There are now hundreds of tertiary institutions that are completely online. And some of the most important traditional universities around the world offer online study opportunities for students around the world.
As a student, you need to think deeply about what route to go. Because, like almost everything in life, Online degrees have their pros and cons.
Let’s take a look at some of them starting with the advantages
of online degrees
Pros of online degrees
Easily accessible anywhere
Accessibility is one of the biggest draws for establishing online degree programs. All the hurdles, both documentary and physical, of traveling to a new and strange location are at once eliminated.
With a computer, internet access and willingness to study hard, a student in any corner of the globe is able to go for their degree.
It is convenient and flexible
Most online courses are structured in a way that puts the interest of the students first. A student can structure their online academic routine around their daily lives.
For instance, a full-time worker can schedule perhaps, a three-hour period before sleep to concentrate on school work. One can choose the hours to dedicate to work per week and what days of the week to study.
The student can also determine the pace of the program. So smart students can finish their program online in less time than offline students.
The convenience and flexible nature of online work have made it possible for students with serious disabilities to get very good education easily.
Again this is an important part of online education. The cost of studying is likely to be lower in most cases than if one had to be physically present at the school.
Items like the cost of traveling, obtaining visa, accommodation and so many other incidentals are now out of the picture with online degrees.
All the student has to bother with are the tuition and cost of study materials
Since everything is done online, respectable online schools make it a priority that their websites function optimally all the time.
This makes it easy to archive and record documents such as training materials, transcripts, study guide and so on.
Also, students are able to easily send over their assignments, transcripts when necessary and access results from the online portal.
From the online portal students can easily download all study materials.
Online degrees give students the opportunity to meet and interact with a diverse group of students from all over the world.
Though interaction is always online, an online school community is a doorway to a fascinating mix of cultures and traditions. The more vibrant the community is, the more likely students come away with knowledge of how people in various parts of the world live
Cons of online degrees
Impossible to teach some courses effectively
Some course or subjects cannot be taught very well over the internet. These are subjects that require hands-on experience for the student to fully grasp what is being taught.
Though some would argue that with the advances in augmented reality (AR), these challenges can be overcome easily. However, using AR would likely escalate the cost of program thereby canceling out one of the advantages of studying online.
So mostly, only courses almost entirely based on theory can really work online. Fortunately, though, there are many of them.
Lack of structured routine
Online programs put a lot of pressure on the student’s ability to structure their daily routine.
If you are used to working in a structured environment where there is a set routine daily, online studies might be a bit difficult to adapt to.
Because online program would require the students to make their own schedules for each course and stick to it. Without supervision, students can become slack keeping to that schedule.
Access to school staff and other students
One of the most important aspects of Education is the physical contact between staff and students on one hand, and students to students interaction on the other.
Getting guidance and advice from lecturers can sometimes be problematic because of the limited nature of the contact. And even when there is contact, it is mostly through impersonal channels like emails.
Getting a degree online would have an impact on your job prospects. Many employers consider online education as not the real deal or not authentic enough.
For these set of employers and others who have no definite opinion about online degrees, you would find yourself always trying to justify the authenticity of your degree.
You would need to have a very good pitch to convince employers that your online degree is as good as any other.
If you are considering an online degree, trust your instincts and do some research before committing to it. Because your circumstances might make it unwise to pursue that line or it could be the best thing to ever happen to you. Everything is entirely up to you.