It is true that online courses are becoming a common feature of university education. Although there are some drawbacks of Internet-based learning, I would argue that there are far more benefits.
The main drawback of the trend towards online university courses is that there is less direct interaction. Students may not have the opportunity to engage face-to-face with their teachers, and will instead have to rely on written forms of communication. Similarly, students who study online do not come into direct contact with each other, and this could have a negative impact on peer support, discussion and exchange of ideas. For example, whereas students on traditional courses can attend seminars and even discuss their subjects over coffee after lessons, online learners are restricted to chatting through website forum areas. These leaners may also lack the motivation and element of competition that face-to-face group work brings.
Despite the negatives mentioned above, I believe that online university courses are a positive development for various reasons. Firstly, they allow learners to study in a flexible way, meaning that they can work whenever and wherever is convenient, and they can cover the material at their own pace. Secondly, the cost of a university education can be greatly reduced, while revenues for institutions may increase as more students can be taught. Finally, online learning offers open access to anybody who is willing to study, regardless of age, location, ability and background. For example, my uncle, who is 65 years old, has recently enrolled on an online MBA course in a different country, which would have been impossible in the days before Internet-based education.
In conclusion, while I recognise the possible disadvantages of online learning, I consider it to be a positive development overall.
People’s opinions differ as to whether or not school children should be given homework. While there are some strong arguments against the setting of homework, I still believe that it is a necessary aspect of education.
There are several reasons why people might argue that homework is an unnecessary burden on children. Firstly, there is evidence to support the idea that homework does nothing to improve educational outcomes. Countries such as Finland, where school children are not given homework, regularly top international educational league tables and outperform nations where setting homework is the norm. Secondly, many parents would agree that the school day is already long enough, and leaves their children too tired to do further study when they return home. Finally, it is recognised that play time is just as beneficial as study time from the perspective of brain development.
In spite of the above arguments, I support the view that homework has an important role to play in the schooling of children. The main benefit of homework is that it encourages independent learning and problem solving, as children are challenged to work through tasks alone and at their own pace. In doing so, students must apply the knowledge that they have learnt in the classroom. For example, by doing mathematics exercises at home, students consolidate their understanding of the concepts taught by their teacher at school. In my view, it is important for children to develop an independent study habit because this prepares them to work alone as adults.
In conclusion, homework certainly has its drawbacks, but I believe that the benefits outweigh them in the long term.
(270 words, band 9)