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future of education and online degree

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##  future of education 
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obviously there are a lot of things being researched and discussed on this topic. 
i see in the news that the governments in many countries are investing a lot in digital textbook and whatnot. 
many good univ lecture videos / turotials are made available online for free. 
this is an interesting time to live. i will not be surprised to see a smart high school kid from a remote village in india get into MIT because he studied stuff on youtube. 
i think technology driven innovation like "adaptive learning" method especially has an enormous potential. 
 
i myself am interested in two very specific areas. 
(1) english language education in japan 
(2) degree education delivered online 
 
 
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##  (1) english language education in japan 
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my level of patriotism is below average, but i want to solve one problem for my mother nation. 
a considerably large portion of japanese middle/high school curriculum is devoted to learning english. many students go on and spend an equally large amount of time learning english in university. some even pay to goto for-profit school for extra study, to practice for tests like TOEIC/TOEFL. 
 
yet i estimate on average one in every 1000 people in japan can probably read NY times news paper without dictionary. 
one in every 5000 people can probably understand BBC/CNN/CNBC news without subtitles. 
dont quote me on the numbers but anybody who grew up in japan can attest to the pathetic state of the matter i desribe above. 
 
imagine a country where everybody spends 15% of their time for 10 years between age 12-22, learning something, like driving a car. and only one in thousands can actually drive in the end. it's bad ROI. they might as well spend that time on something that may be better ROI, anything, like cooking. anything. 
 
it's not like people dont care. i know many people who would love to improve but dont even know how to go about it after a decade of study. i want to be part of a solution. i have some ideas but no time to work on this now. maybe when im older. 
 
 
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##  (2) online degrees 
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traditionally online degrees were considered not nearly as worthy or rigorous as degrees obtained from attending physical campus classes. 
simply, quality wasn't there. technology to properly support the whole logistics/administration (exam proctoring, discussion forum, etc) wasn't there. 
but finally the technology in general became ready. we have canvas, blackboard, piazza, slack, google hangout, various proctor services. 
so many universities, including some top schools, started offering courses and degrees via online platform. 
obviously it is in their spirit to offer their quality education to the world. (also, it's good business) 
here, important note is they generally make no distinction between degrees offered online and degrees offered on physical campus. 
the benefit of online education is unbounded. 
- scalability. traditional on-campus classes were restricted by classroom size, etc. many good schools had to turn away many qualified applicants because of this. 
- cost. college tuition is inflated to a crisis level in america. online platform helps reduce this cost. 
- flexibility of location/time. this is a huge benefit. students don't have to relocate. students can watch lectures at their own time. this allows students to keep full time job and study part time. 
 
 
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##  bachelor vs master vs phd 
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they are clearly of different dynamics. bachelor degree education typically involves many foundational / liberal arts classes, while masters classes tend to focus solely on classes specific to the major, whereas phd is all about research. 
also bachelor degree typically involves more than just the content of the academic classes. student aged 18-21 need to learn how to live independently, how to socially interact with others, how to study things in general, so on. while masters degree is more about just deepening specialized knowledge. 
 
because of this, i think online bachelor degree program is more tricky. this is why many top schools who offer degrees online offer them only for masters. 
to be able to offer online bachelor degree, school needs to prepare (and be able to continually run) so many courses. that's hard. 
masters program on the other hand is more realistic. as of 2018, as far as i can google, quite a few top schools (stanford, columbia, upenn, georgia tech, johns hopkins, uc berkley, nyu, univ of texas austin, so on) started offering masters degrees online, but not bachelors. 
 
now for phd, one really needs to build a good mentor-mentee trust/relationship to work on research, and it is just very hard to do that remotely. i guess it may be possible if the candidate is already well experienced in the dynamics of academic research and knows the prof well or the prof appreciates the candidate existing research output, so on. but it will be rare. ultimately it is a case by case basis accommodation. 
 
 
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##  motivation for doing degrees online 
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depends on the personal situation. 
some simply do it for fun. to pursue intellectual curiousity. 
others have more financial/career incentives and ambitions. 
often a mixture of both. but as far as "why online" goes, because it really allows for the flexibility of location/time. students can study and work at the same time. 
 
in my case, it had a practical benefit to obtaining degrees from US school as i started working in the US. not just to decorate resume, but US immigration office has preferential treatment for foreigners who possese masters or higher degree in STEM field from US school in their work visa review process. 
 
in the old days, at least where i came from, people tend to separate school and work as if school is something you do between age 6 - 23, and work is what you do between age 23 and 65. but in this day and age, people need to study new skillset, i say every 10 to 20 years. some people are blessed with learning opportunities thru work. but not everyone. coal miners simply cant switch jobs to work in renewable energy sector. in the past two decades, traditional smooth talking folks in wall street got taken over by a new group of tech/scientific talents. our society should retrain these otherwise made-obsolete people. continuing education is important for the economy, for the prosperity of the nation. the flexibility of online platform is perfect for this. 
 
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##  which schools 
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there are just soooo many schools offering masters degree in various fields of study. it feels like every month some school is announcing a newly created program. so i wont name them here. 
 
here let me list schools that offer bachelor degrees online, which are more rare. 
 
university of florida 
florida state university 
auburn university 
oregon state university 
university of maryland univ college 
pennsylvania state university 
western governor university 
thomas edison state university 
university of massachusetts lowell 
colorado state university 
university of colorado boulder 
arizona state university 
university of arizona 
 
many schools allow transferred credits, so one may be able to complete the degree quickly. some schools are intended for second bachelor degree, "second" meaning you must already have a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, and you can skip foundational courses, and thus can focus only on technical courses relevant to the major. 
 
tuition varies from school to school. sometimes degrees to degrees. do your own research before signing up and coughing up your money. some school like southern newhampshir univ has shady reputation. 
 
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##  alternative options 
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one viable alternative to online bachelor's degree program is to take courses in local school, if the schedule permits. 
tbh, once you get accustomed to the vibe of a well structured online campus, you will find it hard to spend 40 min commuting back and forth to/from physical class room for a 90 min lecture. 
 
other alternative is MOOC, like coursera that properly manages the enrollment, grades homework assignments, and offers certificate of completion. as of 2018, sadly MOOC certificate doesnt have the same recognition as the course credits from accredited school. but that perception can and probably should change in the future. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  1. 2018-10-13 22:42:54 |
  2. Category : misc
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