Over 20 years ago the first online courses were introduced. About Ten years ago, you started to hear about people earning their entire degree online. Today, you likely have family, friends, or colleagues who are online students. Yet, even though online learning is greatly normalized, there’s still an air of mystery for many. Even though the benefits of taking online classes are evident, —flexibility, affordability, and the opportunity to fit academics into a full routine—many people still can’t help but thinking there’s some sort of “catch.”
Let’s debunk some common misconceptions about online learning:
You need to be a computer expert
You will be isolated and have to teach yourself
In many ways, taking a class online is a lot like taking a class in a physical classroom on campus. You are still required to complete assignments outside of class, submit them for grading, and have classroom discussions.
Along with getting instruction from your teacher, you will learn with your peers through discussion, video, and other applications designed for collaboration.
The best online colleges hire teachers not only for their professional expertise, but also their ability to teach online. The technologies these teachers use are designed to be interactive. Tools such as blogs, chat, and video-conferencing make it easy for students to interact with their classmates and teacher.
Some students meet in person to work on projects. Places like their regional campus, a library, or a coffee shop are great spots to get together and work.
Online learning is easier
Unlike the traditional classroom, online students have to participate in their class. You can’t skate through a course by just attending and handing in your assignments.
What is easier is the flexibility of your class schedule. You plan your time for schoolwork around your schedule. This independence is attractive to people who value their education, but might have other commitments that come first, like family and work.
Online degrees are ‘less than’
The best online colleges undergo the same accreditation as traditional colleges. Accredited schools must prove the quality of their education by being assessed on national educational standards. The standards for online courses are the same for courses you take in a classroom.
Taking courses online to complete your degree has become ordinary at most every college and university across the nation. All you need to succeed is a computer, internet access, and basic word processing skills.
When you take a course online you are not alone. You are with a class of real people who are also working at home after tucking the kids into bed, finishing work emails, and between commercial breaks of their favorite TV show.
Were any of these misconceptions holding you back from taking an online course and finishing college? Were you surprised about some of the pros of online classes? Have you encountered misconceptions about online learning that you later found out just weren’t true?