In the past few decades, online degrees have reached the level of maturity with better accessibility and legitimacy. With worldwide access to the internet, students have adopted various new technologies with the discovery of online learning irrespective of their daily obligations, commitments and work schedule. The online learning is blooming as per the statistics recorded in 2019 where many students are using the internet and services to complete a degree program online and also many universities are working towards delivering a degree program online.
Potential students must choose the right college and the right course to pursue the degree program. This article helps in analyzing the boon and bane of virtual classroom learning.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is an Online Degree?
- 2 Choose an Accredited College
- 3 Pros of an Online Degree
- 3.0.1 Flexibility:
- 3.0.2 Fitting Classes Into Your Schedule:
- 3.0.3 Innovations and Advancing Technologies:
- 3.0.4 Career Advancement:
- 3.0.5 Self-Discipline and Responsibility:
- 3.0.6 Availability of Diverse Courses:
- 3.0.7 Time Management Skills:
- 3.0.8 Cost-friendly:
- 3.0.9 Social Interaction:
- 3.0.10 Communicating with Professors
- 4 Cons of online degree
What is an Online Degree?
An online degree is an academic degree which is solely pursued through the internet connected computers rather than attending a traditional on-campus class. The advent of technology has increased the online classes with flexible schedules and pursuing degrees at different levels.
Colleges offer online degree programs with similar schedules of a traditional degree by offering similar courses, assignments and deadlines to submit it. The only difference is the mode of delivery. Online platform makes it easier for the students to communicate with the professors in the virtual classroom by contributing to the discussions.
Choose an Accredited College
Many students find it daunting to choose the right college which offers accredited courses that aligns with their career goals. According to the U.S. department of education, the education accreditation means ensuring that the program offered by the institution meets the acceptable level of quality. Students must consider accreditation as a basic criteria and choose a program that is accredited by any of the six regional accrediting bodies such as Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and others.
When you choose a non-accredited program, you could lose the eligibility for federal student aid, unable to transfer credits to the next school and it also harms your credibility for employment.
Pros of an Online Degree
An online degree is an easy program for students to cope with their education as well as other obligations. Here is an overview of the advantages of an online degree,
Online Institutions are great when you have other responsibilities to meet and cannot afford to spend time at a traditional college. Flexible study hours help in better learning. Many students aim at attaining higher education while they are working. Hence, an online college aids students with the flexibility to work as they study ensuring that their careers advance with a higher earning potential.
Fitting Classes Into Your Schedule:
Students can easily fit online classes into their daily schedule. In situations where you are working, have to look after the family, living in a rural area or constantly locomoting can take up online learning to enable earning a degree when it seems impossible to attend a traditional education program. This also enables studying at your own timeline as well as reviewing the same lecture again if needed. The main focus is you can access the study materials, lectures, texts at your own learning pace.
Innovations and Advancing Technologies:
The advancement of technologies helps in creating a virtual classroom where the students can access the latest technologies and innovative ideas during the rolling semesters. You could also choose to complete your coursework as an independent according to your schedule. The Blackboard learning management system offers a complete online program within your reach.
While pursuing an online degree, the flexible study hours help in gaining practical experience as well as theoretical concepts simultaneously. You could learn at your own pace and attend an internship in the meantime for the advancement of your career. Your degree has value, the higher the knowledge you gain, the more your career gets advanced with better positions in your workplace.
For instance, to become a psychiatrist with career advancement through an online degree can be explained in simple steps. Psychiatrists are certified specialists to treat patients with mental health disorders. With a bachelor’s degree there is a requirement gaining several hours of clinical experience to obtain a license. While you gain experience, you could also pursue a higher online degree at a flexible schedule; a master’s degree helps in advancing to a higher position or as a professor to teach students in a particular field based on their research skills.
Self-Discipline and Responsibility:
With easy access to the internet, you could learn online anytime till you follow a schedule to take up the program and keep a track on yourself. As the course completion depends on you alone and how you cope up with the learning, you have to be a highly self-motivated and disciplined individual. The time management skills play an important role where you must not neglect the program. However, since there is no professor to monitor closely, you must keep an eye on the deadlines.
Availability of Diverse Courses:
There are various courses you could choose in an online degree. There are specific courses available in a particular field to opt based on your interest. We suggest you to explore other career concentrations through the online programs which offer a variety of courses. Additionally there are free online courses that may attract you apart from the degree program. Keep in mind to not enroll for multiple classes as this could create a hectic schedule and alter your time management.
