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A Brief on Remote Education

July 14, 2020


Remote education has seen a dramatic increase in popularity over the past decade and along with it came a surge in educational standards, various improvements, and innovations that made life easier for everyone involved.

Maybe even more so for individuals who are working full-time but are not satisfied with their current employment situation overall and want to earn a degree that will propel their career forward.

In the fall of 2018, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that there were 6.9 million students enrolled in distance education courses at degree-granting postsecondary institutions.

However, high school students have been given the opportunity to experience what remote education has to offer in the last couple of years. These arrangements include “dual” or “concurrent” enrollment, which allows students to prepare and demonstrate their ability to tackle various college coursework while also giving them the chance to potentially save on the costs of college. NCES reported that back in 2009, a third of students took classes for postsecondary credit in high school.

Today, things look quite different. Everything we knew or expected from remote education changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced both schools and universities alike to make the move towards a new sort of remote education arrangement.

Even if some were prepared in one way or another and had the means necessary to successfully transition in place, most institutions did not have this luxury. Nevertheless, this relatively new form of education in the eyes of many became the new standard and reality for students, teachers, and parents.

The positive aspect of this situation is that remote education may reach new heights and perhaps become even more prevalent in our lives even after this global urgency has settled.

Even if some may shun on remote education, it does have its perks. Take, for instance, its ability to offer an enhanced learning experience—this technology can certainly help in improving the quality of tedious and dull lectures by turning them into something more pleasant and engaging.

How exactly? With help from interactive whiteboards, every last bit of relevant information can be made available through graphs, charts, photos, maps, and even animated videos. These perks can increase one’s ability to retain information for longer periods of time because as Stanford University’s Robert E. Horn explained:

“When words and visual elements are closely entwined, we create something new and we augment our communal intelligence … visual language has the potential for increasing ‘human bandwidth’—the capacity to take in, comprehend, and more efficiently synthesize large amounts of new information.”

According to Dr. Lynell Burmark:

“Unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information. Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”

This intelligent class technology that can also be implemented in a regular classroom may enrich the student’s engagement level and involvement. Ultimately, it might lead students towards a path that will make them more motivated when it comes to performing and achieving better results.

These are just some of the advantages that a remote environment can offer if implemented right, but there are, however, several disadvantages as well depending on the type of student.

Some students may find the lack of physically interacting with others a bit disheartening. Not being able to engage and share information with others as they would normally do in a typical classroom will remain one of the main drawbacks for now.

Another disadvantage would be the fact that it might not be a good fit for the kind of learner that needs to be constantly motivated by teachers or other instructors as sometimes they will simply not be able to provide the same type of assistance.

Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that remote learning will always have its pros and cons, and some students and professors will thrive in this environment while others may need more time to adapt.

Overall, this sector will continue to evolve and it might even find ways to address all the shortcomings that come along with it.