Online Education: Positive and Negative Aspects


This fast-changing society offers more and more captivating opportunities for people to improve their lives, enlarge their knowledge, and develop personal skills. As a rule, such rapid changes are caused by the development of technologies, international relations, and the desire to get leading positions as soon as possible. Online education is considered to be one of those innovations, which provide people with a chance to become aware in the chosen sphere within a short period, to study at any place of this world, and even to be able to get certain benefits, scholarships, and certificates. Online learning is useful and appropriate for those students, who are engaged, independent, and well-organized.

The students, who have a desire to study and to improve writing and other abilities, should certain find online education as a wonderful chance to make their life easier. To learn more about online education is possible using numerous journal articles, newspapers, and magazines. Writers from different countries are eager to enlighten the theme of online learning and promote this type of education. However, some writers may find lots of disadvantages on such a distant education, this is why to comprehend whether online education is a good chance to improve human life or, vice versa, another fraud that may lead to some negative consequences, it is better to analyze several articles, which present the interesting information about online education. In this paper, three articles of different authors will be discussed: the writers point out how beneficial online learning can be, what problems can happen, and why this type of education becomes more and more preferable all over the world.

Summary of the 1st Article

Online Education: Lessons for Administrators and Instructors is the article by Parbudyal Singh and William Pan, written for College Student Journal. The authors admit that North America is one of the parts of the world, where online education becomes more and more famous. Lots of colleges and universities choose this system of education to study more people of different age, gender, and nation. Singh and Pan underline that numerous debates concerning the effectiveness of online education still take place, and some people are not sure that such pedagogical tools may be useful and effective. The article under consideration is divided into three main parts: introduction, methodology, and discussion. With the help of a clear introduction, the reader gets a chance to know when online education has grown so much during the last decade and what changes such education brought into the whole educational system.

First of all, educators and instructors have to re-organize their work and get used to innovative technologies to study people within different distances. Secondly, online delivery of education requires certain techniques, which have to be properly used and developed. This is why educators should spend some time to comprehend how proper education may happen using computers only, without real-life communication. The authors of this article make a wonderful attempt to describe how online education can happen. For example, E-lectures are considered to be very similar to those, given during in-class courses. A student gets E-lectures via the Internet and has to listen to it several times to understand the content and be able to perform assignments, which will check the level of knowledge and abilities to analyze the material. There are also several more steps in online delivery and evaluation techniques: threaded discussions, personal communication, and real communication using chats.

Singh and Pan mention both advantages and disadvantages of online communication in their article. The negative outcomes of this education may be lack of depth in education and explanation of the material, lack of accuracy in studying, and student isolation. Online education has a certain impact on inter-personal skills and team skills. A person, who chooses online learning, deprive him/her self of the opportunity to discuss the material within a group of people, observe their reactions, and emotional attitude to the problems. Also, online education promotes the use of web-sources: distant students can make use of the already prepared works and someone’s ideas and do not spend much time developing their thinking and abilities.

Finally, the authors pay certain attention to the advantages of online education. They are convenience, the ability to contact and leave feedbacks, accessibility, and interactivity. “Online education offers a potentially richer medium than classroom instruction but it is not simply a matter of computer access and training to faculty and students” (Singh and Pan, para. 28). This is why it is crucially important to encourage online education and make it available to anyone who has a stimulus and is eager to improve their level of knowledge.

Summary of the 2nd Article

The Evolution of a Multimedia Delivery System and Its Effects on Student Perception and Performance is an article that describes the ideas of online education using multimedia and the Internet in particular. Vicki Jones, Jun Jo, and Greg Cranitch are the authors of the article under consideration; they have chosen one of the most effective approaches to analyze the impact of online education and its effectiveness nowadays. First of all, it is necessary to mention that the article consists of several chapters, which are the Introduction, Teaching Systems Design, Teaching Modes, Discussion, and Conclusion.

