Participating in online distance learning programs have their advantages and disadvantages, just like everything else. But, when it comes to something as important as one’s education, you want to get it right the first time. Most definitely, you should choose the school and format that best fits your educational needs, as well as, your personality. Due to the popularity of online learning, more and more students seem to be opting for this convenient way to attend college or a university. Why is that? Simply put, the need for convenience and flexibility is because everyone is so busy with other responsibilities. As our everyday lives dictate our schedules, online learning allows students to choose when they attend class, instead of the traditional brick and mortar school that dictates when you will attend.
Let’s explore some advantages of online learning. Would you like to earn your degree while wearing your pajamas and rabbit-eared slippers? If so, no judgment here. Obtaining an online education will provide you with an at-home and relaxed way to complete your coursework. Typically, with an online program, you will be allowed to send in your assignments electronically; therefore, the need for face-to-face contact is limited. Now, there may be a few exceptions, so be prepared if a “facetime” session with your professor and peers is scheduled to avoid embarrassment!
And, how about the convenience and flexibility that an online degree program provides?
Through this format, you can work on your coursework when you want. Most online classes are considered “asynchronous.” This term means that you can log in to your learning management system whenever you would like and complete the assignment at your own pace. Will you have deadlines to meet? Yes, most online programs give you assignments with a timeframe to adhere to, typically at the end of the week.
Online learning is for all ages. Are you recently out of high school? If so, online degree programs provide you with flexible learning options, time to spend with friends and family, as well as, the opportunity to hold a part-time job if you’d like. As an established adult trying to maintain a full-time job, raise a family and pay a mortgage and car payment, online learning is your best bet, for sure. As you learn, you can also fulfill your financial obligations and spend quality time with your family.
Does online learning cost less than the brick and mortar option?
Post-secondary education in today’s world is expensive, no matter what format you choose; however, by making an informed decision about online schooling, you will not waste your money nor your time. Traditionally, online learning costs less than the traditional on-campus format, but not always. You must do your homework on this point if costs are a deciding factor for you; however, online schooling typically is cheaper primarily because you are saving money on a daily basis: no transportation costs, no on-campus housing expenses, and no food and wardrobe budget to worry about, if you are studying at home. Also, online schools will often supply you with course materials online; therefore, eliminating the cost of college textbooks.
Online learning will allow you to communicate with your classmates and your professor. A misconception about online degree programs is that you are left to fend for yourself, that you have no access to help or that you will not have the support or camaraderie of fellow classmates. After all, isn’t developing lifelong friendships supposed to be part of the “college experience?” Yes, it is. So, online schools do give you the opportunity to be a social butterfly, if you wish. Networking opportunities are available, as well. You can communicate with others through virtual chatrooms and other social network outlets.
Most importantly, as it should be, you can easily find accredited online programs that fit your needs and will allow you to transfer credits if needed. With a wide array of degree programs to choose from, you will find one or more that will help you acquire your dream career, anywhere from an online certificate program to an online doctoral degree program.
With so many advantages to online learning, how could there possibly be any disadvantages?
Well, there are a few points to consider. First, beware of schools that have a “diploma mill” reputation. They generally are not accredited; therefore, you are wasting your time and money. If you are not self-disciplined and self-motivated, online learning is definitely not for you. Although online educational programs are convenient, it may require a more significant workload, particularly if you wish to finish your syllabus ahead of schedule. Are you well-versed in the basics of computers? Do you have excellent written communication skills? Do you have the required equipment and Internet service at home to meet your online program needs? If not, perhaps the traditional classroom is also for you. If the one-on-one teaching method works better for you and you need a professor at the ready to answer your questions immediately, you may want to forego online learning. Although online learning provides you with access to professors through email or by phone, it may take them a few hours or a day to respond, therefore, holding up your progress.
So, only you can decide which format suits your needs the best. Also, be aware that some schools offer a combination of online and on-campus classes designed to accommodate everyone’s needs.
If you are interested in an online distance education program to explore, OnlineSchoolsCenter.com has compiled a list of the Top 20 Online Schools for Bachelor’s in Political Science, if this field is of interest to you. The highly beneficial poli-sci curriculum is perfect for students who have a desire to understand the proceedings of national and international government systems.
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