I remember speaking with some employers about how they perceived a degree from an online institution versus one from a conventional college. Most of them agreed they valued the conventional degree more because it involves hands-on, face-to-face relationships with their instructors and gives them the opportunity to collaborate with their fellow students. I agreed because I believe collaboration and mentor/mentee relationships are an integral part of the foundation necessary for learning and discovery.
Since the conversation a lot has changed, and at the forefront of that change is social media and tools social media provides. Collaboration and mentorship is available like never before. In fact, reaching wide varieties of people without spending a lot of time and energy is what social networking is all about. Social utilities have great value in almost every sector, but education is one of the most highly influenced.
To go along with this new social wave are the devices that make the collaborations and communications so accessible and exciting. Smartphones and tablet computers add up to more than just the sum of their components. These devices are gateways to endless amounts of information and contacts all over the world. Instructors no longer need to gather resources for the classroom, they are all imported via an online portal.
This next infographic from Presta.com illustrates a number of ways that technology and social media has changed the college experience as we know it. It's not about notepads and voice-recorded lectures anymore, it's all about enhanced user experiences.
Getting back to my original point about conventional vs online education, here's an interesting fact; by the year 2014 3.55 million students will only take online classes. Very interesting. What do you think about the trend?