Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Education Classes

Have you limited time to commute and attend classes scheduled throughout the day?  Do you need to hold down your day job while you pursue a degree?  Do family demands make attending classes on campus difficult?  Does driving distance to the nearest college campus pose a time and expense problem? If any of these apply to you, online education courses have probably crossed your mind. Like many daily decisions we make, taking an online education class has both advantages and disadvantages. Consider the following disadvantages of online studies:

Solitary pursuit –

When taking an online education class, you’re generally sitting in front of the computer screen alone. If you have a question or need an explanation, you do not have the immediacy of simply raising your hand. This may be okay if you’re taking a subject that you are strong in and won’t need a great deal of help and reinforcement.

Lacks group support –

Although others are taking the online course and you are generally provided emails and encouraged to share and contact each other, the group entity is missing. The group support may or may not become evident as the course progresses and each course is different. Although communication with classmates is encouraged, the reality is that the reasons for taking an online course in the first place may limit time for camaraderie.

Procrastination –

It is much easier to procrastinate on assignments when you are not face to face with the instructor or the judgment of other students when you are unprepared. If physical attendance isn’t being tallied, other more attractive activities can entice the online student to put off their lessons.

Test review prompts –

When attending a course in person and reviewing for an evaluation, it is not uncommon for a professor to stress the material with expressions or repetition that you will later see on the test. In an online course you aren’t privy to insider prompts. You’re left to your own judgment about what material will appear on the test.

In order to surmount these obstacles of taking an online education class, you need to be very self-directed and goal-oriented. If you possess these traits, consider the following advantages of an online course.

Financial savings –

When taking an online class in the comfort of your own home, you save money on gas and vehicle maintenance, clothing, snacks and meals. Affordability is another advantage of the majority of online courses. The cost of online classes is generally less expensive than those offered on campus. 

Flexibility –

You have a flexible schedule that complements your work outside the home. This flexibility allows you to share family responsibilities as a spouse, parent, or caretaker of aging parents. If you foresee future demands on your time or a possible emergency trip, you can adjust your schedule without taking a lower grade than earned because you were physically absent from class more than the indicated maximum for an A grade. Of course, every college has its guidelines and you’ll want to check these out when first applying for the online class. What is their policy for completion of assignments and evaluations?

Anonymity –

Sometimes, the anonymity of online classmates makes it easier to be open and communicative. This is particularly desirable when taking creative courses that require critiquing and feedback. Online communication is more comfortable for many introverted students who would never speak up in the classroom.

College accessibilty –

College location is not a factor that you have to consider. Your program choice is not dictated by distance.  It makes no difference if you enroll in a college program in your local area or across the country because traveling is not an issue. Your computer connects you with the professor and classmates instantaneously. 

Investing in your future, whether physically attending a college campus or taking an online degree program, is a weighty decision. It may help to make a personal list of advantages and disadvantages for each option – on campus or online – so you can make an educated choice.