Education as we all know is a lifelong activity. At any time, whether you drop out of school or get an award at your graduation, you will need an education. Dropouts who have found a calling or job need education to be more productive, dropouts who have realized the need for school but are ‘past school age’ and want to go to school clearly need education, managers and employees need further education to keep pace with a changing world quickly current and get a raise in wages and status respectively. Somehow, the society that relies on the traditional education we have created for ourselves and considers the ‘best’, limits our quest for continuing education. For many people, formal education ends the day they drop out of school or graduate from High School, College or University, even though technology allows us to sit at home and still get a quality education.
As technology – computers and internet connectivity – replaces physical classrooms and allows for distance learning in real time, it seems that the problem of continuing education for everyone, including dropouts and the working class has been solved. It seems, and still is, that now teachers do not need to leave their students, apply for study leave or leave to continue their education. It seems that the fifty year old woman who dropped out of school a few years ago is now able to school from home and it seems the father can learn what his daughter studied in College using the same device he used to summon her. That’s what appeared. Those who drop out of school due to financial problems and haven’t had a breakthrough will not benefit, and those who have money will not want to put their money into certificates, employers and academics alike will be disliked. Little seems to have changed for these two groups of people, although online Colleges and Universities abound.
Two main problems are to blame. Firstly, online education is too expensive for the target group of learners and secondly, there is a perception that online Colleges and Universities do not provide holistic education like traditional Colleges and Universities. As Ed Vosganian – founder and CEO of College Funding 123 points out, on-campus University fees for undergraduates are estimated at 42,000 dollars while for the same group it costs around 21,000 dollars for online universities. In comparison, we will say that the cost of studying online is much cheaper. But we need not forget those who mostly enroll in online Universities. Those in the middle and lower classes who choose online universities.
They include; employees who sacrifice pleasure for higher qualifications in exchange for better wages, unemployed who wish to acquire job skills, dropouts who wish to return to school in the hope of a brighter future, and people living in remote parts of the world , especially in developing countries, which don’t even have the money to pay the fees and so have to study and work at the same time. For 21,000 dollars this is huge money, very hard to collect. There are people from the high-income class who enroll in online universities, but online learning is not popular among them because of the low prestige and myths associated with online education.
The online institution will tell you, they won’t put anything on your certificate to show that you received a non-traditional education. This kind of advertisement talks about how society values online education. Online education is considered a cheap way to ‘make it easy’ education. Online Colleges and Universities until recently were considered diploma factories. This perception still exists, although empirical evidence tells us that there is no difference in the quality of students from traditional Colleges and Universities on the one hand and online Colleges and Universities on the other. Online Universities and Colleges do their best to make online learning prestigious and lower the cost of study, but they cannot do it alone. With government intervention, online learning can become prestigious and friendly to the lower middle class.