You’re not alone if you’re skeptical about the whole online education rift going on these days. It seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? How you can get the benefits of quality education in the comfort of your home without having to attend a class in person? Well, when the idea of online education was proposed back in the 1990s, the doubts people had about this initiative were well-founded.
At a time when internet connection speeds weren’t nearly as fast as they are now, and when having an internet connection wasn’t a necessity – the idea of going online to study was a bit far-fetched. If you were a student back in the 1990s who had to use a dial-up connection to simply send a message on MSN messenger, would you think you could attend a one-hour video-based class online?
In its true nature, the idea was simply what people thought it would be – just an idea. But then time passed, humanity’s inherent need to evolve took over, and we were introduced to high-speed internet connections. Internet connections that enable you to communicate across the globe with a single touch of your fingertip – and the truth is, for generation Z, the internet is a necessity.
But believe it or not, even after blazing fast internet connections and convenient courses that save you from early morning traffic jams, some significant myths about online degrees still exist. What are they? And is there any truth to those bold claims?
Let’s find out.
1. Online Classes Aren’t as Effective as Traditional On-Site Classes
There’s no solid yes or no answer to the credibility of this myth, but we would like to clarify: what makes a class effective isn’t the mode of delivery being used. What makes a class effective and fun to attend is the curriculum being followed. Realistically speaking, if you’re attending a class on-site that has poorly designed, irrelevant curriculum, there isn’t much you can learn from that class either.
Although there is some truth behind this claim. When you’re studying online, there are a few things you miss out on. Firstly, an online class means that you have to listen to your instructor alone in the comfort of your own room. While this may sound comforting, it also deprives you of the diverse opinions you could have heard.
The truth is, when you’re studying in a traditional classroom, the course facilitator gives you knowledge on the topic and the people you’re taking that class with analyze those aspects from their perspective. Different perspectives are enlightening, and while you may see the glass half full, someone else might see it half empty.
2. Online Classes Are Easier
If you consider the convenience online degrees provide and the flexibility they provide to every student – they can be relatively easier. But the truth this bold claim ignores is that online classes actually have more course work compared to traditional on-site classes.
Because of a wide-spread belief in this myth, many students sign up for online classes thinking that they’ll be able to sail through easily. While many do adapt to online learning swiftly, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Because you’re studying online, you have to be immensely self-disciplined because there are no strict attendance policies.
Plus, if you’re taking an online class in a different country, time zones can be a huge hassle! For example, if you’re in Melbourne, Australia, taking an online class based in Vancouver, Canada, that’s an 18-hour difference!
3. Online Classes Aren’t Accredited
This one is blatantly false. Online degrees have started to gain popularity. The number of students studying online is constantly increasing every year, and because of this, many accreditation bodies have started accrediting online degrees. While many accrediting organizations do recognize online degrees, it is, however, essential that you research thoroughly before you opt for an online course.
There are different kinds of accreditations, and while all of them serve the same purpose, they do have different values for employers. The most valued accreditation is a regional accreditation, so if you’re looking to impress an employer with your online degree, look for an online degree with a regional accreditation.
With the passage of time, many private institutions have started to seek an accreditation for their online degrees – but just because their courses are online, doesn’t mean the accreditation is easy to obtain.
4. Employers Don’t Respect Online Degrees
While this myth did hold some truth in the past, the situation is quite different now. Since a high number of college students and high school students are studying online, employers have had to change the way they evaluate online degrees. Nowadays, an online degree gets more or less the same respect as a traditional degree, given that the online degree satisfies some basic requirements that employers have.
First and foremost, like any traditional degree, an online degree needs to be from a reputable institution. If you have an online degree from a reputable institution, chances are, your employer won’t even ask you to mention if you studied online or on-site. Secondly, your online degree also needs to be accredited. There are many online degrees rewarding “factories” that reward degrees left, right and center, without having relevant accreditation. Avoid them at all costs!
Now that we’ve tried our best on busting these myths about online degrees, what do you think? Is an online degree genuinely worth your time, or are you still doubtful? Even if you are – it’s okay. Deciding to study online and giving up the chance to take a class the traditional brick-and-mortar way is a huge decision.
Chances are, you might be the first generation in your family who is seeking a course entirely online, so you might have to explain to a lot of people what an online degree is and how it is more beneficial. If you are able to do that, go online and register for your first class, there’s always a first time for everything!