What students can expect from online learning
Athabasca University expert helps demystify online learning and emerging technologies
One of the challenges of pursuing an online education is that people don’t always know what to expect.
“What’s great about online learning is that it tends to be more accessible and flexible. Courses are designed to fit with your lifestyle and not the other way around,” said Dr. Connie (Levina) Yuen, a professor of emerging technologies at Athabasca University (AU).
In a recent interview with CTV Morning Live on Online Learning Day, Yuen explained that online learning at AU often appeals to people who work full time, balance multiple personal or family commitments, or even want to upgrade their skill sets.
“It also provides opportunities to those living in places around the world where there are limited educational options,” she said.
A significant benefit of AU’s online learning model, Yuen added, is that undergraduate students can enrol in courses every month. AU also offers master’s and doctoral programs for people who want to specialize in research, and on-demand, professional development micro-courses for people looking to advance or learn a certain skill set.
“What’s great about online learning is that it tends to be more accessible and flexible. Courses are designed to fit with your lifestyle and not the other way around.”– Dr. Connie (Levina) Yuen, a professor of emerging technologies at AU
Technology enables global connection
Due to the global reach of online education, people are able to share their diverse experiences and knowledge from across Canada and around the world.
“This relates to this idea of access,” explained Yuen.
“The growing capacity of the internet, the cloud, and other technologies have really enabled us to connect, store, share, and generate new ideas or content to help people. This has created the opportunity for our courses to utilize things like open educational resources and digital textbooks.”
This goes hand-in-hand with providing greater access and equity to those who may have limited resources or educational opportunities depending on where they live and work.
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“The growing capacity of the internet, the cloud, and other technologies have really enabled us to connect, store, share, and generate new ideas or content to help people.”
Tailoring online learning to diverse needs
Online learning allows students to receive immediate feedback on their progress, while also engaging in collaborative environments without being bound by time or place, explained Yuen.
“With the advancements of interactive technologies like virtual reality, games, and robotics, we are able to find different ways for students to develop their knowledge and skill sets in ways that are engaging to them.
“Thanks to technology, we can provide access and just-in-time learning opportunities that meet learners where they are in their journey, which is what Athabasca University is all about.”
Learn more about online learning at Athabasca University.