During these days of social distancing, homeschooling and working from home, online classes are becoming increasingly common. Students who are used to in-person lectures are having to adjust to remote lessons. In addition to the lure of being able to study in the comfort of the home, wearing cosy socks and sipping hot chocolate, many students also believe that online classes are easier.
In the next few paragraphs, we explore if online classes are indeed easier, and also examine the pros and cons of studying online.
Are online degrees respected?
Online degrees and courses were less common than traditional in-person programmes until recent years. This trend has now been accelerated by recent challenges. Many established and conventional colleges such as Harvard now provide online programmes, demonstrating their foray into the new way of learning.
In 2012, an estimated 86 per cent of traditional residential colleges offered college courses through online learning according to Geteducated. Online education is no longer the future, it is the present. According to USNews, online course enrolment climbed for the 10th straight year.
So is an online degree respected? In short, yes. The method in which you earned your degree is not an important factor compared to the subject taken and the institute from which it was awarded.
According to a survey by CareerBuilder.com, 83 per cent of executives say that “an online degree is as credible as one earned through a traditional campus-based program.”
Pros and cons of studying online
- Convenience and Flexibility: The biggest pro of studying online is how convenient it is to pursue a degree from the comfort of your home. Many students find it difficult to take out time from their professional career and pursue a degree. However, with online courses not only can you take classes whenever you want, but you can choose your pace of study as well. It can be as fast or as slow as you want. Plus, some universities even customise your programme for you according to your needs.
- Less expensive: This is also the reason why many students opt for online classes, traditional courses can prove to be pretty expensive and not everyone can afford them. Usually, online courses are less expensive plus many student costs are saved, such as student accommodation, transportation costs and textbook materials. Plus, you can even pursue your job along with your programme.
- Limited social interaction: Campus interaction and making friends is one of the greatest advantages while studying a traditional college degree. The fact that you don’t get the opportunity to interact face-to-face with your professors and peers can be a major let down for some students.
- Time management: While an online programme is super flexible, students have to manage their own time. Since there will never be a professor sitting on your head to complete a book or assignment, you will always be left to your own devices while pursuing an online course. If you lack self-discipline this can be a real problem.
Tips for remote learning
Distance learning can be a different and challenging experience for some students. Here are some tips for remote learning which you may find useful:
- Communication is key: Even though you won’t be sitting in an actual classroom, it is extremely important to check your email account often, reach out to your instructors and check the website or learning portal for notices. You should still be aiming to build relationships with your teachers and peers, even if you don’t meet them in person.
- Time management: Just like any traditional programme, time management is especially more important in online classes. Make a schedule for yourself for studying, attending classes and completing tests and assignments. The more organised you are, the more successful your online programme will be.
- Create your own space and be organised: Don’t study on your bed or couch. make a designated area to work. Keep your essentials there, like a notebook, pen and water bottle and make sure your Wi-Fi coverage is steady too.
The answer to the question of whether online classes are easier than in-person classes is really dependent on many factors including the student, the programme and the university. However, if you practice good discipline and you’re comfortable with the fact that you won’t get the same level of social interaction with your classmates, then online classes could be a good option for you.