The Future of Online Education
In the current economic climate, jobs are scarce and people without college degrees can find it difficult to obtain employment and advance in their careers. Getting a college degree, however, is no simple feat; it requires a considerable investment in terms of time, money, and effort, and not everyone can make that investment. People with families, mortgages, jobs, disabilities, etc. may not be able to attend college on a daily basis. However, due to advancements in technology, educators are coming up with innovative ways to contend with this problem, and distance education programs are sprouting up all over the country at a rapid rate, allowing more and more people to pursue a degree without having to put their lives on hold until its completion.
Online colleges function much in the same way as traditional colleges-generally students attend lectures, complete assignments, participate in discussions, take exams, and receive grades just the way they would in a brick and mortar institution.However, there are a few variations.
With online colleges, you do not have to be physically present at the lectures: they are transmitted online and, depending on your program, you can view them in real time or choose to view the recorded lesson later. You do not need to deliver hard copies of assignments or exams to your professors-assignments and grades are submitted and graded via email or other online tools. Class discussions are not carried out in an actual classroom, but from the comfort of your own home via video chat, instant messaging, forums, discussion boards, blogs, etc. With the advent of technology, distance learning programs are becoming more and more adept at simulating the classroom experience.
Due to the aforementioned methods of instruction, an online degree can give you the flexibility and freedom to pursue other interests, keep your job, and give your family the attention they need, all while you complete the degree.
Distance education programs also make sense economically because you save on the commuting expenses, on-campus housing costs, and infrastructure fees that you would incur if you pursued a traditional degree. Furthermore, you are more likely to be able to work while you complete your degree. Distance learning programs work especially well for individuals who find it hard to participate in class discussions because they are not as vocal or vociferous about their ideas and opinions as others. Often, in a traditional classroom, a few aggressive voices monopolize the entire discussion, but in an online program, everyone can express opinions and ask questions through the mediums of forums, blogs, and discussion boards, because they feel less self-conscious.
A common concern is the validity of an online degree. It is important to note that the value of any degree, online or traditional, depends on the school’s reputation, the student’s individual effort and dedication, the faculty, the teaching methods, and of course the school’s accreditation. Employers are just as open to hiring candidates with degrees from accredited, well-rated, reputable distance learning programs as they are to employing candidates with degrees from brick and mortar institutions. In fact, successfully completing an online degree speaks to many positive qualities, such as a sense of motivation, a drive to succeed, and a great deal of self discipline. However, your degree will be meaningless if you get it from an unaccredited college, so make sure you do a lot of research and ascertain if your shortlisted distance education school has adequate accreditation before making a decision.
Though there are many advantages to distance learning, before you enroll in an online program you should decide if an online degree is the right fit for your temperament and expectations.Different people respond to different instructional methods. If you need physical human interaction, a rigid schedule of classes, or want the conventional college experience, you may want to look at a traditional college. A distance-learning program is ideal for someone who is disciplined, someone who is focused on the actual education, instruction, and knowledge received,or someone who wants to save money and needs a flexible academic schedule.
Online degree programs will continue to rise in popularity and credence, because they provide opportunities for intellectual fulfillment to numerous people who would otherwise never have been able to pursue higher education. With the rapid, continuous development of technology and the growing ease in transmitting information across the World Wide Web, we will see an increasingly high quality of interactive, engaging, effective learning tools being utilized by distance learning programs. Hence the future is bound to see more people enrolling in online degrees.