Teaching online work will empower students

Ratnika Batra

Unfortunately, many people hate their jobs, and others work in hostile environments that they wish to retreat from. Thanks to the rise of the Internet, people can opt to work from home, either temporarily or permanently. The Internet is our present and future. Despite this, the University of Texas does not offer enough classes that teach us how to work online.

Working online provides people with flexibility that an office job might never be able to provide. In many online jobs, such as blogging and vlogging, people are their own bosses. Which means that biases against sex, color, race or disability do not play a role in the hiring process or in the job itself. Working online is empowering as people can take full control over their self-made businesses.

While blogging and vlogging may seem an option only for writers or comedians, respectively, they have a scope for all types of fields — scientists can write blog posts too.

More classes at UT that teach blogging and vlogging, in a variety of majors, can help students with disabilities build a future where they are not restricted by whether or not a company has accommodations for their disability. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, only 17.5 percent of people with a disability had a job compared to 65 percent of people without a disability. While UT can’t significantly improve these numbers alone, it can provide disabled students with more skills to succeed.

An even more staggering statistic is that 1 in 4 women have reported sexual assault at their workplace, while many others don’t even report it. They feel that if they report an assault, their job will be at stake — their promotion could be hindered or they may lose their job as a result of some small mistake. Sexual assault is not the only problem, pregnancy or a sexist mentality could also create such hostile environments. In such cases, working online is a preferable alternative that can be used to earn money or to build up a resume for their next job. But for women to really be confident about earning money online, they need to have some preexisting knowledge of how blogging or vlogging works. If UT adds more of such courses, UT women will feel more empowered in their workplace.   

The Internet is also an amazing place to build a community without any borders. Future generations might be more open-minded and accepting of each other because they can communicate their problems and see how much alike they are than not.

One such person is Lilly Singh, a YouTube vlogger from Canada with over 11 million subscribers. Travelling across the world, working with celebrities such as Dwayne Johnson and Bill Gates, she has a global appeal amongst people of all ages. Her message is “one love” for all. She brings people together and it couldn’t have been done without the internet.

Contrary to popular belief, working from home is not an anti-social move, although it can be; it is a move that might be best suited for some people; it could also be a move that is best suited for someone’s life goals—like Lilly Singh’s goal of bringing people together.

This is where UT should step in and help students reach their potential. From designing the aesthetics of a website to the writing the content — all this can be taught in a class. Even if one does not want to make a living from online work, it is definitely a resume builder and a skill builder. UT should jump to the opportunity presented by the dominant presence of internet and enable students to work online.  

Batra is computer science and rhetoric and writing junior from New Delhi, India.