I Just Need to Check My Email…and Earn a Degree: The Pros and Cons of Online Learning
Not too long ago, people used the internet to simply connect with friends and family via email, or to search for specific information that could not be found in an easier way. Currently, it is not uncommon for one to earn a degree simply through the use of one’s laptop. Although our society is no stranger to Distance Education, it must be noted that the idea of Online Learning has hit with hurricane force over the past 5 years or so. There are so many universities and colleges offering degrees and diplomas online that the issue must be discussed.
If one looks at the websites of world-renowned universities, such as Oxford University, University of London, or Harvard University, one will see a list of courses which are offered online. Therefore, if universities of high calibre such as these offer courses online, there must be some credibility to the learning approach; however, one must look at both the pros and the cons of online learning.
Distance Education has always appealed to those who find it difficult to travel to a college or university in order to attend the more traditional type of lecture/lab; this may be due to time constraints, familial obligations, or the inability to relocate to the country/city in which the university dwells. For reasons such as the aforementioned, distance learning is ideal, and online learning is just the next logical step.
Obviously, there are many reputable universities offering online programmes now, but one must also be aware of the negative side of online learning versus traditional lectures/labs. Perhaps the greatest drawback to distance education is that of motivation. It is difficult to be motivated to sit at one’s desk and listen to a lecture or participate in online classroom discussion without distraction. There are certain questions that one must ask oneself before enrolling into an online programme: “Am I easily distracted?” “Do I work better with open discussion or am I more of an independent learner?” “What are the computational requirements to study the programme?”
Many leading colleges and universities today offer online learning, so the student may be assured that the programmes offered are reputable; however, there are many sub-par institutions that offer online courses, so one must be aware of the risks involved in the online learning approach. One should gain insight into the history of the school of interest, its accreditation, as well as how well the programmes may be recognised by desired employers.
Remember to be wary and wise, but not weary in the pursuit of gathering information in regards to online programmes. Upon satisfaction that the programme meets your requirements, you may wish to enrol…and then check your email.
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Tags: College, Degree, Diploma, Distance Education, Education, Online Learning, University