These sections provide rather important information concerning how online education spreads over the world so rapidly, why people prefer online education to traditional ones, and what technical problems may prevent online learning. These authors use Griffith University (Gold Coast) as an example of an institution that promotes online education. The multimedia course of this university turns out to be rather beneficial, but still quite limiting for students, who do not have success in special labs. There are two cases, Mode 1 and Mode 2, during which course materials and students’ perception of information were analyzed and evaluated. The conditions under which Mode 1 students interpret information have some differences with the ones, which were inherent to the students from Mode 2; technologies for both modes also have certain differences, the technologies of Mode 2 are more effective, this is why the opportunities of the students from Mode 2 turn out to be better.

To provide reliable and really important information where online education is concerned, the authors of this article try to mention both – possible problems within online learning and the benefits, which students, who choose online education, may get. Online learning may be spoiled by slow download speed, inability to download plug-ins, lack of communication between a student and an educator, troubles with leaving feedbacks (Jones et al., 11). This is why taking into consideration the above-mentioned aspects, traditional education is considered to be more effective, and fewer troubles may happen during this type of learning. However, if we take into account that online education has also many benefits, the advantages of traditional education maybe not enough. Lots of mature-age students cannot get their traditional education because of lack of time and some family problems, this is why the idea to get an education online becomes quite appropriate and even then only one for them.

Jones, Jo, and Cranitch admit that computer technologies and the widespread of the Internet cannot but touch the sphere of education, this is why online education is not a surprise anymore, the only problem that may appear is limited access to such type of education. Not each person is still able to choose online education, be ready to cope with certain difficulties, and achieve success.

Summary of the 3rd Article

Chi-Sung Li and Beverly Irby are the authors of one more article about online education and its impact, An Overview of Online Education: Attractiveness, Benefits, Challenges, Concerns, and Recommendations. This piece of writing is created in 2008 and introduces an online education overview within the past ten years. The peculiar feature of this very work is the individual approach of the writers to online education. They represent their points of view at first, and then, with the help of some other educative sources, analyze the perspectives of online education and its popularity among people of different ages. The authors mention that the peculiar feature of online education that attracts many people is “the contact between the teacher and the students through the use of emails and other electronic means. There is a minimum zero face-to-face interaction between teachers and students” (Li and Irby, para. 13).

This online education overview may be useful for those, who are not sure about the attractiveness of online learning. The authors identify several reasons, which promote this education and make many students choose online programs. First and foremost, working or family people cannot find much time to spend it on visiting schools and other educational institutions, this is why busy people, who have a burning desire to study, can find online, distant education very comfortable and time-saving. The second reason why online education has a positive impact on people is the desire to live in big cities and have time to visit several organizations simultaneously. Very often, traffic jams and other accidents prevent arriving at schools in time; from this perspective, online education will never cause emotional breakdowns because of being in a traffic jam for a long period. One more point in favor of online learning is the ability to be a student at several different universities at the same time. Students should not wait for getting one certificate to get a chance to enter another institution; this is why even in this way, online education saves students’ time.

This article is also about possible challenges, which are inherent to online students; the vast majority of these challenges are caused by technological problems and inabilities to solve them within a short period. This is why the authors of this article offer to develop proper technological support for those, who are eager to study online and enlarge their level of knowledge.

According to these three articles, online education has both positive and negative aspects. However, the point that online education saves time and allows to get several educations simultaneously is considered to be very important and effective, this is why lots of people have already changed their traditional education to an online one. The levels of computer technologies are improved day by day, and it does not take much time to learn the basics of computers and use them as the perfect means to get desirable education.

Works Cited

Jones, Vicki, Jo, Jun, and Cranitch, Greg. “The Evolution of a Multimedia Delivery System and its Effects on Student Perception and Performance.” Conference Proceedings ASCILITE 2000, Coffs Harbour, Australia, Web.

Li, Chi-Sung, and Irby, Beverly. “An Overview of Online Education: Attractiveness, Benefits, Challenges, Concerns, and Recommendations.” College Student Journal 42.2 (2008):449.

Singh, Parbudyal, and Pan, William. “Online Education: Lessons for Administrators and Instructors.” College Student Journal 38.2 (2004): 302.