With respect to online education, the question of whether it is efficient or useful to use the Internet as a way to convey education is often debated. Some worry about the effectiveness of online learning methods, the legitimacy of online instructors, or the reliability of technology. Others argue that the Internet is the great equalizer and can make education widespread and affordable. This article points out five subtle benefits of using the Internet for education that might not have been previously considered.
1. It is easier to participate online
Many students are deterred from class participation because of shyness, embarrassment, or fear that their answer will be incorrect. The Internet provides a certain level of anonymity because students are typically not surrounded by peers they see every day and with whom they engage in social relationships. Therefore, it is easier and less intimidating to engage in the discussion in online classes, which helps students to better retain and understand the material being presented.
2. Environmentally friendly
Despite many reforms undergone by different schools across the country, education as an institution still has a serious effect on the environment through its inefficiency with school materials, its reliance on cars to transport students, and most importantly, its overuse of papers. Many colleges compel students to print out hundreds of pages of readings every day, only to quickly address the articles in class and then never discuss them again. The Internet eliminates all of these problems by providing information on computer screens instead of on books.
3. Broader access to supplementary material
Instead of relying on a single school library, using the Internet as an educational platform allows for the world of information provided by the Internet to be readily available at any moment. There are more articles, books, documents, and other resources available on the Internet than there are in any school library across the country, because most of these library’s books have already been digitized!