Volume 93, Issue 21

Tuesday, October 5, 1999


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Move forward, but look back

Move forward, but look back

The latest addition to the information superhighway will cost about $25,000 to access and will take about two and a half years to complete.

An executive Masters of Business Administration degree in information technology is now being offered online to anyone interested in attending school full-time from the comfort of their own Lay-Z-Boy and fuzzy bunny slippers.

The degree is being offered by an equally new post secondary institution, called Unexus University, based out of Fredricton, New Brunswick.

Since most Canadian universities offer online courses, it would be no stretch of the imagination to conceive that an institution could offer an entire degree off the internet.

The program, aimed at business execs, is a perfect door opener to individuals who may not have the opportunity to attend a regular university campus during regular school hours. It is also ideal for those who have families to support and full-time jobs leaving them unavailable for classes which take place during the day.

Geographically, the online Unexus U also offers a great chance for individuals living far away from a post-secondary institution to get an education.

Perhaps the most engaging part about the online university is its cost. Obtaining an executive MBA at a regular post secondary institution can run a student anywhere between $65,000-$85,000. Unexus' program will run at half the cost and have plenty of advantages.

So are there any problems with offering an entire degree online? Of course. It's certain a few will pop up once and a while. First and foremost, there is an issue of the type of education a student will receive online as opposed to in a classroom setting.

There's no sense denying the two educational experiences will be completely different, however, it's hard to predict which will provide the better experience. In the end, if a student completes a program feeling they have been educated and have benefited from their learning environment, no one can argue one is better than the other.

Having said this, however, it must be understood that this type of online learning will not work for all types of university programs. Many courses in programs like science and engineering require students to have a certain amount of laboratory hours.

An all-internet all-the-time degree can be a wonderful thing in today's world of advancing technology. However, if this technological wave continues into the future, as internet progression usually does, then caution must be taken. A computer can not provide the social aspect you can get within the physical walls of an post-secondary institution.

After all, the one thing computers are still incapable of providing is real human contact. We have a responsibility to make sure the race for technology doesn't leave this fact in the dust.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999