among them are such leading alma maters as Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Michigan, and California universities. There are more than 200 courses in English and French. One can find one or another course by university and by thematic categories, of which there are about 20: computer, social and human sciences, medicine, economics, finance, mathematics, law, education. Near the name of each course, the start date of classes, their duration (from 3 to 12 weeks), the university and the name of the lecturer are indicated. Also, each has a brief description and video presentation from the teacher, thanks to which you can find out who this course is for.

How to become a student?

You need to register on the site, fill out a form, sign up for any courses you like, and then the user will receive a reminder of the start of classes. By the way, if you didn’t manage to sign up on time, you can still join up. True, you will have to quickly catch up on the missed material, because learning takes place in real time. So, every week on the course page video lectures with subtitles, text notes, textbooks, homework and tests must be laid out, which must be passed in time to pass the final exam. By the way, if something is not clear in the learning process, then you can discuss it on the forum (there are quite a lot of foreigners there). In the end the student will receive a certificate of completion of the course with the signature of the teacher.

The advantages of distance education include:

Learning at an individual pace — the speed of learning is set by the student himself, depending on his personal circumstances and needs.
Freedom and flexibility - the student can choose any of the many courses, as well as plan the time that is convenient for him, place and duration of classes.
Accessibility - independence from the geographical and temporary position of the student and the educational institution allows you not to limit yourself in educational needs.
Mobility - the effective implementation of feedback between the teacher and the student is one of the basic requirements and bases for the success of the learning process.
Technology and its use in the educational process of the latest achievements of information and telecommunication technologies

But there are obvious disadvantages:

  • The lack of full-time communication between students and teacher. That is, all aspects related to the individual approach and upbringing are excluded. There is no person who could emotionally present knowledge, this is a significant downside.
  • The need for continuous access to information sources. We need good technical equipment, but not everyone who wants to study has a computer and Internet access.
  • As a rule, students feel a lack of practical training.
  • There is no constant control over students.
  • Training programs and courses may not be well developed due to the fact that there are not so many qualified specialists who are able to create such textbooks.