Seven Myths About Online Education

by Bridget Kulla,
Seven Myths About Online Education

The popularity of online degree programs continues to grow, but some people still hesitate to enroll. Don't let one of these myths about online education stop you from getting a degree.

1. Online Courses are Easier

Online courses may give you more flexibility than traditional classes, but they require just as much work. Like brick-and-mortar institutions, the quality of classes varies between online degree programs. Since much of the work with online courses is completed independently, students need to be disciplined.

Some online institutions offer accelerated programs, but most institutions let you work at your own pace. Earning an online degree may take more time than a traditional degree.

2. There's No Personal Attention and Communication with Other Students

Many online institutions go to great lengths to make their programs more personal. Some programs use discussion forums, weekly conference calls, and academic and career counselors to let their students know that they are not isolated at their computer screen. Students usually get personalized feedback from their professors. Like any educational environment, students must make an effort to work closely with their professors.

3. Online Schools Aren't As Good

Like all schools, the quality of online education varies from institution to institution. You can earn a degree online from a well-regarded school like Harvard University or enroll in a lesser-known program that may not be as challenging -- or it could be more challenging and not as well-known (or expensive). To judge the quality of an online program, see what support services are available, ask if you can take a sample class, and talk to other students and professors.

4. Online Schools Are Cheaper

Online schools aren't always cheaper. Some online schools can cost a lot more than traditional colleges, depending on the schools and what you are comparing. Do your own research and compare the online schools to traditional schools that are considering applying to.

5. Employers Don't Take Online Degrees Seriously

Online degrees are becoming more accepted as equal to traditional degrees. Earning an online degree can also show employers that you are motivated and disciplined to work. Online programs have gone from a novel new way to get a degree to a common education program.

6. You Must be a Computer Whiz to Take Online Courses

While you must have a basic understanding of how to work a computer to get started with online courses, you don't need to be a tech prodigy to succeed. Most online institutions realize that students may not initially have a lot of technical know-how and offer support to make taking courses online less intimidating. From tech support hotlines to introductory computer courses, check out what technical support services an online institution offers.

7. You'll Never Set Foot on a College Campus

Many online learners complete their degrees without ever setting foot on a brick-and-mortar college campus, but others choose to combine campus and online courses.

Online courses can help busy students at traditional colleges add more flexibility to their schedules. Students who attend online courses at traditional colleges usually have the same access to campus resources as students on campus.

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