Online colleges: the pros and cons
Beginning in the 18th century, distance learning was common with the University of London the first in 1858 to offer degrees to students who did not physically attend for lectures and tutorials. So all that has changed is the delivery system. In the old days, everyone relied on the post office to deliver letters and packages. Today, we have email, chat sessions and video conferencing to bring people together. Indeed, one of the big decisions you will have to take is whether to opt for a course that has synchronized conferences with instructors. Obviously, this ties you to some fixed hours and may limit your ability to continue working.
No matter where you live and what your home circumstances, you can take an online course wherever you can set up your machine with a broadband connection. Instead of being tied to a specific campus or set of buildings, you can be anywhere. This also applies to scheduling. Most online colleges allow you to work whenever you want, thus overcoming problems with work and different time zones.
2. Learning styles
If you prefer independent study and work at your own speed, online colleges offer you the ultimate flexibility. You are not tied to fixed terms. Equally, the content is often available in a wider range of formats and so is more likely to fit your own learning style.
The fees for online colleges are lower than for traditional colleges because there's no need to maintain the same larger buildings. Also, because you do not have to go to a college, you save on traveling and accommodation costs.
1. Access to professors
Although many online colleges allow you access to instructors through Skype, the opportunities for interaction can be more limited than in a traditional college. It's the same as large, anonymous lectures. But if you prefer to ask a lot of questions, online colleges may not be best for you.
On campus, you make friends and network to help your future career. This is more difficult when all the other students are online.
3. Technical expertise required
Your access to the course content, the instructors and your fellow students depends on you knowing enough about your computer and the different programs to make everything work properly. You do not have to be a geek, but online colleges are not for everyone.
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