Online Programs – The Future Of Education
Online education has become a very popular in recent years as an exciting option for pursuing a university degree programs. But what has made online education so popular? Why should you study online? What’s the advantage? And what’s all the fuss? It’s hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to online degrees — especially since so much of the published information comes from schools and students, who may be slightly biased.
And even though we are also vested in the growth of the industry, we are committed to providing useful, informative content, which future students can use to form their own opinions.
The following bullets represent the upsides of online education, traits that are beneficial to various types of learners. If any of these attributes could improve your college experience, you should consider an online degree. Because when all is said and done, the only substantive difference between a campus education and an online education is the building.
Some critics of online education see “convenience” is a negative word — that anything worth earning should be exhausting and barely manageable. They assume that people who ask about convenience are lazy, or spending all day in their pajamas. But that’s far from true.
The Internet makes it possible to unite students and instructors without long commutes or fixed class schedules. Working professionals can study at night. Stay-at-home parents can study during kids’ naptime. Military members can study from any new post to which they are assigned. None of these people are lazy or prone to cutting corners. On the contrary, they are busy, ambitious learners, who simply need a better model for education and college design.
And because they are all good candidates for employment, employers are increasingly happy to accept their online credentials.
Access for Rural Students
College students who live in major cities might choose to access campus programs. Thousands of other students simply cannot. Unless you live in a college town, the cost of commuting — in terms of time and fuel prices — can be prohibitive. In the state of Wyoming, which covers 97,818 square miles, less than 6 bachelor’s degree-granting colleges exist. In Nebraska, one high school district is the size of Connecticut state! Rather than accept college as an impossibility, residents of rural communities in these states can log on to online programs and earn their degrees.
Twenty years ago, these students would have had to choose between moving their families, or getting by on a high school diploma. Today, online education is removing geographic barriers and enhancing the total learning experience by uniting students from all across the U.S. and in some instances, from across the world.
Access for Students with Disabilities
Traditional college classrooms can be a challenge for students with disabilities. Online classes, by contrast, can be engineered to support students with intellectual and physical disabilities as well people who are deaf/hearing impaired and blind/vision impaired. Likewise, gifted instructors who lose the ability to teach in a traditional classroom can continue their careers, thanks to online functionality.
For every 2,500 miles you drive, you release one ton of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere.* That’s you, alone. If you lived 10 miles away from a college, and commuted 3 or 4 times every week, you’d create nearly 3 tons of greenhouse gases during the course of a 4-year degree. Along with 20 classmates, you’d be producing 60 tons!
Moreover, a college campus unintentionally produces pollutants and waste in the process of heating and cooling their classrooms, powering their libraries and computer labs, and through the general operation of their facilities. As environmental concerns continue to grow, online education is becoming an obvious, earth-friendly alternative.
On Pace with the Future of Education
In 2006, the state of Michigan passed a law that all students must complete an online learning experience or an online class in order to graduate from high school. And the federal government plans to invest more money in online charter schools, for K-12 students across the country. So it’s apparent that tomorrow’s students will be seeing more e-learning technology. And clearly, education authorities are recognizing the value of online learning.
Today, more and more colleges are developing online programs to help stretch their budgets and expand their enrollments. Already, major names in traditional education — like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Duke and Yale — are offering online options for some degree programs and coursework. It may one day be possible for students to choose specific courses from multiple schools, all across the globe, and build their own personalized degrees.
Until then, more than 6.1 million college students are already taking at least one course online.** That adds up to 1 in 3 college students. Experts predict that numbers will continue to grow. With growth, online degrees will be not just accepted, but expected, as a component of tomorrow’s college education.
*Source: “Emission Facts: Average Annual Emissions and Fuel Consumption for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks” (2000), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
**Source: National Center for Education Statistics