Does your idea of online college studies involve sitting stationary at a desk cluttered up by a large computer tower and monitor? Online education may itself be a relatively new wat to use technology to further knowledge, but even the type of technology used in online courses is continuously evolving. Today, online college programs are using new technology that gives students more freedom than ever when it comes to when and where they study.

An App for Online Learning

There really is an application for just about everything, and online college is no exception. Online college students have used smartphone apps to take and store notes, complete coursework and save assignments to cloud storage for some time now. However, more colleges and learning platforms than ever are incorporating the use of mobile apps into their virtual classrooms.

One popular new app, Brandman University’s “MyPath,” provides online course materials that take the place of traditional textbooks, Rhode Island-based news source WPRI 12 reported. It allows students to complete online coursework entirely on a mobile device like a tablet, so they can take online classes even if they don’t own a computer. The app also allows access to the device’s webcam during exams to discourage and detect cheating or other dishonest academic behavior.

The Pros and Cons of Mobile Learning

In the past, online learning hasn’t always lent itself to the use of mobile devices. Some online learning platforms still don’t work ideally on tablets. However, as more schools and platforms develop apps, more students are able to ditch their desktop computers and take online courses mainly or exclusively on tablets.

There are some definite advantages to using a tablet for online education. Because these devices are so portable – even more so than a laptop computer – they are easier for students to take with them anywhere they go. This means they can devote more time to their studies whenever it’s convenient for them – including, to use WPRI 12’s example, using just 20 minutes of free time to complete a quiz or work on an essay. The MyPath app also charges students per six-month session of studies rather than by the credit or course, so ambitious students can actually save money and shorten their studies by working hard to complete their courses at a faster rate than average. In effect, apps that allow online learners to study with their mobile devices can amplify the flexibility that already makes online college so popular.

One disadvantage to the rise of mobile learning is that without a dedicated workspace and set study times, it can be difficult for online students to stay organized and on track to get their work done.

The use of tablets for online learning is just one of many ways online college education is evolving technologically. Online lessons are becoming more interactive to engage students in their education. Instructors are adapting to different teaching models to make their online courses more effective.