Studying Online for Fun

ONLINE COURSES AS A LEISURE PURSUIT

by John Mason FPLA, FAIH Principal Australian Correspondence Schools

www.acseduonline.com

  • Learning new things is a wonderful way of re-creating yourself.
  • A leisure course traditionally gives you
    - new ideas - interaction with other people
    - motivation and skills, to pursue other activities
    - diversion: removes attention from other issues
  • A leisure course traditionally gives you
    - cost - distance or time - disabilities
  • Online courses can provide everything that traditional courses provide, and with vastly improved accessibility.

    Global Changes in Education
  • Technology allows new options for marketing, delivery and administration.
  • Globalisation opens services worldwide.
  • Funding Pressures – more people want to do courses (fewer resources per student).
  • Increased Bureaucracy – greater compliance costs, more legislation (More resources go to administration and assessment and less to delivery).
  • Increased specialisation leads to Decreased Diversity – colleges cannot offer everything everywhere in a classroom
  • Polarisation of Legitimate educators – funding & bureaucratic pressures force either rebellion or closer alliance to funding sources.
  • Changes in Student Profiles – increasing diversity in demand.

    The ACS Model
  • Be objective: step away from influences like government & bureaucracy. Focus on what student outcomes should be.
  • Generic course content – relevant world wide.
  • Embrace technology at the optimum time – for improved service and cost minimisation.
  • Optimise flexibility through procedures and technology.
  • Continual change – a continuous flow planning model.

APPLYING TECHNOLOGY
ACS increases the diversity of content delivery by embracing electronic and internet technologies. Some of the features our students enjoy are:

  • Online course delivery
  • Interactive testing
  • Streaming video
  • Online forums
  • The online Careers Guide website
  • The online library

 

Benefits of Technology to Education

  1. Increased Diversity and Scope of Content.
  2. Increased Accessibility. Anyone may participate, any time, anywhere, irrespective of disability or other limitation.
  3. Development of a “Virtual” Community. Students contacting other students and teaching staff via email, chat, phone, mail, and even in person.
  4. Better and More Student Support Services. Online courses can be quickly and easily updated or adapted to reflect changing needs.
  5. Larger Numbers of Possible Students. A course developed for online delivery can be accessed by a virtually unlimited number of students, at little additional cost per student. Course access is not restricted by time or location.
  6. Viability of Specialist Courses
  7. More Varied and Cost-Effective Promotion Opportunities.
  8. Quicker, Easier Course Changes To Meet Changing Needs. Online courses can be quickly and easily updated or adapted to reflect changing needs.
  9. Better Learning and Retention of Interest Through a Diversity of Learning Modes. Internet, video and other technology provides information in different ways.
  10. Impetus to Form Strategic Partnerships.

Disadvantages Do Have Solutions

  • Risk of decrease in Human Contact - Courses can encourage personal contact through research and site visits; inter student contact, social events and even workshops.
  • Physical Wellbeing may deteriorate with too much computer time - Stretch regularly, avoid EMR, encourage good posture, build non computer activities into courses.