In today’s fast moving world of technology many people find themselves trapped with no time to do all the things they want to. That is the reason why all services offered through the Web are constantly gaining more popularity. Many students prefer to take different courses online, communicate with friends online and as a result spend most of their time in front of the computer exploring the vast world online and everything it offers.
Online education is attractive for many, as it is convenient and saves a lot of time and money. Making a research is similar to online education in many ways. A constantly increasing number of students tend to use online articles, databases and libraries in order to save time and to be able to access more cost-free information from all over the world in a few mouse clicks. (Whitaker)
The research conducted on the topic “Online education” is based on articles and journal entries, published on the Internet. Some professors and scientists are reluctant to accept the validity and reliability of the internet sources due to the risk of plagiarism and the overuse of not cross-checked articles, low quality or false information. Despite all these facts, the use of electronic sources was chosen to save time and resources. Finding any information concerning any topic is extremely fast and easy, but finding reliable information online demands more time, a lot of patience and evaluation skills to determine the sources that can be used and cited. However, compared to the old fashioned library based research is much faster, but tricky at the same time. Knowing how to make use of the online sources saves costs, because ordering books or paying registration fees is not needed.
There are well-known and recognized online journals investigating different fields of research and publishing scholarly articles or case studies carried out on a specific scientific problem. Online sources of that nature were used as a reference; moreover articles posting the new developments on the subject of online education were taken into account. Data from specialized web sites on the topic of education and its development were cited in the essay on online education.
The article about online education “Earning a Degree Online” by Rome Neal was used for the research. The information presented was considered reliable, because it was published on the Website of the respectable CBWS News. Such a famous media could be trusted to present a valid overview on the phenomenon of online education.
Another reliable source used for the essay conducted on online education, was the article by Keith Londrie “Disadvantages of Online Education”. Her work can be cited as she is a specialist in the area; she is a Webmaster of a website that provides information about degrees obtained online.
The search engines of both “Google” and “Yahoo” were used to search for material for the essay. These search engines are the most famous and most used search engines on the net. By simply typing the research terms into its interface you can reach million results, but very few will refer to the topic of interest or will serve as reliable sources. When using a search engine, one should be aware of all the features it offers to narrow down the results to the most relevant and consistent ones. Different search engines offer different options on how to search for the particular piece of information that is required. They also have advantages and disadvantages in the way the finding are selected and presented. The researcher has to spend some time exploring and experimenting with the tools search engines offer. It is a good investment that will pay back in the future by saving time and making the research process easier and more satisfying. (Selchner)
The search terms or the key words used for finding the needed information were online education, benefits of online education and advantages and disadvantages of online education. They were simply inserted into the interface of the search engines in order to gather data. The vast results that were reached were carefully evaluated and the most appropriate documents and articles were selected by the researcher.
Using online sources, the researcher should be very careful to consider checking the validity and the reliability of the information retrieved. Many of the results will be of low quality and presenting unreliable information that can threaten the research. Once the reliability of the sources is verified, it can be used for the purposes of the study.
Google Scholar was used as a database for the assignment. It is a free and comfortable application of the search engine Google that grants access to a limited database of scholarly articles, papers and books and also specifies the libraries where these works can be found. The main drawbacks of that database Web site are that it is limited and displays only parts of the scholarly articles. When conducting a study of a bigger scope, access to the full-text articles on the topic researched is required. In that case, databases offering more and full sources have to be consulted; library’s subscriptions are very helpful and access to more sources is granted.
Some of the sources that were considered to be used were rejected later on, because of their irrelevance, unclear scientific source or ambiguity. When conducting an online research the relevancy of the data used have to be confirmed. Some sources were not related to the topic or did not give a good overview and were therefore rejected. Other pieces of information seemed to be out of date and therefore could not be cited. Sources presenting inaccurate and old information on the subject at hand were not used for the purposes of the research.
The information used for writing the assignment was also confirmed to be up to date and present the latest developments on the subject. Attention has to be paid to the origin of the articles and the authors or group of authors who wrote them and when possible their credentials have to be checked. (Gilroy)
While researching the topics, few sources such as online forums and blogs were found. The data presented in those applications could not be used, due to the unknown origins and the unrecognized authors that have generated the sources. There are multiple websites on the internet that offer unreliable information that could not be cited when writing scientific papers. For example, online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia and all its daughter websites are not suitable for sources of a serious research. The social networks could not be trusted, even though they sometimes can lead to some interesting, but rarely scientific articles.
The influence of the Internet is growing with incredible speed becoming more powerful with every single day, as it affects all spheres of our lives. People have become so dependent on being connected and online that life without internet looks unbearable. It is being used for entertainment, education, politics, terrorism and many other activities – legal and illegal. Knowing how to make the best use of it and exploit its infinite resources well will bring a rapid development in every single area of scientific research including education.
As already mentioned, online educations are a great choice for people who want to continue with their studies while being occupied with working or taking care of a household. In that way, people are not limited geographically. Courses can be attended by participants living and working everywhere in the world. That new type of education will give a chance to many who are not able to attend traditional educational courses and to obtain a degree.
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