TUDENTS and educational institutions are facing common challenges, including increased tuition fees, amplified education expenses, budget cuts, limited study loans, scarce financial assistance and course shortages.
Unirazak Graduate School of Business dean Assistant Professor Dr Johari Mat said for these reasons, the trends in the local and global market had indicated that students were searching for alternatives, such as online education.
“This is particularly for the ‘millennial’ generation who learn better with mobile learning platforms.”
He said distant learning through online delivery was the next “in” thing in higher education trends, as many Ivy League universities were also into offering free online courses to attract potential students to their institutions.
“According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Internet Education, 66 per cent of academic leaders consider online education as good as or better than traditional education.”
Johari said a recent report by Oxford University on International Trends in Higher Education 2015 said Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) had become one of the most widely used online learning platforms by universities in Malaysia and around the globe.
“Virtual and mobile learning have revamped the way conventional teaching and learning takes place.”
He said, for example, the face-to-face mode could be done through live streaming in real time, or asynchronously, where recorded telecast of the lectures could be watched at students’ convenience, to keep up with the class discussion using communication platform on the assigned learning page or via online.
The best place to experience this is by enrolling yourself in Master of Business Administration (MBA) Online offered by the Graduate School of Business of Unirazak.
“Our MBA Online programme is designed to cater to the needs of this niche segment of students,” he said.
There are many benefits of taking up university courses using the Internet as medium for learning.
One of the many benefits, Johari said, was that online programmes were more affordable.
“Students can learn without burdening themselves with extra expenses, such as transportation costs. Sometimes the required course materials, such as textbooks, are not an issue as the compulsory reading materials are available in e-print, which may be free or costs less than physical textbooks."
Course materials, he said, were also accessible online.
He said furthermore, students could subject themselves to a more conducive and comfortable learning environment anytime and anywhere.
Besides that, the MBA Online Programme is convenient and flexible. MBA Online gives the students the opportunity to manage and schedule their own study time to fit their daily activities.
Johari said the programme enables experienced professionals to continue working for their career while attaining their postgraduate qualification.
This academic work will fill in any discontinuity or gaps in their resume as well.
He said with continuous improvement, despite skepticism and criticism, online learning had proven to be as effective as conventional, face-to-face education.
Online study offers shy or more reticent students the opportunity to participate in class discussions or chats with more ease than face-to-face class sessions.
Some students even reported that it was easier to concentrate during online courses as there were fewer distractions.
Most institutions also offer a form of electronic mentoring, which makes it easy to communicate with lecturers and administration staff.
Lastly, students who enrol in the MBA Online programme are able to improve their overall technical skills.