In the world of college instruction, online education is on everyone’s minds these days—and rightfully so. Professors and students have had to make a sudden and unexpected switch to new methods of teaching and learning, and the broader higher education community is wondering what this will mean for the future of both online and in-person education.
The college campus ethos is changing, and the current pandemic has certainly brought more attention to updating traditional models in recent news. In reality, the status quo of dorm rooms, frat parties, dining halls, and the stereotypical college experience in general, have been evolving for some time.
As a point of fact, nontraditional students are the fastest-growing demographic for college attendance. Working adults, veterans, students with disabilities, and parents are all now students of higher education. These working professionals lead busy daily lives, making traditional college options nearly impossible. As such, accredited online colleges and universities have stepped in to fill their needs.
“I really see this pandemic as an opportunity for higher education to do a “reset”. There is no reason institutions can not hold on to their core beliefs while transitioning to a virtual setting. We know this will not be easy but institutions willing to make the transition now will be set up for success in the future,” says Benjamin Shank, CEO of the American Higher Education Alliance (AHEA).
The current challenges facing traditional colleges and universities — including higher tuition, budget cuts, and course shortages — cause many students to search for alternatives. With nearly three million students currently enrolled in fully online programs and six million taking at least one online course as part of their degree, online education has clearly become one of the most popular higher education alternatives. The continually improving reputation of online learning helped fuel its expansion, as initial skepticism faltered in the face of evidence showing that online learning can be just as effective as face-to-face education.
1. It offers convenience and flexibility.
Online education enables the teacher and the student to set their own learning pace, and there’s the added flexibility of setting a schedule that fits everyone’s agenda. As a result, using an online educational platform allows for a better balance of work and studies, so there’s no need to give anything up. Studying online teaches you vital time management skills, which makes finding a good work-study balance easier. Having a common agenda between the student and teacher can also prompt both parties to accept new responsibilities and have more autonomy.
2. It offers a wide selection of programs.
In a space as vast and wide as the internet, there are infinite skills and subjects to teach and learn. A growing number of universities and higher education schools are offering online versions of their programs for various levels and disciplines. From music composition to quantum physics, there are options for every type of student. Studying your program online is also a great option for getting an official certificate, diploma, or degree without physically setting foot on a university campus.
3. It’s accessible.
Online education enables you to study or teach from anywhere in the world. This means there’s no need to commute from one place to another or follow a rigid schedule. On top of that, not only do you save time, but you also save money, which can be spent on other priorities. The virtual classroom is also available anywhere there’s an internet connection, and a good way to take advantage of this is to travel. For example, if you’re studying abroad and want to get a job, online education is a great choice. There’s no reason to give up on working or studying while exploring new and exotic places.
4. It offers a variety of programs and courses.
From traditional four-year universities to completely online career colleges, higher education today offers a variety of options for students. This means that no matter what students study, from nursing to neuroscience, they can find the courses or programs they need online. Students can also earn every academic degree online, from a career certificate to a doctorate.
5. It’s more cost-effective than traditional education.
Unlike in-person education methods, online education tends to be more affordable. There’s also often a wide range of payment options let you pay in installments or per class. This allows for better budget management. Many of you may also be subject to discounts or scholarships, so the price is rarely high. You can also save money from the commute and class materials, which are often available for free. In other words, the monetary investment is less, but the results can be better than other options.
These are only a few reasons to choose an online education, and why 90 percent of students today think that online learning is the same or better than the traditional classroom experience. Every student must assess their unique situation and decide according to their needs and goals, and while this alternative to traditional education is not for everyone, it’s still a convenient option with virtually endless options for international students all over the world.