Global boom in on-line learning
Internet access gives people the opportunity to attend college half-way around the world. On-line learning opportunities are opening up all over the world.
A survey shows over 70 million people are receiving education through the Internet this year. Internet research firm IDC shows technology-based training will increase more than fourfold over the next five years.
In the United States, almost half of the academic institutions currently offer on-line learning as part of their curriculum.
It has been predicted that 85 per cent of these schools in the US will have some form of on- line learning in place by the year 2002.
Electronic learning (e-learning) has proved to be effective and helpful, especially to those who do not have much time but want to upgrade their knowledge.
People favour e-learning because they do not need to spend time commuting to class and the learning options are not limited by geographical locations.
Also, they can learn at their own pace and arrange their studying schedule as they wish.
On-line learners have more responsibility for their learning, and instructors spend much more time providing resources than delivering content.
In Hong Kong, on-line education is flourishing with all universities and private institutions offering some coursework on- line.
Online Education (http:// www.online.edu) claims itself to be 'the pioneer' in on-line edu cation in Hong Kong. The site, launched seven years ago, provides courses up to masters level for working adults and those who want to upgrade their knowledge.
The courses vary from business administration, management to science.
Edport.com (http://www. edport.com), started by a group of instructional designers, system engineers and an experienced project management team, provides educational institutions with total e-learning solutions.
It provides continuing education for corporations and working professionals via the Internet.
It has teamed up with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to provide professional e-commerce courses to executives.
ESchools (http://www. eSchool-World.com) has carved out a niche in offering short software courses. Internet users can learn software such as Macromedia Flash, Microsoft Word 2000, Red Hat Linux, Chinese and English writing.
To promote e-learning in the territory, the site recently joined up with Hewlett-Packard Education Services to provide technological advice to help companies create school room-style courses.
Here are some better known education sites in the US:
Ecollege (http://www. Ecollege.com) is a site featuring information about colleges. It also offers courses ranging from certificate to degree in business and economics, computer science, education, engineering, mathematics and religious studies. Along with courses offered, scholarships are also available.
Elearners (http://www. elearners.com) aims to maximise the reach of on-line education to a wider range of Internet users.
It provides courses and sources of information on e- learning and learning resources.
It also gives a brief introduction to educational tools such as computers, books and Web tools. It also provides courses on art, languages, science, social science.