Online Education Past, Current, and Future

Online Education Past, Current, and Future

Kieran Chidi Nduagbo (Independent Researcher, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0115-3.ch007


This chapter addresses the paradigmatic shift in traditional education. It presents a historical overview of online education as a content and framework for understanding its current state and highlights how online education has become entrenched in business and in higher education worldwide. Beginning with distance education's contributions to the paradigmatic shift, this chapter provides a framework for understanding online education. It focuses on the connections and contributions of distance education to present day online education, the current trends in online education, and the projections of the future of online education. This chapter concludes that the nature and practice of online education across the globe will change in the next few years.
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What Is Online Education And How Does It Work?

Online education refers courses in which 80% or more of contents are delivered online via the Internet and without any face-to-face meetings or interactions (Allen & Seaman, 2009; Allen & Seaman, 2011; Wilson, 2015). Online education can be offered in several different ways:

  • Synchronous: Students enrolled with this method of online education have the lectures and materials transmitted to them via the Internet at a specified time. Just as in physical classrooms, students in synchronous online education take part in a lecture, discussion, or class activity in real-time from different locations.

  • Asynchronous: Here, students have access to pre-recorded lectures and materials given to or not given to a physical audience by an instructor in the form of a video at their own time with deadlines to keep the class on track. In asynchronous online education, students can also be provided with course objectives and a schedule. Additionally, they are allowed to work when they are able to and progress toward weekly or bi-weekly milestones.

  • Distance students: Distance students do not have any need to come to campus, except at the end of their online education when they are ready for their final defense.

  • Another method of online education is where students enroll as on-campus students, living close to the university or college, but chooses to attend and take courses offered by the university online.

  • Free MOOCs: Students can also choose to taking non-credit hour courses offered free of charge through Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) by a university without being enrolled in the university. Recently, some higher institutions in the United Stated have started offering the MOOC courses for credit and with stipulations that include enrolling in the university, attending meetings with the instructor, and taking required additional coursework (Lewin, Allen & Seaman, 2015);.

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