Online learning divides opinion like few other issues in the world of higher education.
But regardless of whether you think this is a good or bad thing, there is no escaping the fact it is here to stay.
Despite claims about the democratisation of education through free online university courses and open educational resources, some potential students are being left on the wrong side of the digital divide.
Learners need not only the physical connections to the internet and appropriate hardware, but also the familiarity with technology to make online learning work.
Universities and governments need to do more to improve access to these resources or risk leaving some of the most disadvantaged students behind.
Full Text: Online education: can we bridge the digital divide?.
Even in the richest countries on the planet such as the U.S., not everyone has easy access to this cornucopia of connectivity, the Internet. The Internet is a tremendous growth engine, responsible for 21% of economic growth in the more advanced countries in the world, according to a McKinsey study . While those of us in the United States complain about how we have to pay more for Internet service that’s slower than those of other first-world countries, within the United States there’s a gaping chasm between the haves and the have-nots. In this infographic by OnlineITdegree.net , an ad-free website describing itself as “an online informational resource for individuals looking to pursue IT degree of related education and careers,” you’ll find surprising information about the differences in Internet access in the United States. There are vast gaps between Internet accessibility in cities and rural areas, racial disparities in Internet access (which isn’t as pronounced as it was a decade ago), and the growing gap between rich and poor and its influence on who goes without computers or Internet access. Beyond that, you’ll see more information about how the U.S. lags behind other countries in Internet technology, broadband speed and access. This is the part that has us scratching our heads. Why do you think the United States lags behind less-wealthy countries when it comes to Internet access? Do find that as frustrating as we do? What do you think should be done about this persistent digital divide? Let us know in the comments. Infographic courtesy OnlineITDegree.net More About: digital divide , infographic , internet , trending For more Tech coverage: Follow Mashable Tech on Twitter Become a Fan on Facebook Subscribe to the Tech channel Download our free apps for Android , Mac , iPhone and iPad
Digital Divide: If You’re Reading This, You’re One of the Lucky Ones [INFOGRAPHIC]