An interview with Prof. Petar Atanasov, PhD
Coordinator at the Postgraduate studies-New Media and social networks, member of the Centers for inter-ethnic relations, culture, media and communications, ISPPI, UKIM, Skopje, Macedonia, Professor of Sociology and Communication
1. What is your opinion on the development of the online education globally?
It is a fantastic process. Not quite sure what you literally mean when you say online, but every part fits into the learning technology and in the globalization conditions. As the world is getting digitalized, this type or manner of learning will be more present. Since the online learning is a part of one general process of online living, it can not be separated from it. To illustrate the trend, larger universities in the Western countries are issuing distance learning diplomas. In future the services will be more diverse and the online education will grow. In addition to this, the expenses for studying will be overall lower on all educational grounds.
2. Are you of an opinion that the online education will dominate in the next 10 years in the developed countries in the world?
No, the standard and the traditional institutions will still prevail, as they are already established, structured, both administratively and financially perplexed. However, the online life and the education will grow, together with the other spheres where there will be more electronic and digital presence. The traditional education system will still be the dominant one, al least in the next 10 years.
If the same entities create this online learning on behalf of these same universities, then the learning will also grow. A diversification of the services and in the education is expected to occur in the market. Just one example, how come General Motors does not sell management education at this very moment?, and other similar cases. Changes will occur in these areas.
3.If you would have to choose between a traditional and an online class, with all characteristics of top quality of settings fitted to the students’ needs, what will be your choice?
Of course, the traditional class is still a priority. I want a live contact, words said person to person. This is particularly important in the social sciences. The relation professor-student is irreplaceable. Other educational sciences differ – in the medical sciences a camera can be the tool, where as in the natural sciences figures are more utilized.
There is no doubt that the combination of e-learning and the traditional studies, will maximize the success in gaining knowledge. In any case, the traditional class is irreplaceable in respect to the lectures on concepts and science.
Just an illustration: a couple of weeks I participated at one digital e-conference in Slovakia (I was in Skopje). All presentations were on the web, there were comments, debates and an excellent communication, but without live world or contact. Another example-with my colleagues in London I communicate via Skype and debate on a particular project that I am involved in. A lot of news are occurring, there will be more to come.