Online Education's Profound Effect

December 4, 2006
Editor: wocm

Online Education's Profound Effect
The development of the Internet has had a profound effect upon education and how people learn. The popularity of online education in China serves as good proof. Now still a supplement to traditional higher education, online education is believed to be an important method and strategic choice for lifetime learning in society.


24-year-old Shanghai native Annie Wang is the envy of many of her peers. After graduating from a top university, she successfully secured a position in a world-famous management-consulting firm. But, I think, no one envies her pressure.


"Maybe in other people's eyes, I'm sort of an elite. But, within my company, I'm among the lowest in terms of educational background. Many of my colleagues are postgraduates and even doctors, with overseas study experiences. I feel a lot of pressure here."


At the beginning of this year, Annie took the National Entrance Test for Postgraduates and got accepted for postgraduate study at Fudan University. Yet, after much hesitation, she gave up the opportunity, since, she decided, she couldn't afford to be a full-time student.


Annie is surely not exceptional among young office workers nowadays, who feel the urge to further their education but don't have time to return to campus altogether.


Online education offers a great alternative for this group of people.


Professor John Spinks, executive director of U21 Global talks about the advantages of online education.


Set up in 2001, U21 Global, based on a consortium of nearly 20 famous universities from around the world, is the world's premier e-university. Unlike local online education programs, which focus primarily on graduate studies, U21 Global strives to provide an elite education through the internet.


It already boasts five Chinese members, namely Fudan University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, the University of Hong Kong and Bei Wai or Beijing Foreign Studies University. Liu Jie from Bei Wai is in charge of his university's partnership with U21 Global.


"It really gives adult learners a chance to enjoy world-class business education programs without having to travel abroad. To U21 Global, China, with its rapidly increasing demand for quality higher learning, is a huge market."


Chinese universities and colleges in place are far from enough to meet current needs. To promote education, both online and off, universities without walls are sure to be a good solution to the problem.


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