Online courses and colleges had a questionable reputation when they were first introduced and were often associated with diploma mills and everything that’s wrong with them. But online education is now widely regarded as a legitimate way to further your education, and online programs are respected by most serious institutions. As a matter of fact, it was estimated that over 6 million Americans took at least one online course in 2016, and the numbers are growing. Still, many myths are floating around about online education. Here are some of the most common.
The Quality of Online Programs is Lower
Standards may vary between different schools, but as a whole, programs from accredited schools have to go through a rigorous process in order to be certified. And in some cases, the programs may even be better than traditional ones. Teachers who teach online often say that they have to adapt their teaching and communication style in order to be more efficient. They also have to pay more attention to engagement, which ends up benefiting students.
You Won’t be Able to Transfer Your Credits Over
Students may not be able to transfer their credits over to another school for reasons that are out of their control, whether they got them online or on campus. This is often the case with some for profit institutions or particular programs or courses. But in most cases, institutions will have no way to know if a course was taken online, in a classroom, or a combination of both.
Online Degrees Are Not Recognized
Attitudes about online programs have changed greatly since the 90s, and more employers than ever respect and recognize them these days, especially those from reputed and specialized online schools in sectors with high demand. Schools like Bank Street College online, for instance, have gained a solid reputation for their online early childhood and special education programs.
Some employers have even taken it a step further and will sponsor employees who want to pursue their education online. Starbucks, for example, recently announced that they will support their students who decide to take an online undergraduate program by paying part of their tuition.
Online Courses Are Easy
Online programs may be more convenient for some, but they’re far from easy. Online courses are just as difficult as they are on campus. In addition, you’ll need even more self-discipline when taking courses online since there will be no one to remind you if a certain project or assignment is due. Studying online demands good time management skills and dedication, and if you get distracted easily, you might have trouble keeping up.
Online Programs Don’t Allow Students to Interact with Teachers
Some might be worried about the somewhat impersonal aspect of online learning. However, online learning allows students to communicate with their teachers either by video conference, e-mail, phone, or through live chat during classes. Teachers will often also have online office hours when students can contact them whenever they want. If you are scared of reaching out to the teacher online, then it might be nice to consider communal learning. Sites like Participate allow learning as a group, where everyone is working towards a common goal and there is much more interaction between the students.
Now that we hopefully were able to dispel a few myths about online education, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision and choose the option that is the best for you.