Is Online Education Effective in Raising Future Energy Experts?

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Energy and the environment are and will continue to be the watchwords in the early 21st century. In the wake of President Obama’s famous speech in February 2009, when he raised the development of a green economy to the top of America’s agenda, the entire nation has been hearing about “green jobs.” Hence during the 2010 gubernatorial elections, few candidates nationwide can afford avoiding discussion of sustainability in their policy proposals. The question remains how we will be able to reach that target.

Various social sectors have set out to meet the promised economic transformation. A number of universities have been expanding their environmental science departments. Outside of labs and classrooms, we have also seen a rapid expansion of energy companies, corporations, which aspire to profit from the most recent energy technology.

The nonprofit sector has also been on top of the game. While raising public awareness of energy-related issues, some have taken unconventional approaches to reach the public. These include Bridging Nations Foundation in D.C., which recently announced the launch of the College of Energy and Environment-an online certificate program that focuses on energy policy and technology. Programs such as the College aim to help create a green economy by inspiring technology innovations and creative policy making.

Online education has some unique advantages. In early August 2010, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, asserted that “in five years the best lectures in the world will be available for free on the web.” This prospect, according to Bill, will make the internet “better than any single university.” At this moment, although free college education is not yet widely available (at least not in the U.S.), online education already takes pride in its affordability and flexible schedule, both of which appeal to recent college graduates and mid-career professionals. If we want to train energy experts quickly enough so that they can meet the energy challenge before it is too late, online education enjoys great potential.

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Source by Yan Liu

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