Over the past decade, more students have pursued an online degree. For many, the advantages of taking classes through an online mode far outweigh taking classes in a traditional setting.
The question for every student: Is an online degree program the right thing for me?
The education itself is not the issue. Online classes have become more refined. They now offer everything a student can get in a traditional classroom setting in terms of coursework and the skills and information that can be learned.
But some still find the online classes daunting. Students used to traditional settings might think it is hard to transition to an online class. But for most, it is much easier than it may seem.
Advantages of an Online Degree
The following highlights some of the advantages of taking an online course. Consider these before making a decision on what direction to go with your education.
Most people have seen commercials of online students studying in front of a computer in shorts and T-shirt. Or even pajamas. This is an accurate picture. All anyone needs to take an online class is a computer and an internet connection. All assignments come in electronic form and are accessed and completed by the student from their computer. The online class environment eliminates having to drive through traffic and finding a parking space at a college campus.
This applies especially to working professionals enrolled in master degree courses such as those offered by Merrimack College in data science and business analytics. Professionals have busy schedules. As older adults, they also have busier personal lives. Online courses allow them to take classes during a time that is convenient to their schedule. Materials are available online at all hours. That means those who want to study late at night or early in the morning have that option.
The tuition costs for online courses are not always less than traditional classes. However, common sense tells a student that other costs will be less. There is no commuting to campus so the expenses associated with driving back and forth to school are not incurred.
It seems contradictory to mention interaction when talking about learning at home on a computer. However, the online environment can be very engaging. Built-in communication tools allow students to interact. Outside of live synchronous online sessions, professors also often make themselves available through email, chat or message boards. Anyone who has ever used a chat room or messaging on Google or other platforms knows the convenience and ease of this technology.
Online courses now have risen to the same level as courses taken in a brick-and-mortar building. There is often no distinction between the quality of an online and an onsite, traditional course especially when the online courses are being offered through an accredited program. Online programs do not equal easy programs. Many of the online programs that are offered today are rigorous, challenging and rewarding.
For every individual, it’s important to think through what will work best for their particular situation and educational needs. But with the numerous advantages that online learning offers, many will discover why online courses and degree programs have become so popular and a perfect fit for so many learners.