Free Online Education: How Can We Bridge the Digital Divide?

Is this the right way to go?

Free online education has gained immense popularity among the students all across the world because of the natural advantages associated with it. Easy accessibility from any part of world and affordable rate are the two most lucrative benefits which is stimulating students to apply for these free courses. The MOOC revolution started in USA and many esteemed institutions like MIT, Stanford, Harvard and others are the active participants in this revolution.

Is this the right way to go?
Is this the right way to go?

Virtual versions of resourceful and expensive courses offered by recognized universities are available on different platforms on the net with the aim of making valuable higher education available to all. Despite such efforts to democratize education and make it easily accessible to all, there still exists some differences, primarily in terms of technology, because of which many potential students cannot take advantage of the new systems.

Here are some ways by which the digital divide can be bridged:

Heterogeneous Policy

Firstly, governments of some of the first world countries have implemented some homogenous policies with regard to digitization of education. But different communities have different demands based on their specific needs. Therefore, they need to conduct deeper survey and research about the specific problems and afterwards come up with unique solutions in accordance with the situation.

Equal Opportunity for All

The concerned authorities must also take up the initiative to give equal opportunity for accessing advanced learning tools like computers, strong internet connection and other e-learning tools to all students. While the government has made provisions to provide all these facilities within their campus, but the authorities must understand that students spend the least span of time on the campus. So the authorities must offer cost-effective broadband internet connection plans so that all scholars have access to required resources for continuing with hassle-free free online education.

Simple Learning

Along with technological aspect, the authorities also need to look into another pertinent cause of the existing digital divide i.e. all learners are not equally conversant with the technological advancement or have poor grasp over English language. But they should not be kept aloof from the MOOC movement. Necessary steps should be taken by the concerned authorities to look into this issue as well.

These are some of the effective ways by which the digital divide can be fixed and MOOC movement can be transformed into an all-encompassing movement and then meet up with its primary goal i.e. democratization of higher education.

About the Author: This is a guest post by Roxanne Peterson.

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