Is online education for you?

When considering an online education program, it is imperative that you know the type of learning style that works for you. There are things that must be considered when choosing a program, including costs, accreditation and more.

Taking online courses opposed to on-campus courses has become a very popular alternative in obtaining degrees, as technology has created a way for online education to become more accessible to students of all ages. As with anything, online education has advantages and disadvantages. This is where your learning style comes into play. You can receive a valuable education with online schools, but your learning style has to be compatible with online courses in order to be successful. This will determine if the pros of taking online courses outweigh the cons. To learn more about the pros and cons of online education, as well as how much you can expect to pay for these courses, refer to the sections below.

Benefits of Online Education

The first benefit of online education is flexibility. In most cases, you can log on and complete your course material whenever it fits into your schedule. Of course, you should still pay close attention to deadlines for your homework and other assignments, but the actual pace of the work is more flexible than a traditional classroom. As long as you consider deadlines and stick to them, you can read and go over material whenever you want. This is a big advantage if you are trying to balance your education with a career or family.

Because online education is an option that is continuing to increase in popularity, online degrees and certificates have become more available. Online education programs can offer certificates, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctorate degrees.

In most cases, online education programs offer 24/7 access to course materials. A traditional college setting requires you to take your own notes to remember class lectures throughout the semester but with online education programs, you may have access to written lectures available to you for the entire term. Because of this, you will always have the option to go back and review and take your own notes from the lecture.

Online programs also give you the opportunity to take classes at universities and colleges all around the country from the comfort of your own home. The flexibility of time and location is a major advantage to taking courses online. Another great advantage to online courses is that there is no need to commute to classes. In that extra time, you could complete homework, continue studying, work or raise your family.

Another pro for online education is that you are able to choose when and where you want to complete your schoolwork. You also are usually able to go at your own pace. Lastly, when you enroll in an online program, you will have a variety of program or course options to choose from that are offered through schools. You can take courses in criminal justice, business administration or nursing, to name a few.

Detriments of Online Education

While there are many advantages to online education, this type of schooling does not work for everyone and could present issues depending on the type of student that you are.

The first disadvantage to online schooling is that your interaction with your instructor is limited. Your online professors typically play a limited part in your courses because they essentially guide you through the course material that has been pre-written or pre-recorded. Interactions with your teacher will typically center around discussions and feedback from assignments. If you perform better with one-on-one interactions with professors, you may work better in a classroom setting.

It is almost impossible to stay on top of your work in an online course without having a computer or any other necessary technology in your home. If you do not have access to a home computer, it will be very hard for you to keep up with assignments and discussions. If you do have a computer, it will be your responsibility to solve any troubleshooting issues with your computer or software, so it is important that your technology is up to date.

If you enjoy peer-to-peer interaction, it is probably best to take your courses in a physical institution. The interaction you will have with other students in an online program will be through discussions in online forums, and even that communication is limited.

Another disadvantage to online programs is that they do not offer campus resources like extracurricular clubs and activities. There are ways that different clubs and organizations enrich and educate students that are not available through an online program.

If you are prone to procrastination, you may have a hard time adapting to online education. In online courses, you will have to spend a lot of time self-directing and creating your own schedule to complete your work. You will not have anyone constantly reminding you of deadlines like you do in on-campus classes. Time management is key in being successful in online programs. This is extremely important for potential students wanting to pursue master’s degrees and doctorate degrees.

Online Education Costs

When searching for a college program, cost plays a huge role in determining where you decide to go. Many people rule out the option of traditional colleges and universities because of the costs associated with them.

When you enroll into an online program, you will typically pay less than you would for its brick-and-mortar counterparts. Schools that only offer online degrees and certificates are known for having fewer expenses. Online schools do not have property to pay for and manage, nor do they have thousands of faculty and staff members to pay each month. This allows tuition costs to be a lot lower. You can expect to spend between $100-$400 per credit hour for online courses, although this figure depends on the institution.

While cheaper does not always mean better, there is no correlation between the quality of education and how much you pay for your degree. When researching different online courses, make sure to find out the school’s admission rate, graduation rate and employment rate of students after they have graduated. You should also inquire about the online program’s accreditation and the faculty that teaches the courses. These factors should determine how much you are willing to pay for courses and whether or not you enroll.

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