Benefits Of Online Higher Education In 2021




While many institutions grappled in 2020 with a sudden and dramatic shift to online learning, technology mediated learning is in Boston’s DNA.

Authors: Dr Hendrik Botha and Dr Janet Viljoen

With decades of experience in this modality of provision, Boston emerged a leader in online provision, and winners of the Star, Best Online Provider 2020, in an independent survey. “That Covid-19 will have a transformative impact on the way learning happens within the universities seems indisputable.

The most dramatic evidence of this is the shift to online learning” (Habib and Valodia, 2020). Boston has carefully curated its teaching and learning materials to be durable, reliable, cutting-edge and most importantly constructively-aligned for a seamless and coherent student learning experience. The lockdown necessitated by COVID-19 across the world is the perfect backdrop against which to review our experience in online education and its advantages.

Online and distance learning (ODL) is
 flexible,
 cost-effective and
 enables access even to those in full-time employment.

Learning :
 can take place at any time and
 in any place and
 is not constrained by factors such as lecture-room capacity.
 Online learning removes the binary choices: it is no longer study or work, study or travel, upskill or have a family: it is study AND work, travel, and have a family.

Acknowledging the context of the 21 st century and the fourth industrial revolution, onlinelearning by its very nature supports and develops personal independence, and prepares the candidate for the modern workplace – one which is characterised by remote work-from-home arrangements and a high degree of personal autonomy. The student who has had to self manage their studies is someone who can be trusted to meet deadlines in the workplace. Driving one’s own academic journey via online and distance learning accelerates the individual’s
 need to think critically,
 solve problems, and
 take responsibility for progress:

These “soft skills” are valuable currency in the modern workplace. Self-directed learning also affords you the chance to pace yourself toward your goals: we cannot all run the race at the same speed, and nor should we. Students choose how many courses to take in any semester while considering other responsibilities, such as family and employment. In a word, online learning predicates itself on “autonomy”.

Technology also facilitates online completion of assessment events, permits grading to happen online, and for feedback to reach the student swiftly. Boston incorporates AI to monitor participation, send motivational communications, and trigger alerts when participation is low which prompts a call to the student from a member of faculty or a personal student advisor. Online does not mean alone!

Boston offers a wide range of occupationally focussed Higher Certificate and Diploma qualifications which cater to niche specialisations. Access to these qualifications is not restricted by the need for a Bachelor’s Pass in the Matric examinations, and completion of one of these qualifications may facilitate transition into a Boston Bachelor’s Degree upon successful completion.

Your dream of higher education is not over because you did not achieve a Bachelors’ Pass: there are many alternative higher education qualifications available to you, all recognised on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). You may elect one of our Bachelor’s degrees in Commerce, Accounting or Social Science, or advance your business acumen through our unique Postgraduate Diploma in Management. With Support Centres around the country, students can meet to collaborate, learn together, use technological facilities, or seek assistance from a Student Advisor.

Attendance at a Support Centre is voluntary, self-directed and a matter of choice. “Covid-19 highlights the need to reimagine the global institutional architecture of the higher education system” (Habib and Valodia, 2020). Higher education is forcibly being pushed into new territory, unknown challenges lie ahead, and admittedly, no person has gone before us in this respect. Trust the online provider with years of experience to guide your learning journey. After all, it is one of the most important journeys you will ever embark on.

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