Distance Learning: Flexible Alternative 3

Learning OnlineIn recent years, an increasing number of students have recognized the usefulness of online study options and have chosen to earn their degrees online.

One of the most important benefits of e-learning is the flexibility available.

  • No longer do you have to move near a physical college or university.
  • No longer are you limited in the degree topics available.
  • No longer must you study at a standard pace that may be too fast or too slow for you.

With the exciting advent of online education, getting a degree does not require squeezing yourself into a rigid mold devised by some board of directors. Instead, you can create your own mold!

Location

With online distance learning, your location requirements are few. As long as you can connect to the internet, get the required materials, and perhaps drive to a local college for an occasional on-site class, you can live where ever you want!

This saves both time and money because (1) you do not have to expend time and money moving to a college, and (2) you do not have to pay living expenses in an expensive college town.

Degree Subject

Online students also have more flexibility when choosing the topic of their degrees. A normal student changing his degree must either choose from those offered by his current college or pay to transfer to a different school. Either his options are limited or his pocketbook is damaged – neither a pleasant choice.

Online students, on the other hand, are not nearly as limited in their options, and the cost of transferring is not as high. Many online degree programs have thousands of degrees available, and, if a internet learner does transfer schools, he online has to pay transfer costs – not moving expenses.

Self-paced Learning

Rather than being forced to use your school’s learning methods and learn at a regulated pace, online students are free to learn as quickly as they want. You do not have to waste your time waiting for the rest of the class to catch up to you, but, instead, you can zip ahead at your own pace.

On the other hand, if you have a learning disability, distance education will leave you free to study at your pace. Rather than feeling stressed about being “behind the class”, you can set the pace that helps you study best.

Many Credit Possibilities

Earning credit through alternative methods is easier online than in conventional settings. Most colleges and universities will accept certain CLEP tests and perhaps some of the other types of unusual credit techniques, but they will often limit the amounts of credits you can earn outside of the traditional classroom.

Online schools, however, generally encourage students to use a variety of methods. In fact, I have even heard of some schools hiring certain staff members with the designated job of helping students earn credit through portfolio assessment.

When studying online, you can choose from a much larger variety of credit options – enabling you to determine which one fits your personality and requirements best.

In conclusion, if you feel limited or restricted by the many requirements of traditional, brick-and-mortar schools, you might want to look into getting your degree through distance learning.

Image Credit: Flickr

3 thoughts on “Distance Learning: Flexible Alternative

  1. Reply Vicki@collegeparentcentral Dec 5,2009 11:38 AM

    You make some really good points about on-line learning, and it’s a good thing for many students to consider. I’d add, however, a couple of things for students to consider before they jump into total on-line learning. Students should do some thorough research about the college that is offering the on-line degree. Some “bricks and mortar” schools offer degrees on-line and some on-line schools have only on-line degrees. Not all schools are equal. Investigate carefully the reputation of the school. Will the degree be well respected in your chosen field?

    Secondly, students may want to consider that going to college is often about more than simply the degree. The experiences students have in school outside of the classroom, and the independence some students gain by living on their own, may be equally, if not more, important than just the “book learning” that they get in the classroom – whether that is an actual classroom or an on-line classroom.

    On-line degrees are right for some students, but not for all. Students might also consider a combination of both experiences.

    Thanks for providing some good food for thought, Nate

  2. Reply Nate Desmond Dec 5,2009 6:56 PM

    @Vicki

    Thank you for your contribution! I agree that students do need to be very careful when choosing online schools – evaluating distance learning schools might be a good topic for a future post.

    I also agree with your second point… to a certain extent. It is true that parts of the on-site college “experience” are useful. Networking, for instance, can be completed more easily when attending a brick-and-mortar college.

    However, I expect that you would agree that not all of the college “experience” is truly useful… or even neutral. The widespread drinking – to name only one issue – is a major problem on college campuses across America.

    Each college student must evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of traditional colleges and decide for himself which is of more pressing importance.

    Thanks again for your useful contribution, Vicki. I am always glad to have you join the conversation here!

  3. Reply Vicki@collegeparentcentral Dec 8,2009 8:31 AM

    Hi Nate,
    I couldn’t agree with you more about some of the negative aspects of college life. There are definitely some very strong downsides to life on campus.

    In addition to the networking advantages, I guess I was also thinking about things like leadership opportunities, exposure to different types of people, and those opportunities for casual and informal connections with faculty members where experiences and guidance are shared.

    You’re right on target in saying that each student must make informed and thoughtful choices. There are definitely pros and cons on all sides of the situation.

    Thanks for your posts that get students (and their families) considering some important issues.

Leave a Reply