Online education has been the subject of debate for months now as the country shifts to integrating this form of learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From questions about its effectivity to how classes will be conducted, much of the opinion stems from perceived notions about online study as not being the norm.
OEd, a member of AMA Education System and one of the first institutions to offer degree programs through full-online education, understands the apprehensions toward online study. But as educational continuity is needed as the country continues to battle the effects of the pandemic, knowing how it truly works is crucial to realizing its benefits.
“There are materials in various mediums to cater to different types of learners. Every module of a subject or course has this range to make studying more fluid for students,” said Leohernard Quitaleg, head of Course Content Development, AMA OEd.
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To better understand how online learning works, OEd sheds light on five misconceptions about this educational approach.
Misconception 1: Online education relies heavily on live video lectures.
The Truth: Live video lectures are just one part of various teaching methods.
Much of the parody videos going around social media center on the difficulty of live video classes. In reality, that is just one part of how online education works. At OEd for example, Quitaleg says that courses are designed with different types of learners in mind.
There are videos and presentation slides that are short but reflect key lesson points. There’s supplemental reading material to suit voracious readers. And if you miss, a live class? These are recorded and can be accessed at a later time.
Misconception 2: Personalized mentoring is impossible with online education.
The Truth: There is more room for student queries to get specific pointers.
With the impersonal nature of video conferencing in a big group, many assume that teachers will not be able to devote time to personal student concerns. According to Josephine Casin, a Computer Science and Information Technology Mentor at OEd, the reverse is actually true.
“Because I receive inquiries through email, I get to respond to each individual question unlike in a physical classroom where they are addressed as a group,” said Casin. Compared to classroom teaching, Casin added that she has actually reached more students since she became an online mentor too.
Misconception 3: It’s hard for teachers and students to communicate through online platforms.
The Truth: It helps improve the communication skills of both mentor and participants.
Unlike in a classroom setting where another student may seek clarification on a subject matter on behalf of the entire class, everyone who takes courses on online education platforms will need to be independent in terms of communicating with mentors. Some courses are not as strict with attendance for live video classes, and so constant communication for subject matter questions are important.
“Since I became a mentor on OEd, my communication skills improved further as I need to clearly share my points to students through chat or emails. My mentees also learned to compose their thoughts and questions well to reduce back and forth,” said Casin.
Misconception 4: It’s easy to cheat during online exams.
The Truth: Technology helps ensure test integrity.
While there is no teacher physically present as students take exams, online education platforms are supported by the latest technologies to ensure that students do not deviate from their online browser as they take exams.
“Aside from imposing the usual time limits, exams taken through the OEd platform are secured through software technology. It tells the mentor if a student switched tabs on their browser or does anything else outside of what is allowed,” explained Oliver Vergara, OEd’s Technical Director.
Misconception 5: A diploma from an online course is not the same as graduating from a physical institution.
The Truth: Online certificates and degrees are credentials for the real world.
People who chose to continue their studies online and graduate are just as competitive in the workplace as those who studied in physical schools. This is the proven experience of OEd graduates.
“I applied to another company and was about to be hired, but the company I was working for found out that I was graduating from my OEd course and decided to give me a counteroffer that’s more than what I expected,” said Ferdinand Gueco, an OFW based in Saudi Arabia who last year graduated from OEd’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program.
Beyond the educational continuity currently needed, online learning gives students flexibility that will continue to benefit them even after the pandemic situation is over.
“Online learning is really where the future of studying is headed as it gives students more control over their time while ensuring their education remains uninterrupted, so they stay on course to graduate on time,” said Dr. Amable Aguiliz, IX, vice chair and CEO of AMA Education System.