Guest Poster: Rachel Morota
Between work, home-cooked dinners and children’s soccer games, sometimes it can feel hard to make time for learning. So how do you balance your education with everything else going on in your life?
More and more people are finding balance through turning to online courses; at any point in time, millions of students across the world are taking online courses. As the numbers continue to grow, the question that everybody seems to be asking is: “Can distance learning be just as effective as traditional learning at the college level?”
The good news is: Yes! In fact, the U.S. Department of Education argues that it can be even more effective than traditional face-to-face learning.
Still not convinced? Let’s look at a couple of common concerns about online learning – and how to overcome them:
- It can be more expensive than traditional learning: Cost can definitely be a factor determining whether you go back to school. Each online college has differing costs per credit or per degree, and online degree programs usually have courses that are similarly priced to traditionally taught courses. On the other hand, online courses eliminate transportation and parking costs.
- The internet is hard to come by and use: If you can read this newsletter, then you know enough about the Internet to use it for online education. Today, wifi is everywhere; the Internet can be accessed via digital cables, modems, and even wireless signals from your local café. Most public libraries offer at least some internet access. If you’re still having trouble, don’t be afraid to ask around!
- It’s more time consuming than traditional education: Not really. But while the time involved may not differ, online learning requires strong time management skills and discipline. If you stay focused and set aside at least 5 hours of study time a week for a college-level course, you should be on track with completing your degree.
- The experience is different: When people think of online learning, they think of isolation – between the student and their instructor; the student and his or her peers. Again, ss enrollment numbers continue to grow, so does the online learning community. You can now connect with your peers on online forums and discussion groups. Instructors are also quick to respond to questions via email because being available online is written into their job descriptions.