The Daily Illini

Editorial: Online learning needs to be more innovative and engaging

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

In an educational atmosphere that is increasingly digital, teachers need to be creative to keep students engaged when teaching online classes.

Traditional classroom courses may have the same amount of work, such as readings and quizzes, but having a regimented schedule and in-person meetings with a teacher who can help you with the course keeps students engaged and on track, regardless of the subject.

The same is not true for online classes. Online classes don’t give professors the chance to interact with students in person, and often the material is dry.

Students can zone out of video lectures, if they even watch them, and there is less of a feeling of responsibility to complete work for the class when there is no one to answer to on a regular basis.

This is not to say online classes are bad, as they do still offer a lot of possibilities; the future is headed in the direction of these classes, so it’s important that they can be made more engaging and meaningful in an educational experience.

This is what makes the new 3D animal anatomy app, Bessie, so important. Although it is still in its beginning stages of development, the app will allow veterinary students to learn the anatomies of a variety of animals whether they can access them or not. This means that even at another school, where maybe the class does not have access to a cow, their students are not excluded from learning.

Innovations such as this app push online classes and more digital classes in the right direction. Even though they might not exemplify the traditional methods of learning, they are using advanced technology in a way that will engage students and make online learning more memorable.

Technological advancements are making education more accessible than ever before. Online courses offer an alternate mode of learning for people who may not have the ability to attend school or need to complete school work around unique schedules — it makes the education more universally acceptable.

The 3D app follows that path toward a more educated mass. As we use our advancements to better our own classes, we are in turn making education for everyone a little better.

There is no way of knowing the path that education will take in the future, but progress rarely reverts. As we move toward online courses and digital learning, it’s important that we don’t use the same model that we used in traditional classrooms.

There is no way of knowing how this app in particular will impact education, but trying innovative methods is the only way to make this new type of learning work.

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