The Truth About Online Education

Online education has evolved over the last few years. The idea of taking classes solely through your computer without the physical interaction of professors or other students has only taken hold in the mainstream for about a decade, so it’s not surprising that there are still many misconceptions about this growing type of education. Here are a few of these myths (along with a dose of reality to debunk each of them):

Online courses are “an easy ‘A’”. People tend to think that online courses are easier than traditional courses. We recommend that you ask anyone who’s taken an online course—this is simply not true. While the “delivery systems” of traditional on-campus courses and online courses differ from one another, the curriculum is the same. In fact, online students face different challenges—such as setting aside time to learn the material and do the lessons, while traditional students are able to do all of that while in class. Online students are successful when they are highly self-motivated. This is a challenge for some students who are used to being present in a classroom to earn their grades. Online classes require collaboration, engagement and good attendance to earn that “A”.

Online education is low quality. This might be the biggest myth of them all. Students who chose to take their studies online are actually receiving the same curriculum as the students on campus. Additionally, the professors that are teaching the online classes are the same as the professors on campus. At some schools, online faculty are required to complete a difficult certification process to ensure they are qualified to deliver online courses. Also, without the “face time” that has been the standard in classrooms, professors and teacher’s aides are now forced to find new ways to make their classes more unique and engaging.

Employers don’t like online degrees. The truth is that when students complete their programs that they take online and graduate – there is no mention that is what taken in an online format. In example, here at UMass if you take your degree online; your degree will be from The University of Massachusetts and it will mention what campus you received it from. Making sure the school you select is accredited is the most important. That is definitely something your employer would be paying attention to. Employers have been continuously known to support their workers who continue their education, whether online or on-campus. In fact, some companies sponsor their employees who are working toward an online degree. Online courses give a level of flexibility that benefit both the student and employer. The ability to continue your studies while not putting your professional responsibilities on hold are priceless.

While you may hear many different myths and rumors about an online education, be sure to do your research and find out the answers for yourself. Receiving an online education is a terrific opportunity in the modern world, so don’t let false statements hold you back!

Have you taken an online course (either at UMass or elsewhere)? Please let us know about your experiences in the comment section below!

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