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The Good and the Bad of Online Masters Degrees

The Good and the Bad of Online Schools

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Vast improvements in overall computer technology have led to a strong growth in the enrollment numbers at online colleges.  The better equipment and software has also opened up online classes for campus schools as well.

The whole online college concept is still new to a lot of people.  Due to their reliance on computers, the schools change with each advancement in technology.  Students, along with professors, learn more about the nature of online schools everyday and gain valuable insight into how the systems work.

But just like most things, online schools are not perfect.  They have some distinct benefits not found in other types of education.  And they have some disadvantages as well.  A person’s natural strengths and weaknesses will have more impact on whether or not a person chooses to use an online college.

The Good

  1. Available classes – The number of online colleges increases every year.  This provides more options for students and leads to better schools. 
  2. Flexible schedules – Most online colleges allow students to review information when it is most convenient for them.  Students will have assignments that must be completed according to a deadline and they must also participate in discussions via email or a message board.  As long as the student is completing work according to schedule and providing meaningful contributions to discussions they can look at the material based on their particular schedule.
  3. Location – Students are not limited to attending classes at a school that is physically convenient.  They can enroll in schools from anywhere in the country.
  4. Access anytime, anywhere – As long as the student has a computer with internet access, they can get to their materials and assignments regardless of where they may be. 
  5. No commute – This is one item that a lot of students enjoy.  There is no need to plan for a drive, find a parking spot and walk to class.  All of that extra time can be spent on work, family obligations or preparing for class.
  6. Material available in different formats – Most online colleges have different ways of getting information to the students.  Of course there are text documents, but students can also see lectures video, listen to a CD or MP3 recording of the lecture.
  7. Learn on your own – Students can decide when they should work on their studies, how much time to use for preparing for class and whether they want to turn in their assignments early or on time.
  8. Different classes – There are so many classes and degrees available that it can be overwhelming.  People can choose from associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees in all kinds of areas such as teaching, business, engineering and healthcare.

The Bad

  1. Lack of Interaction with students – One thing that people enjoy so much about college life is the chance to meet and interact with a wide variety of people.  Online colleges provide ample opportunities for students to chat with one another, but this is done online and is primarily all written exchanges.
  2. Lack of interaction with professors – Online professors do not play as big a part in teaching students of online colleges since so much work is done independently.  The limited discussions and feedback that teachers can offer on various quizzes and assignments may not be sufficient for some people.
  3. Need for technical skills – Some people do not have a computer of their own and some people cannot get high speed internet access.  And there are those people who are uncomfortable using a computer for all of the necessary class requirements.
  4. Negative view of the school – Online colleges have gained a great amount of respect in recent years but there is still a section of the population that considers these schools to be second rate.
  5. Lack of physical environment – A traditional campus school usually has a number of clubs and physical activities that can be enjoyed by the students.  Online schools do not have these types of offerings.
  6. Need for self management of time – People who tend to wait until the last possible minute to complete their work may struggle with online classes.  Setting a daily schedule, putting aside time for study and preparation as well as contributing to online discussions is paramount to performing well at an online college.
  7. Financial assistance – Financial assistance varies from school to school.  Some online schools do not offer nor accept assistance in any form. 
  8. Transferring credits – While improvements have been made, it is still a tedious task to transfer credits from an online college to a campus type college. 
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