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Online Degree, Online Courses and Distance Learning in Uruguay

About Online Degree, Online Courses and Distance Learning in Uruguay

Online courses and distance learning are not particularly common in Uruguay. The internet, while widespread amongst Uruguay’s urban population, is still a fairly new phenomenon – although about 90% of the country has internet access today, as recently as 2000 that number was less than 30%. Naturally, the development of internet-based businesses and institutions lags behind the extension of telecommunications infrastructure, and so there has been minimal development of initiatives in this area. However, several programs are in their nascent stages, and it is anticipated that online education will become far more common in the years to come.

Several online-only degree programs have been established in Uruguay over the last several years, almost all in the capital city, Montevideo. These programs typically focus on vocational training and job skills, although there are also online degrees available in various areas of psychology. At present, it is difficult to verify the quality of these programs, most likely because they are too young to have gone through the full accreditation processes mandated by the Uruguayan government. This is a natural hazard of online programs in any country – it is always difficult for regulatory structures to catch up with technology fast enough to enable timely accreditation of even the most reputable programs. Time will tell if Uruguay’s new online initiatives in the area of higher education are strong enough to gain a foothold in the country’s broader educational community.

Of online courses and distance learning programs in Uruguay, a significant number are directed not at Uruguayan students but rather at foreigners who want to learn Spanish from Uruguayan teachers. In an era of widespread online education, it is becoming increasingly popular for students and language schools to contract with teachers who specialize in instructing via Skype or other online tools. Many people in Uruguay, particularly in the main cities such as Montevideo, find that this is an extremely effective and efficient way to make money since jobs are not readily available in their home country. They do not need to leave their homes to teach, and students get all the benefits of learning a foreign language from the comfort of their own homes as well. This form of online instruction is becoming increasingly popular in Uruguay.

In general, the benefits and risks of online study in Uruguay are identical to those that would be encountered by students in any other country. The flexibility of online programs is the main thing that makes them popular with students, especially working adults and parents with young children – students in online programs have the significant advantage of being able to set their own schedules and work at whatever pace suits their own lifestyle. This makes higher education a possibility for countless students who would otherwise be unable to fit it into their schedules. In Uruguay particularly, the risks are also significant, and until reliable quality controls can be put into place it will always be debatable whether an online degree is the best option.