News You Can Use 6/07/01

E-Learning
By Bruce Mushial

     Many investors want to have little to do with e-anything or dot.gone companies, but one area of the Internet that will grow down the road is e-learning and the technology necessary to support it. Traditionally people have gotten into their cars and went off to a college, university, or trade school. If your schedule of free time didn't match when the classes were offered, or if you lived too far from the school you wanted to attend and couldn't just pick up and leave your existence behind you, too bad. Now things have changed. You can earn bachelor, masters, and doctorate degrees and complete certificate programs along with vocational training online. Many degree programs of this type were of questionable quality, but now degree programs are available that are fully accredited by the same academic accrediting organizations that accredit all the major colleges and universities. Now you can take classes at the pace you want and you can complete the coursework no matter how crazy or erratic your schedule. If you travel a lot for business you can log onto the school's website from your hotel room after a days work or at two o'clock in the morning. If you live in remote Alaska, Nova Scotia, or on an oilrig in the North Atlantic you can still complete a bachelor or masters degree. In traditional education there has been the expense of the instructor and the classroom space. At many colleges there is a minimum enrollment required for a course or it will be canceled and the instructor's time will be utilized in a different manner. Some courses have such a small enrollment that they are only offered once a year or only every other year. With e-learning this doesn't have to be the case. In California there are community colleges that have joined together to provide courses that usually have too few students enrolled to economically offer. They have one instructor teach the course, and via the Internet they provide the class in real-time to a small groups of students at colleges spread all across the state. The class format is interactive and students can ask questions of the instructor and each other. Once the courses are taught they can be used as teaching aids. Some would even say the education received is better than traditional courses because a student can review the actual lecture instead of just their notes. Most of the companies focused on e-learning are privately held, at the moment. The next time the markets become favorable for IPOs we will no doubt see some of these companies emerge. Other companies that will benefit from e-learning are providers of Internet Services, broadband technology, DSL, and manufacturers of video cameras. Keep your eyes open and you can profit from this growing technology.   

QUOTE"A star can win any game, but a team can win every game." -- Unknown

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