Classroom versus online study
The benefits of online education
The topic of online education has never been discussed as much as it has this year, mainly because of the COVID pandemic. With campuses closed during lockdowns, many students had no option but to continue their studies online; and it seems many students are discovering that online education is just as good – if not better – than classroom education. There are several reasons why students prefer online courses, and it’s important to note that online education is equivalent to on-campus education. Benefits of online education include:
No geographical restrictions
The internet gives us immediate access to the world, meaning students have options to study online through universities and institutions that they wouldn’t be able to attend geographically. This is a great option for international students whose preferred school would otherwise be out of reach. It also means that students have more choice in terms of courses, not just universities. Through the offering of online education, students can search for the exact course that suits their needs, rather than settling for a course that is not ideal simply because they attend a particular campus.
Better engagement between educators and students
Online learning doesn’t mean you are isolating yourself and having to self-teach. These days you can attend an online classroom through your computer’s camera, and have face to face interaction with educators and other students. Technology means there is now plenty of opportunity for engagement while online learning, which enhances the learning experience.
Recent evidence has shown that many students find online classrooms far less intimidating than actual classrooms, and studying in the comfort of their own home provides a relaxing and non-confrontational environment for them to learn. For this reason, online learning is actually better for many students than classroom learning.
Faster responses from lecturers
Educators face the challenge of being time-poor and often unable to give one-on-one attention to each student. Online education is a time saver for educators as well, and students find they actually receive more attention from their educators through their online classes. Online students are generally asked to complete more-frequent assessments so that professors can monitor their competence, and educators are able to respond quickly due to the content being all submitted online. This is a huge benefit because learning gaps can be identified and addressed faster, and students progress through their courses more successfully.
Lower fees and related expenses
The biggest “plus” for online education is the cost. A traditional university will cost a student far more in fees than an online course due to the cost of attending a campus. Online education is far more affordable and therefore is more accessible for those wanting to study. Students will also save money in transport to and from campus, accommodation if they live far away, and general expenses while on campus.
Less debt through student loans
Many online programs have been structured for students who are already working, and who are choosing to study part-time. This means you can still have the best of both worlds. Remaining employed while you are completing your studies means you will be financially better off, and therefore may not need to take out a student loan, or at least you may have a smaller loan than a full-time student. Smaller student loans mean you’ll be paying less interest, which is highly beneficial in the long run.
Flexibility in schedules
While some online programs may require students to be online at certain times and participate in classrooms; many do not. Generally, most classes are archived for future reference, so if you do miss the scheduled timeslot, you can catch up later. This allows for flexibility in your own day-to-day schedule – rather than having to be on campus to attend a class, you can take the class at a time that suits you online. This flexibility also allows students to work through the course material at their own pace, taking their time where they need to or moving ahead if that suits. Flexibility in schedules also benefits students who are studying around work commitments or children.
Working with modern technology
Technology is updated so frequently that sometimes it’s hard to keep up. However, students undertaking online study will find they are adapting to changing technology as their courses require it. Video conferencing, messaging, sourcing information and presenting findings are all skills that online students are developing while they undertake their studies. The ability to work with technology, learn to use it and adapt to changes enables a student to be better equipped to enter the workforce. This is especially important when studying information technology, as the industry is constantly changing.
Online learning is getting a good reputation
Online education is being recognised the same as classroom education, particularly when the student has studied through an accredited institution. The myth that getting a degree online was somehow less important than a campus-based degree is no longer a factor for most employers. Online college options will continue their increase in popularity as costs get lower (thanks to better technology) and quality of instruction evolves and improves. The future will see more and more students opt for getting their degrees online, and it won’t be too long before online studying is seen as the norm.
If you are considering entering into online education, contact our Student Services for information on course options.