There are many reasons to consider online degrees and classes versus traditional classroom settings. Have you ever taken an online course? Maybe a high school class or just for fun? Are you thinking about going back to college? There is a lot to think about and we address some of the main advantages and possible challenges below.
Advantages of Online Degrees and Classes
Online Degrees may be the way to go for students who are working or recent high school graduates who want to enter the workforce right away. However, it is important to know if you personally will learn well from online courses. It is definitely a different way to learn and requires more self-guidance and time management. Some of the pros of online degrees and classes are:
- Flexible scheduling
- Faster completion
- Study anytime
- Login from anywhere
- Access to more colleges
- No commute
- Potentially lower costs
- Accredited programs
The Disadvantages of Online Classes
While the pros usually outweigh the cons for most students there are some things to consider. Especially when thinking about how you like to learn.
- No face-to-face interaction
- Not all majors are available
- Increased personal responsibility
- Networking challenges
- Requires self-direction
Requirements for Online Learning
Since online classes are, well, ONLINE, there are some things you need to have in order to complete the online courses. They are typically not provided by the school and you must purchase them on your own.
- Textbooks (just like traditional classroom learning). Sometimes these are available in electronic form. Most likely you will be required to purchase some sort of material for each class.
- Computer and Internet. You can log in to online classes from most places so it is possible to take online classes from library computer labs, internet cafes, etc. However, then you are beholden to their business hours and available of equipment.
The Structure of Online Degrees and Classes
As mentioned earlier--one of the best advantages of online classes is that you can study anytime from anywhere. However, some online courses require some online interaction with the instructor and/or classmates. This may or may not be set for a particular day and time. This is up to the instructor. Be sure to verify any time requirements before signing up for particular classes. It is important for the success of your learning that you be available during these times if it required.
Is it cheaper to go to college online or on campus?
This is an important question considering the rising costs of college tuition. Typically, online degrees are less expensive than attending a traditional college. While the cost per credit hour may be about the same, the savings comes from the following:
- Ability to maintain a current work schedule
- No travel time expenses to attend class on campus
- No room and board fees to live on campus
How Do Employers View Online Degrees vs Traditional Degrees?
Lastly, it is important to consider how your degree will be viewed by employers. Since the entire point of getting any type of degree (online or otherwise) is to advance your knowledge and career in a particular field--you need to be sure all that work you are doing is going to matter.
Online degrees and classes have come a long way in a short period of time. With the advancement of technology and the growing demands of working students, colleges and universities have risen to the occasion.
Most employers view online degrees the same as traditional degrees when they have been obtained from accredited institutions.
According to an article in U.S.News, "...for lesser-known schools, employers will often verify whether an online program is accredited, meaning an outside authority ensures the program meets high standards of quality."
More and more the reality is that most employers don't even realize that a degree was obtained online unless the school is known for being exclusively virtual.
Also, it is very easy to demonstrate your time management skills when obtaining an online degree, especially if you were working at the same time.
The Take Away about Online Degrees and Classes
It is important to consider how you learn best in any type of learning situation. However, an online degree or courses may be perfect for you if you are working, trying to save money and balance your life. There are a lot of advantages to being able to study anytime from anywhere.
Learn More about GLCC's Online Classes
We have a variety of adult education online courses. Choose from 2 & 4 Year Accelerated Online Courses in Biblical Theology and Christian Leadership & Communication. There is NO APPLICATION FEE and courses start every 5 weeks.
This article first appeared in 2018 and has been since updated.