Online education is an increasingly popular option for students looking to begin their educational careers or add to their skills to aid in their job search. With the increase in the number of people utilizing online educational programming comes an increase in the misconceptions surrounding the industry. However, in spite of these programs and their constant evolution to meet students needs, some common incorrect ideas regarding their value and effectiveness persist. Here are a few of those common mistakes.
One such misconception is that online programs offer little to no interaction, either with fellow students or with instructors. This is simply incorrect. Computers and web applications have enhanced our communication with each other as a society, and this is similarly true in online education. Coursework often involves extensive student discussion as a primary mode of instructional delivery. This can take the form of discussion posts, assignment reviews, and even face-to-face interaction through any number of programs which allow people to speak directly with each other. Sometimes, for Gardening modules, the students would even need to create mini gardenscapes for learning! Furthermore, it is often easier to receive guidance from a professor, since office hours can be more flexible when conducted online.
Another common mistake that people make when considering online educational programming is that the curriculum offered is weaker than in a traditional school setting. In fact, the curriculum offered through this medium is often more highly polished and rigorous than in a brick and mortar university. The large competitive advantage that online programs have in this area is that they only need to produce their content one time. At a university, a lecturer might give a bad performance on any given day. However, with online programming, that lecture is scripted and produced so that it delivers exactly the message that the program desires. This allows for the content to be consistently high quality and represent the lecturer’s best work.
There are often concerns about online education regarding the quality and reputation surrounding the degree. These concerns are understandable; after all, many online programs are offered through easily recognizable schools. Since the strength of degrees in the marketplace are often linked to name recognition, it is easy to understand why a student might arrive at this conclusion. Employers tend to have a different perspective though. Online educational programming, due in large part to the increase in their popularity, are much more recognizable to employers than ever before. Also, employers have had opportunities to hire graduates of these programs, and have come to the conclusion that people who choose these programs are often hard-working, dependable people. After all, quite a few people who elect to use these programs typically balance full-time employment with attending school.
Since many people struggle to keep up with current trends in technology, it is no wonder that many people also assume that the cost for the required technology to participate in online educational programs is substantial. This is an obvious falsehood. Computers come in a wide variety of sizes, capabilities and price points. Internet connectivity is already a standard expense in quite a few households. So, for most aspiring students, the technology required to begin their courses is already in place, or a simple matter of buying an inexpensive personal laptop at their local electronics store. No expensive, top-end computer or costly software suite is required.
A final misconception regarding online education is that the experience is not as closely linked to the typical work environment as the typical university experience. This idea might be farther from the truth than any other common mistake. A modern workplace is a technological place, and the ability to thrive in such a setting is vital to success in most fields. This is perhaps the largest benefit that online education gives to a job seeker. A student graduates from an online program with irrefutable proof of their ability to navigate a technological environment. Online degrees are the best way to demonstrate to an employer that the necessary skills are in place.
It is difficult to keep up with the dynamic world of online education. As the job market changes, so too do the needs of the modern student. However, online education is often more representative of the needs of these students than their university counterparts.