Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Future of Education

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." -Buddhist proverb

Let’s face it, the cost of a university/college education is always going up. It doesn’t make sense to start off any career (assuming you can find work in your field after you graduate) with a debt so big that it can take up to 15 years to pay it off.

The future of education is online. Why pay thousands when you can get the same education for free or at a fraction of the price? Sites like Udacity , Udemy , among others, all offer University quality courses in the comfort of your home.

For those of you who doesn’t know, I have a computer science degree that I took in college a few years back and I’ve been working in the IT field for the past 10+ years. I recently completed lesson 1 of “Introduction to computer science” from Udacity (course here)and, while i cannot speak of the other subjects available, the quality has been on par with with the courses I took in College.

Studying online, however, isn’t “in” or “cool” yet. Society as a whole seems to be reluctant at the idea of taking a online course. When I suggested this to my peers, the first thing they told me was “Online courses are great but you don’t get a certificate from it [and therefore is useless for interviews or jobs]”.

As I’ve said before, society’s definition of education is wrong. To resume the words of Harold H. Titus and Marilyn S. Smith, taken from page 220-222 of their “Living Issues In Philosophy” book, education means:

“Mere possession of a diploma - or any other symbol for that matter - is no proof of education.
  1. To be educated means to know at least one field with some thoroughness…
  2. To be educated means to be able to communicate with others…
  3. To be educated means to be able to live in a changing word and to entertain new ideas…
  4. To be educated means to be able to get along with others…
  5. To be well-educated means to be able to entertain oneself, to develop a rich inner life and a wide range of appreciations and inner controls…
  6. To be educated is to be sensitive to the larger spiritual order of which man is part…"
The other big issues most people have is with self-discipline or the perceived lack of support one would get from taking an online course because there are no teachers to interact with. First, I would encourage you to work on your self-discipline as it is a skill that will benefit you in your career/life just as much as throughout your online course.
As far as support goes, keep in mind that there are thousands that took the course before you. Each courses gives you access to a forum with answers to many questions. Most of which, in my specific case, have been answered by the teacher himself. Using Google doesn’t hurt either...

Whether you take the direction of a University certificate or an online course, the important thing is to stand out and that can be achieved with or without a diploma. Robby Leonardi , for example, created a very creative resume to show off his skills (note that he didn’t even mention degrees).

Take the time to visit the online Universities you’ve seen here, learn a new skill in the process, and make it work for your next career move.

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