Online Education Gaining Popularity
Online education has come a long way since its beginnings as a largely e-mail based learning program. Today, it boasts some of the best interactive technology that the Internet has ever offered, giving students a more involved and intimate learning experience outside of the classroom. Yet, despite the leaps and bounds it has come within the past decade, online education is just now earning the respect of the academic and professional community – and it is about time.
The affordability of online programs is a major attraction. Community college is a great money saver, but it only offers degrees up to the associate level. Those who are looking to earn a higher degree must enroll in a four-year university. This can be an expensive endeavor, especially if a student desires to attend a school outside of the state. Tuition fees may seem less expensive than online programs at first, but after factoring in the cost of housing, meal plans, insurance payments, and general relocation costs, online programs typically save students thousands of dollars. In addition, many online programs do not require textbooks, so students can save about a thousand dollars each year on textbooks.
Lauded for its convenience factor, online education has become the standard for degree-seeking individuals who are pressed for time or simply cannot make the trip to a college campus. These individuals include those who are currently employed full-time, are stay-at-home parents, and even those who suffer from social anxieties that would make learning in a classroom setting near impossible. Whatever the reason, the convenience of learning from home without a set class schedule appeals to many students looking to earn a college education. Online education programs allow for learners to log in at any time from their home computers to look over lectures and complete course assignments. This means that if a student can only squeeze in time to study at midnight, they can do so without the hassle of searching for the elusive college that offers classes in the wee hours of the morning.
However, one of the biggest selling points of online education is not the convenience or price – it’s the quality. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education found that students who took online courses tended to outperform their classroom counterparts. This shows that online education is not only comparable to classroom education, but it also tends to be more effective.