Virtual universities and distance learning
The virtual university is another product of the WWW era (though the idea actually predates the Internet— in 1969 the Open University was founded in Great Britain, using television to broadcast its courses). VUs include both the online versions of institutions that existed long before there was an Internet, as well as those that offer their courses entirely online. Examples of institutions in the latter group include Michigan Virtual University, Canadian Virtual University, Syrian Virtual University, and the Virtual University of Pakistan. Some of these have affiliations with “brick and mortar” universities. For instance, CVU has affiliations with the University of New Brunswick, Athabasca University, and other prominent Canadian institutions, which means that students registered there can take online courses from any of these places; and MVU also includes a high school!
Virtual universities were created so that students who lived far away from the campus of the institution where they wished to attend classes and could not afford either to commute to and from campus or to pay to board there, would nonetheless have the opportunity of receiving an education there. (Of course, you have to pay the fees for online classes too, but the cost is much cheaper than if you attended them on campus.) Online learning has a number of other advantages as well. The student can watch the lectures at his own pace, and even pause the video in order to take notes on important points. And if he misses any part of it or would like to go over it again, he can always rewind it. The instructor, too, has the benefit of being able to reach students in many parts of the world.
Courses at online universities are conducted through websites and email. On registering for the desired class and paying his tuition, the student receives a user ID and password with which to log in. He can then watch each lecture online and take notes as he would the old- fashioned way (with the differences described above). Online courses are divided into sections called “modules,” each with its own topics and objectives. Written assignments are sent by email, which the student can do on his computer and send it to the professor as an attachment when it is complete.
Online learning has become a popular form of education. It gives students opportunity for free expression that they often do not have in a classroom. And less than a month ago, on January 31, MVU announced plans for a new holiday called Digital Learning Day!
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New Jersey has a long history of higher education. The Garden State was the only one of the thirteen original American colonies to have two colleges before the Declaration of Independence was signed. The College of New Jersey, now called Princeton University, was established in 1746 while Queens College, now called Rutgers University, was founded 20 years later.
Today New Jersey is home to 31 four-year colleges and universities as well as to 19 county colleges offering two-year degrees. New Jersey’s range of higher education options is very diverse and includes public and private schools, all women’s options, Catholic institutions and outstanding professional schools.
New Jersey Colleges and Universities
Princeton University, an Ivy League school, is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the country. It’s equally strong in science and liberal arts, and is particularly outstanding in the field of economics. Among the many illustrious faculty members and staff associated with Princeton University are Nobel Prize laureates Albert Einstein, Osamu Shimomura, Toni Morrison, Daniel Kahneman and Paul Krugman.
Rutgers University is a state university and the largest of New Jersey’s institutions of higher learning with three geographically separate campuses. The university consists of 29 schools and colleges with a 175 separate academic departments. Rutgers University has one of the highest percentages of female faculty in the nation.
Other well-known New Jersey colleges and universities include:
• New Jersey Institute of Technology: One of the nation’s outstanding science and engineering institutions
• The College of New Jersey: One of the top liberal arts colleges in the country
• Georgian Court: A private Catholic women’s university
• Seton Hall: A private coed Catholic university
• Drew University: A small university with a liberal arts emphasis
• Richard Stockton College of New Jersey: One of the most highly ranked schools in the Northeast for master’s degrees
Governor Christie’s Public Education Proposal
New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie recently introduced a proposal to overhaul New Jersey’s state public university system to make it more competitive. The centerpiece of the plan would be the merger of Rutgers University’s Camden Campus with Rowan University. According to a poll conducted by Rutgers University\’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, 57 percent of New Jersey residents are against the governor’s plan.
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