The Internet has brought college students many things, from a quick and easy way to do research to a way to turn in their papers and assignments remotely. One of the newest developments, though, is the rise of the online classroom. Students can now take part in classes from home, never having to set foot in a traditional classroom at all. Is this better or worse than the standard learning environment? You will find that there are pros and cons to both.
1. Online Classes Offer Flexibility
One of the major pros of an online class is that it gives the student a flexible solution to learning. He or she can take classes that would never have been a possibility before just due to the proximity of the school. Some students have homes, jobs, and families. Not all of them can move to a new town or city just to take classes. Online courses make it possible for them to get an education.
2. Socialization is Far Less Possible
Online classes try to help students socialize, giving them blogs and forums and even chat rooms that they can use. However, all of this is nowhere near the same as going to a traditional classroom. Conversations can take days on a forum when they would have taken just minutes in real life.
Similarly, students do not learn how to interact in a social fashion from being on the computer, at least not in the way that they might need in a career. They have to learn how to give presentations not because it helps the professor teach the rest of the class, but because they will have to give office presentations to co-workers when they have a real job. If a student has a fear of public speaking that could handicap him in the workplace, a traditional classroom is the only place that he will find help.
3. Flexible Schedules Allow Students to Keep Their Jobs
If a student has a job and wants to go to school anyway, hoping that he can get a degree and qualify for a better position, an online class might be the perfect solution. It is far more flexible than anything else. The student can do the work when he has time. He can watch lectures on the computer that have already been recorded when he gets home from work. A traditional college would mean that he had to quit his job - which may not be possible, financially - but an online class allows him to keep it, while putting him on the path to new job opportunities.
4. Learning From the Best
That being said, educational value is often in favor of a traditional college. The very best professors tend not to teach their classes online. If you want to get the best possible education, you have to learn from the top professors in the top programs. That means enrolling in college and sitting in a classroom. This is not to say that an online education will not be helpful, as it is still far better than not going to college, but your degree from a big, traditional institution may carry a bit more weight on your job search.
On the whole, they both have something to offer, depending on your needs. With either option, you can learn a lot and get a degree that will open all sorts of doors. Remember that most employers do not really care what school has its logo on your degree. They just care that you got one at all so that they know that you know how to learn.
Ryan Ayers is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to education and technology. In this article, he discusses the possibilities of online education and compares this education format to traditional, institutionalized education. He aims to encourage further study with a law masters degree.