Computers have existed through my entire education. I remember going to the computer lab in elementary school and learning about the internet for the first time, and now, here I sit writing an article for an online class. I often find myself thinking how different the education system would be without computers, but, on a personal level, I wonder how different my current education would be if it weren’t for online classes.
In high school, I didn’t use computers for school very much. Other than the occasional paper that I had to write, most of my school work involved doing problems from textbooks or worksheets. In college, however, I am at the computer-lab daily doing homework. Specifically, I have a couple online classes. Online classes allow you to take more classes because you can do them at your own convenience. That is not to say that you can put them off. Every online class I’ve ever had has had deadlines (many of them have been very demanding). What I mean is that you can juggle them with other classes so that you can manage more classes at once. Because of this, I usually take at least one online class per semester, which I believe has helped me to become a more focused. With online classes, I am always thinking about school. I know that there is work to be done even if I don’t have class. A perfect example of this was yesterday for Presidents’ Day. Although I had no classes up at the campus, I had an assignment due for one of my online classes. It is as if I can never take a break. It sounds horrible, but it is actually a good thing. Why? I am always thinking of school work, and because that is the case, it is really easy for me to focus on homework. I don’t have to overcome that Monday-morning, back-to-the-old-grind hurdle in order to motivate myself to get back to work, because I am already in the frame of mind to work. Online classes have been a crucial part of my education, and, as a result, so have computers.
In connection with ‘The Wired Society,’ it is kind of a self-fulfilled prophecy that I am taking a class on a computer (online) that emphasizes how widespread computers are becoming. But it’s true. When I took my first online class, I was nervous because I didn’t know what it would be like, but I honestly believe that I will see the day when basically all classes are online. I originally thought that online classes were limited because asking questions and receiving help on specific problems is difficult, but I’ve had a couple online classes that were probably more effective than most of my on-campus classes. If administered correctly, online classes can be phenomenal.
Another thing that online classes have allowed me to do, unrelated to allowing me to be a better student, is have a flexible social life. If a friend invites me to do something, and I actually want to go, I can usually adjust things around so that I can participate. A perfect example of this happened a couple weeks ago. I was doing some homework for my other online class when my friend invited me to go play pickup basketball with him. Knowing that I could just submit the assignment later that night, I was able to stop what I was doing and go play.
Computers really are becoming essential to obtaining an education. I can’t imagine trying to go to do schoolwork without them. In reading ‘The World is Flat,’ I have become aware that the world is becoming digital whether people like it or not, and education will follow. I’m sure it will continue to progress to the point where most students are attending state universities entirely online. The education system will be flat.