The Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Classes Over Traditional Classes

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Ever since the emerging information technologies and the Internet expanded rapidly in almost every industry, the educational institutions have been one of those that are facing evolutionary challenges. Erica Wagner, dean of the School of Information Management at Ivey University, is concerning about whether the use of Internet such as online education would threaten and replace the traditional classroom teaching in campus in the near future.

In fact, due to the flexibility and comparably low cost, more and more working students tend to choose online courses for their higher education. There would be no limits for the locations. They don’t need to resign from current jobs and they can take the courses by their own pace. Besides on those prestigious educational campuses as Ivey University, there has been a significant amount of development in online education offerings from the competition of new players of online universities and other open sources via the Internet. These upstarts directly cause the threat to traditional universities’ enrollment, especially in executive education programs.

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As Peter Drucker said, ”Thirty years from now the big University campuses will be relicts. Universities won’t survive. It is as large a change as when we first got the printed book.” Ivey University is a prestigious education institution with peer faculty, among which there are twelve Nobel Prize winners contributing to its research institution’s development of new knowledge. It performs two main activities as research and education. Undergraduate enrollment, master’s program, PhD program, executive education and professional education programs are offered by Ivey University. Ivey has many world-class research centers and a large community of stakeholders locally and globally. With its well-known brand recognition around the world, it had been focused on global expansion through partnerships and satellite campuses in Asia and Europe, and South American for the next. With the rapid demand for higher education in the emerging markets around the world, especially focusing on the high technologies, Ivey University had executed its development strategy and renewed its revenue models to come up with the market demands. Since Dr. Wagner already had concerns about Ivey University’s future survival, the threat of online education to traditional teaching model can no longer be ignored. In this case study, we’ll find out whether the Internet could be a disruptive technology in higher education market.

Discussion Question

Do you agree with Peter Drucker’s opening quote? I do partially agree with Peter Drucker’s opinion that traditional education in campus will be replaced by online education as we can already see from the phenomena that the higher education program’s enrollment has declined over the decades and more students are changing their ways to pursuing online courses due to its convenience as well as the cheaper tuition fee. There is no need to build more institutional buildings, dormitories, parking lots and other facilities in campus. With accessible Internet, students can take online courses whenever, where ever. There would be no physical boundaries for them. Especially, they could save more money and more time which they supposed to spend on their way to campus. As we know, some of the students who choose higher education usually have been working in some organizations or already have a family to take care of. The flexibility of time is quite important to them. The Internet made it possible for them to have more options to go. Moreover, you can choose the same prestigious professor for online course, which means you’ll still have the high-quality assurance.

The part that I don’t agree with is that although high technology has brought tremendous changes to education industry, some traditional teaching methods still need to be kept in the future. For example, some research colleges or science institutions need the labs to do the experiments or data analysis. Besides the academic knowledges we could learnt from textbook or online resources, we still need more hands-on real experiences. For the fresh students, they definitely need the campus to build up their social life to make friends and get to know other students. Campus life will also enrich your experiences and provide abundant resources which would be helpful in your future career life. So in my opinion, Internet could be disruptive to replace some out-of-date teaching methods with online education, it cannot thoroughly eliminate traditional teaching in campus?

Is the Internet a disruptive technology in the education industry in general? And for Ivey’s School of Information Management in particular? A disruptive technology is one that takes the place of an established technology and evolves the industry that creates a completely new one. For sure, the fast-growing Internet has become disruptive to the education industry over the past years. It has changed the way how people get their higher education from. In the past, people are mandatory to go to school to take courses in the classroom. But now, people are more flexible to get the degrees or certificates at home or anywhere with the Internet. They can even have the “face to face” talk with professor via video conferences call applications. For Ivey’s School of Information Management, there should be less disruptive affects by Internet since it’s a prestigious and elite school. Students are willing to take the face-to-face courses from those Nobel Prize winners at the world-class research centers. However, it’s always good to think ahead to prepare for the ongoing evolution in digital age.

Alternative Analysis

Nowadays, most competitive and well-known enterprises are seeking for talents with higher education background. It is also a must if you want to get higher level position in a company. With the growing number of people applying for higher education degrees, online education becomes more and more popular in industry. Although there still exists stereotype. Some people might think that students taking online courses are not as professional as those from traditional universities. The grades they get are not official and widely recognized. However, the benefits from online education are more than that.

There is a variety of online programs with multiple schedule options for people to select. You can learn what you want to learn. Another convenience that I enjoy so much is that it provides more comfort than the traditional. You can lie in the soft to watch the online video with a bag of potato chips in hand. You can turn on some mellow background music at the same time work on the online exercises. If you catch a cold, you can still enjoy the course without worrying about the cough and sneeze. It’s up to you to control the learning progress. Last but not least, it provides lower cost than traditional teaching in campus. Financial Aid is also available for students who cannot afford currently.

For example, Coursera is the pioneer for the online education industry. It has the partnership with many universities and other organizations to offer online courses and degrees in a variety of subjects such as engineering, biology, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and others. As of June 2018, Coursera had more than 33 million registered users[3] and more than 2,400 courses [4]. For the management team from Ivey University, I’d suggest them measuring and analyzing the outcomes then focusing on its strengths to get on-line before it’s too late for the coming Internet challenges.


It’s the age of Internet. The Internet as a disruptive technology is so powerful that it has changed the way the world operates in all aspects. It has such great impacts on most of the industries that some of them have to change their traditional ways to meet its requirements in order to keep their business. Education is one of the industries that are facing the challenges of disruptive technologies. Even to those prestigious schools such as Ivey University, the dean of it has already had concerns about its future. Because it is for sure that Internet will play an irreplaceable role coming along with the development and improvement in modern life. We can easily tell from the emerging online education, which is a revolutionary change compared with the traditional education.

While on the other hand, we should still keep those physical institutional buildings in campus. Students majoring in chemistry, engineering or science for example, still need the labs for their research and analysis. These real lab experiences cannot be replaced by the virtual online experiences. They usually provide more practical hands-on skills to students with professor’s guide, which they cannot get from home.

When facing with the new technologies, people are inclined to get nervous and worry about how they could impact and change current status. The good thing is that IoT has greatly improved our daily life. What we need to do is to find out the effective measurement and solutions to leverage both the advanced and traditional ways which we can benefit from. Thus, we can make life better.

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