For instance, when you pursued an online degree in software engineering and found a job role of software developer. The course you took up might be considered less relevant by the recruiter for the job. Hence choosing the course carefully is important to land on your dream job.
Time Management Skills:
Time management skills are important in every field. This helps students to stay active and be punctual for the regular classes conducted. The online program helps manage time efficiently by having an organized schedule. Through your interest to pursue the career you gain knowledge simultaneously which helps in getting into the profession sooner. Always follow the deadlines and perform tasks and assignments assigned beforehand.
For instance, you are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. This profile requires some field experience such as an internship, training program or project work. Hence an online degree helps in managing time where you could attend an internship program to gain practical experience as well as get the education required to land on a job.
Online degree is less expensive compared to a traditional degree. This is because there is no cost incurred on stationeries like notebooks, textbooks, transportation or the lavish classrooms. This helps students to increase savings, reduce the need for financial aid while earning their degree. The degree program is affordable by a vast range of students where you pay only for the tuition and application fees. For instance, you might have completed a bachelor’s degree and want to continue your master’s degree. At that time, an online degree is the best option to choose. An online degree costs less and you could choose other Financial Student Aids for Online College by borrowing a federal loan, winning scholarship, grants and work study programs.
Real-time socializing could be used as an advantage while pursuing an online degree. Interacting well with people helps in making contacts that could benefit you in your profession.
In a virtual classroom, you could interact with diverse students and professors to gain better knowledge and exchange individual ideologies. You can take advantage of every chance you get to interact with your instructors, counselors, and classmates. For instance, you are taking up an actor’s profession and pursuing an online course in arts. You could reach out to many people and socialize by presenting your talents. A degree provides the technicality required to become an actor which includes voice modulation, dialogue delivery and other. Whereas, interacting with people helps in building a strong network base and getting opportunities to work in the industry.
Communicating with Professors
Through personal interaction with professors, you could clear your doubts with learning knowledge. With no specific classroom environment, you could speak about your thoughts and discuss your career to professionals who might mentor, guide or advise you to get clear ideas through their experience. Networking operates well in making connections for gain work opportunities, this means that it is up to you to take advantage of online alternatives in order to achieve similar results. Some online programs also offer placement opportunities with required training needed to get a job.
Cons of online degree
Even though there are numerous advantages the students get from an online degree, the disadvantages which can be addressed are listed below,
No classroom environment:
At times, professors struggle to conduct a centralized class and it might sometimes be difficult to create community within the class. There is no professor to monitor your activities, hence students could get easily distracted with no face-to-face interaction. It might not be similar to attending a college where a college consists of infrastructure such as computer labs, lecture halls, library and other to create a better learning environment for students.
In an online program, professors restrict their time to check emails, doubts and work of students for a specific time of the day, hence students can only approach at that time. But in traditional class, students can raise their doubts during the class. Students have to schedule an online appointment with the teachers to ask doubts, get feedback or learn concepts.
Online degrees often come with a stigma attached:
The online degrees have increased rapidly and have gotten better with diverse courses over the years. But students with an online degree may not get the same opportunities that a student gets with a traditional degree. Many employers may not give importance to online degrees.
Hence students must research well about the accreditation of the college and the course prior.
Risks of getting distracted:
There is freedom given to students who pursue online education, but students have to be motivated and disciplined with time management to complete the program successfully as the probability of getting distracted is higher compared to traditional programs. You must learn the concepts of time management and that by missing some classes will give a disadvantage of lagging behind and not understanding the material. With more responsibilities, it might seem harder to balance.
Need to use the right technology:
When students are located in rural areas, they might not have access to stable internet connection. So many colleges offering online degrees are technology oriented and hence to cope with it, you might need to afford the technologies such as a reliable computer system with softwares installed and a strong internet connection. This can be a financial burden to some.
Apparently, people are gradually acquiring knowledge on the online classrooms and e-learning, to provide good quality education through means of the internet. The best colleges in the U.S. are working towards providing degree programs to students online due to the vast impact of technology in the field of education. By conducting similar assignments, courses, flexible study hours, live coaching the online programs are well reviewed. Students are sure about the college and conduct sufficient research on the accredited college they choose.
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