For the 10th year in a row, online class enrollment has been on the rise. It’s no secret that online education is changing higher education as a whole. More than 32 percent of students enrolled in higher education are taking at least one online course, according to US News.
People are drawn to online classes because of their unconventional approach to education, especially when life is too busy to commit to a campus. While an online education is perfect for less traditional students, there are still pros and cons.
Abundance of classes and degrees: Just because you’re getting an online degree means you’re limited in what you can study. Colleges make it a priority to provide an array of opportunities. You can get a bachelor’s, master’s or even a law degree. But you aren’t limited to whole degrees—you can take individual classes as well.
Learn at your own pace: In conventional classes, students are at the mercy of a time-stamped syllabus. Online classes allow students to take their time to soak in the information. Recorded lectures can be paused and rewound, so interruptions can easily be conquered.
No physical attendance: This opens up opportunities for students who can’t make it to a campus, specifically during conventional hours. For people who want to take classes but work full-time, taking online courses gives them the flexibility to take classes when they can squeeze them into their schedule. That may be during lunch, after the kids go to bed, or in the early hours before heading to work.
Less one-on-one interaction: For those who thrive on a more hands on approach with class discussions, online classes may leave students wanting. However, technology makes it easy for student to collaborate. It’s not the same face to face interaction, but it’s accessible and often more comfortable.
Perceptions: While the reputations of online schools are growing, there may still be a stigma that stops employers from fully embracing online schools. Some employers may not accept an online degree or the university from which it was earned.
Requires self-motivation: For those who driven to finish school in any way, shape or form, online schools are the perfect solution. However, online degrees take time, and oftentimes students put off doing the work until the very last minute. This can have serious implications on the effectiveness of the education and system as a whole. Unless you’re a self-starter and very motivated, online schools may not be the right fit.
While taking online classes may not be the best fit for every student, it goes without saying that they’re convenient and a good investment. Regardless, investing in yourself and furthering your education is a great idea in a tough economy, and online degrees allow students to take classes on top of everyday life.
For those wondering what the future of online education is like, see the following infographic. A lot of time was spent on it, so I hope you’ll enjoy it. 🙂
image credit: Shutterstock