It is a tough time out there business-wise, and many bricks and mortar businesses are struggling to compete with the online world. The same is true of educational institutions, and traditional colleges too. They are facing challenges of budget cuts and course shortages, which is causing students to search for alternatives.
So if you don’t choose the traditional route of going to a physical college or educational institute, is there where online courses are considered?
It is indeed, with these growing in popularity more than ever. Today there are almost three million students enrolled in online courses full time and another six million taking at least one online course or module as part of their entire degree.
Studying online has now become one of the most popular ways of getting a higher education, and as the reputation of online study is continually improving, the evidence is also showing that online learning can be just as effective, if not more effective as face-to-face learning.
Many people are under the impression that online courses aren’t as difficult as face to face and traditional ways of learning. However, the coursework, the amount of work and the standards you are expected to meet, remain is the same on both conventional and online courses.
You still have to take exams, write essays, create and present presentations, take quizzes, and complete projects whether you are physically in the classroom or you’re studying from home. Each of these assignments will also have a strict deadline, and whether you’re an online student or an on-campus student, you must meet the deadline just like anybody else.
In a lot of cases, online students can submit posts in a forum to engage in discussions with fellow students; this acts as an excellent alternative for in-person class attendance and debates and chats which would ordinarily take place in the classroom.
Weekly readings are also part of the online and on-campus courses as well as lectures which makes online learning just as effective and engaging as face to face learning.
If you’re looking into further education then there are many advantages to looking at online study:
The Variety of Programmes and Courses
While you may be used to the traditional four-year university courses, online learning means that there are far more course options on offer. No matter what the subject is, there are courses and programmes online ranging from a short course to a doctorate.
Whether it’s a short course on flower arranging or a couple of years on a masters, you can study from a range of institutions; you don’t need to live nearby, you don’t have to move house, you don’t even have to be in the same country.
You could register for an online Masters in Business Management or here to enroll on an online DNP – it’s really simple and easy to find out the information you need, and you’ll find all the options at the click of a button or tap of a screen.
A real positive of online courses is that they are quite often more affordable than traditional classroom-based courses. While the tuition fees might be similar, when you look at the whole picture and the associated costs such as living in university accommodation and commuting to your class, these expenses are eliminated, and course materials such as textbooks can also be found online at no additional charge.
There are also many free online courses or less expensive options.
Comfortable Learning Environment
No matter what your circumstances are, studying online will no doubt be more convenient for you. You can work from the comfort of your own home while you’re still in your pajamas, and not only this but if you have young children, you can save money on childcare as you are able to stay at home.
You have the great advantage of being able to do all your work in your own time and when it suits you.
You can listen to the lectures at your leisure, complete assignments which will be sent to you electronically and you won’t spend valuable time stuck in traffic getting to class. There’ll also be no need to leave social events and appointments early to make sure you don’t miss a class, and there’ll also be no need to miss out on family gatherings as you can work around your life and fit the work in to suit you.
This makes for a better work/life balance and also gives you more control over your life and managing your time and what you want to do.
Greater Concentration and Participation
You might think that online learning would lead to more distraction and less participation, however, according to evidence, the rate of online student participation versus the physical involvement of students in traditional courses is far more significant.
Online classes offer the quieter students the opportunity a safe space to participate in class discussions more comfortably than they would do in face-to-face lessons. Some students have even reported better concentration in online classes due to the lack of classroom activity.
While studying online, students can work more efficiently at the same time which can be great for career advancement and fast-tracking. Studying online also shows prospective employers that you have discipline and motivation to work independently. It shows that you are ambitious and prepared for new challenges.
While studying online saves you time and money on commuting there is also some other benefits to not having to travel to your lectures. If circumstances such as snowstorms mean that university lectures are canceled, this won’t affect you when you’re studying online.
As an online student, you can still “attend” by participating in discussion boards or chat sessions, turning in your work on time, and watching lectures or reading materials.
Improve Your Technical Skills
Online courses require you to use and navigate different learning management systems (LMS) and programmes. This is not usually needed for a traditional face to face class, so if you choose to go online, this gives you an advantage over the face-to-face learners and a new skill you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Learning new software and developing your technical skills will help you in your future career as this skill translates to many jobs. As an employee, you might have to create and share documents, incorporate audio or video materials into reports and complete online training sessions so having this experience from your course is really beneficial.
How Do Online College Classes Work?
It can be challenging to picture how an online course would work, so here’s a little insight into how you could earn a degree from the comfort of your own home. You will be using the chosen Learning Management System, and the course information will then be uploaded onto a portal which you’ll be able to access quickly and easily.
There will most likely be a Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle, which will provide an open exchange of information between yourself and your lecturers. Students will also be able to see lectures and course materials, such as PowerPoint presentations and syllabi, at your leisure on some courses. On others, there will be a schedule showing you when some aspects of the course will become available to you.
You will be able to submit course assignments through the system and also post your thoughts and questions on the discussion forums and chat with other students. Professors may then provide feedback to you through comments or email via the network.
So, what are you waiting for? Get searching online to increase your qualifications, your skills, enhance your career… and who knows where you could be a year or two from now?