With the speedy acquisition of space in education sector, online learning is covering almost the complete public needs for intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth. But one might have in mind whether online learning can replace the in-person interactions, common in in-person classrooms. When one studies online his living room turns out to be his lecture hall, and online chat as student bar, and the computer screen as the interactive window. So, distance learning is not any isolated session of learning without the scope of mutual enrichment from peer-assisted, co-operative learning experience.
Virtual classrooms are actually a passive formation of online community that grows with the course of time. Online forums, Social Site Groups are but the online communities gathered online to share views among them. The communities encourage discussions on several problem areas in their course content, and make efforts towards peer-assisted solutions.
Unlike in-person classrooms the tutorials and lectures and supports from the lecturers takes online form in virtual classrooms where the students are not mere audience with no reactions towards the course content. Rather, online distance learning takes the shape of an interactive session between the teacher and the students physically distant from one another, yet connected with the chain of learning interest.
Supports from e-Tutors
Tony Priest who is a course director for the foundation degree in drug and alcohol counselling at the University of Leicester says on “e-tutors” to give support to the students, “Each e-tutor has a certain number of students who they follow through their comments on the discussion boards and answer their questions. They’ll also contact them if they don’t appear for a while and ask if they have problems and how they can help.” Some distance learning programmes give enormous emphasis on time spent on campus, and letting considerable time use on understanding each other’s problem zone. Distance learning, therefore, not merely a session conducted from distance any longer. It actually involves students to get in touch of their peers on account of their mutual benefits.
Students’ Unions are Immensely Supportive
The most noteworthy part in this regard is that the universities designing their online curriculums for distance learning programmes are supportive towards the online students with generous backups provided to them via students’ unions. They also provide access to student counsellors through Skype. One is getting all types of information and solutions to his problems from the counsellor even though he is communicating with his counsellor online. Practically, there is no difference in effect. The difference is all in process and medium.
The maximum benefits online students can ascertain from their learning programme through the self-motivated study, engaging the peer students in every little affair in the process. Being online the possibility even becomes bigger. One can get in touch of his teacher, counsellors and friends continuously, even on the go.
The benefits of technology in online learning are immeasurable. The development of mobile learning has made the advantages of unperturbed connectivity intact whereon one remains always attached to one’s course content, teachers as well as peer students. The interactive effects are, therefore, not any less in online distance learning. Of course, the style and mode is different from the on-campus learning sessions.
A) online learning is as effective as offline one in terms of interaction
Online learning involves as much interactive benefits as any on-campus course. Here, in distance education the style and mode of interactions are different. But, at the end of the day the process serves all requirements of online students.
B) Online distance education complies to the every communicative requirements
The modern technological developments supply every requirement online students need to communicate with each other, and with their teachers and counsellors. Online students enjoy the full session of collective connectivity like the ones in any campus-based course.
C) Distance education is no inferior so far interactive utilities are concerned
In terms of connectivity among students and between students and teachers online distance education is far above than being any inferior to the on-campus education. The techniques and medium of communication is only different.