The popularity of online schools has grown over the past several years. As computer technology advances, so does the structure of online courses. Improvements in technology have made online schooling a more accessible option for traditional colleges and universities.
Online schools are a relatively new phenomenon and is constantly evolving. Teachers and students alike are becoming more familiar how to navigate online courses, and programs continue to improve.
Online schools, as with anything, have their advantages and disadvantages. Although students receive just as valuable of an education in online school as in a campus-based school, whether or not their particular learning style is compatible with the structure of online courses determines if the pros outweigh the cons.
Pros of Online Schools
- Time flexibility. Online courses are convenient because students may log into the course material whenever it suits their schedule. This is particularly great for those also juggling a career and family.
- Availability. There is a growing number of online schools being established each year. This means that people considering pursuing an online degree can shop around for schools, finding the one that best suits their educational needs and desires.
- 24/7 access to course material. In the traditional college setting, students must rely on their notes in order to remember class lectures.
- Location flexibility. With online schools across the world, students can now take classes from a different state or country without leaving the comfort of their own home.
- Zero commute. This is one of the most appealing advantages to online school, as the extra time it takes to commute to classes, could be time spent completing homework, studying, working, or raising a family.
- Self-Direction. Students choose when and where they complete schoolwork and are able to determine their own pace.
- Multi-media presentations. Many online courses use a variety of media, such as CD/DVD’s and a Web Cam, to teach lessons and to aid students in completing their homework.
- Variety of course options. There is virtually no limit to the variety of classes offered through online schools.
Cons of Online Schools
- Limited interaction with instructor. Online professors usually have a limited role in teaching, as they primarily guide students through the pre-written or pre-recorded course material, rather than teach it.
- Technology requirements. Not everyone has access to a computer in their homes, or their computer might not be equipped with the latest technologies, which inhibits their online learning experience.
- Social interaction. One of the benefits of attending courses in a traditional bricks-and-mortar school is the peer-to-peer interaction.
- Campus environment. Online schools lack valuable campus resources such as extracurricular clubs and activities that can be both enriching and educational.
- Time management. Individuals who are prone to procrastination will have an especially difficult time adapting to the structure of online school. Hours of self-directed work are necessary to get through all of the material, including course lectures, video supplements, assignments, assigned textbook reading and discussions.
- Stigma. Although online schools have gained more credibility over the past few years. There is a common misconception that online school is easier than traditional schools, and employers may not take your degree seriously.
- Credit transfer. Until the stigma of online school is eradicated completely, it will remain slightly more difficult to transfer online course credits to a traditional school.
- Financial aid. Not all online schools will accept financial aid, so students who will require financial aid to assist in paying tuition should do their research before sending out any application.
These are the pros and cons of online schooling you should be aware of.