On the Crossroad: The Future of Optometric Education Online
There is little doubt that optometric education has become more popular in the past few decades thanks to greater access to optometry schools along with advances in treating the eyes through new vision-correction techniques.
In addition to the rise in the interest of optometry, and subsequent rise in salaries, the advancement of online education has also taken to the forefront as well. What was once the domain of classrooms on campus has now spread to all corners of the world thanks to the advances of computer technology as well as the internet. Today, more people than ever are getting their degrees at home without having to set foot on a campus or travel any further than their computer screen.
The effect that online education has had on colleges and universities is certainly profound. However, with all the benefits there are still certain degrees require presence in the classroom, labs and with internships that no online experience can possibly simulate. Optometric education is certainly one that needs their students on campus in order to properly teach them what is needed to complete the degree.
The Corruption of Optometric Education through Online Education
Although many different educational studies have been enhanced by online education, in particular the means by which students can study at home and learn at their own pace, optometric education is simply not well suited for this type of study.
While many basic programs such as general sciences, biology and other related fields are certainly well suited in the build-up to the study of optometry, the actual education in the optometric field through online courses has certain disadvantages.
No Hands-On Experience: A big part of optometric education is being in the lab and working on subjects that can offer the proper experience needed to become fully immersed in the subject. No online experience to date can properly simulate actually being in the lab or working with patients in the field.
No One to One Training: Given that optometry schools are relatively few, the attention that is gained by having an instructor provide one on one teaching is lost in the online world. While many other educational degrees have little difficulty being translated to online courses, optometric education is simply not one of them as having an instructor present is a vital part of the overall process.
No Camaraderie: Graduate classes in optometric education tend to be very tight as the students work with and learn from each other as well as the course material. That type of unity is simply not present in online education which emphasizes isolation over bonding with fellow students.
Lack of Patient-Doctor Interaction: Being a doctor means working with patients in all types of situations. This requires the experience of being in the clinics, hospitals and private practices where such interactions can be experienced. That is not possible with an online education.
The Future of Online Teaching and Optometric Education
There is little doubt that online education will continue to advance with even more people learning at home. However, until the day that online education can provide the same hands-on experience of being in the lab or provide the proper experience in dealing with patients, optometric education will still require being in the classroom, lab and out in the field in order to deliver the right educational experience.