Over 40% students are inclined towards online degree courses: Shiksha.com survey report
Online education, a domain earlier limited for the few who were unable to study full-time, is now finding global acceptance, with over 40% students inclined towards online degree courses, according to the recent Shiksha.com survey report “Indian Students’ Preferences on Online Degree Courses”.
For non-technical streams like arts, commerce and science, the willingness of students to opt for online degree courses is higher as compared to students from technical streams. The highest percentage for willingness of students to join online courses is in the stream of commerce (47%) and is closely followed by science and arts (both 43%). The percentage for engineering is 41%, while for medicine it is 40%.
While these numbers are high, lack of real college experience attached with the fear of missing out on the campus life is a major reason that deters almost 50% of students from enrolling in online courses. “Nearly 35% of online/distance course students and 47% of full-time course students are unsure about the credibility of an online degree,” the report noted.
Also, easy accessibility and cost-effectiveness are the two most important reasons for 57% and 25% of students, respectively, which influence their decision-making process in favour of online degree courses. Another 25% of full-time course students and 31% of online/distance course students revealed they would opt for an online degree course if it was offered by a prestigious institution. Additionally, 15% were interested in joining online degree courses in general.
Cumulatively, 40%, combining both full-time course and online/distance course, have expressed their preference and interest to join online degree courses.
Vivek Jain, chief business officer, Shiksha.com, said that once lockdowns are lifted and the pandemic situation is brought under control, educational institutions will start preparing to welcome students for offline classes. “However, with recent digital awareness, online education model is expected to emerge alongside.
These are transitory times and we expect that going forward a mix of both offline and online degree courses will be the reality. Best of both worlds will come together for a successful education system in the country.”
The survey report also encloses six recommendations that colleges/universities can implement to build trust around online degree courses:
1. On-campus experience and college life: Apprehension of missing out on all the fun and activities that campus life has to offer halts students from joining online degree courses. Removing this fear by including campus visits for students enrolled in online degree courses so that they can have a taste of campus life will help attract more students to get enrolled.
2. College fees and pricing: Making online degree courses affordable so that students from diverse financial backgrounds can choose to study these courses is the need of the hour.
3. Selection: The selection procedure for students and teachers should be stringent in order to improve the quality of education imparted as well as the quality of students being enrolled online. This step will contribute towards increasing the credibility of online degree courses.
4. Networking opportunities: Sufficient opportunities and platforms should be made available so that students can communicate with professors, fellow classmates, seniors, guest lecturers, experts of the concerned field and the like.
5. Student accountability: A student’s work progress, performance and level of understanding should be scrutinised and tracked. This will allow them to take these courses seriously and also inculcate in them proper time-management skills. Another initiative that can be undertaken is to provide platforms for communicating with professors and classmates regarding workload and educational goals.
6. Accredited programmes and validity: Getting accredited by known agencies along with building credibility also has other perks attached to it such as financial aid for students. This step will attract more students to get enrolled in online degree courses of such accredited colleges/universities.