Landing : Athabascau University

Debate: Online courses should be tailored to cultural, ethnic, or national audiences

Online learning or distant education as some call it is an increasingly popular method of learning that involves students learning and accessing course material from a remote location. This method of learning has brought a whole new dimension to how learning and education are perceived. Now, students from different countries and continents across the globe can learn from the same virtual classrooms and participate in the same online group courses as other students from around the world.  The question then becomes, “should online courses be tailored to account for diversity of culture, ethnicity and nationality of students when course content is being created”?

I am for the motion that online courses should be tailored to suit a diversity in culture, ethnicity or nationality of its students.  The organization for economic co-operation and development (OECD) said “Early philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato pointed out that education was central to the moral fulfilment of individuals and the well-being of the society in which they live”. The key thing to note here is that although education is intended to improve knowledge of an individual, a more important aim of education is the development and improved well-being of the society in which such an individual finds him or herself. So, if a particular online course does not take into consideration the society of its students, then one of the main aims of education is defeated. Take for example, a student living in South Africa takes an online business course from an American University and the course content only focuses on the American economy. The student might graduate with a business degree, having knowledge of tax laws and other necessary regulations to successfully operate a business in the United States. However, the student might not have learnt much to be able to effectively improve his immediate society.

Another reason why online courses should be tailored to different national audiences is fact that software and technology used all over the world is different. Take for example, course content for an online course was designed to be viewed only using Microsoft PowerPoint. This might seem like a reasonable requirement for a student in North America. It might be presumptuous to assume that this software is readily available in all countries all over the world. 

In conclusion, tailoring online courses to student’s cultural, ethnic and national backgrounds not only ensures that students get the best quality of education, it also makes it easy for students to apply what they have learnt in their immediate environments.