The title says it all, it is already here and it is the future of education. You probably won’t need a traditional university degree anymore and education is already free or affordable.
You are wondering, “where?” Online!
Many people have been shying away from taking some form of self-improvement course online for free or paying a small fee for a certification or diploma because they didn’t see the value it would have or its impact on their career and employability.
All that is history now, the quality and variety of education offered by the most popular online institutions now supersedes even the most common vocational/technical institutes today.
This is because they teach the same things but even better, they even provide practicality and constantly change according to the very fast moving world trends.
Studying online is the next big thing
For instance, a local technical institute offering a diploma in computer science is still following an old syllabus or curriculum it submitted to the Ministry of Education and may not easily be able to adjust to a new trend in time such as the popularity of Python and Ruby on Rails because of the bureaucracy involved.
An online provider such as Udacity or Edx may switch in less than a month and upgrade the course material or during the course to factor in the change for their subscribers and make them as competent and ready as possible for the market ahead.
Udacity now has Nanodegrees, created by world class companies and leaders such as Google and Facebook. Edx and Coursera have partnerships with some of the biggest universities in the US like Stanford, MIT, Harvard, UC Berkley to offer certifications, degrees and even online MBAs (still in early stages).
For those who still want the extension of a recognisable university degree for several reasons, maybe so as to be able to add on a Masters or Doctorate from other accredited universities, there are options available.
Some major universities in the world like Thomas Edison State University (government owned) in New Jersey, Walden University (40 years+), Excelsior College, University of Wisconsin offer long distance online programs you can do and earn your degree, even at your own pace as an adult learner.
Most times education abroad is expensive costing lowest about $30,000 but these programs would be about $10,000 or even less depending on how quickly you can finish the course.
However, that’s very steep for most Ugandans and other developing countries. You could in concept do a series of small courses that add up to your field such as Marketing, Accounting, Digital Marketing, Computer Sciences, Psychology and then pay for individual certificates of interest.
The benefits of studying online are endless!
For certain your qualifications will hold value because more universities around the world are now offering some of their courses online, even Harvard is testing to see the prospects. Governments especially in the USA, UK and Ireland are investing some resources to promote the technology needed and initiative.
This could be the key to equal educational opportunity and global knowledge distribution. You could learn anything you want in the world, at any time, without any prior requirements.
Lawk is a mozillian, writes for Spur, Newslibre and consults part time for Every1Mobile and Innovware.
He loves open source, the open web, writing, reading and developing literacy tools that can teach the youth around the world especially in East Africa.