Distance learning universities are using the latest technology to supplement their curricula. Newsfactor.com reports that more and more online institutions have opted to create mobile apps to enrich their online course offerings. These apps allow student to access course content, including online discussions, threads, assignments, and they can receive real-time alerts when grades are posted.
Students can pursue their studies wherever and whenever they want. The universities leading the pack in the latest distance-learning technology are Western Governors University, Golden Gate University, and the University of Phoenix, which launched an app last month for the iPhone and iPod Touch that allows its 300,000 online students to access online discussions, threads, and assignments.
These tools will become increasingly important as the Digital Age wears on. In 2009 some 5.6 million college students took at least one online course, the Newfactor.com article reports.
But critics state that such technology encourages a lack of focus. The article quotes Barmak Nassirian of the American Association of Collegiate Registrar and Admissions Officers as remarking, "'If you want to read Plato you can't do it on a cellphone.'"
Nassirian may be right, but the future points to a classroom that extends well beyond the boundaries of the university.