5 Advantages to Taking Online Classes

The current challenges facing traditional colleges and universities, including higher tuition, budget cuts, and course shortages, have caused many students to search for alternatives. With nearly three million students currently enrolled in fully online degree programs and six million taking at least one online course as part of their degree program, online education has clearly become one of the most popular higher education alternatives. The continually improving reputation of online learning has also helped fuel its expansion, as initial skepticism has faltered in the face of evidence that shows that online learning can be just as effective as face-to-face education. All of this means that students, from working professionals to recent high school graduates, find many reasons to take all or some of their courses online. Below are 10 advantages to online learning.
1. Convenience and flexibility:
Onlinecourses give students the opportunityto plan their study time around therest of their day, instead of the otherway around. Students can study andwork when they are at their peakenergy, whether that’s early morningor late at night. Course material isalways accessible online, so there’sno need to schedule special trips to alibrary either. All of this makes onlinelearning a good option for studentswho need to balance their work andfamily commitments.
2. Career advancement:
Students can take online courses andeven complete entire degrees while working, while in-betweenjobs, or while taking time to raise a family. This academic workwill explain any discontinuity or gaps in a resume as well. Also,earning a degree can show prospective employers that you areambitious and want to remain informed and prepared for anynew challenges.
3. Continue in your profession:
Even if someone wants tocomplete a degree program, it doesn’t mean that they want toleave their current job. For most students today, college costsmean that it’s necessary to continue working while in school.The previously mentioned flexibility of online degree programsenables students to keep working while also pursuingacademic credentials.
4. Avoid commuting:
During snowstorms and thunderstorms,colleges may cancel classes; if they don’t, you run the riskof getting hurt in dangerous driving conditions. Rather thanmiss important class sessions, students in online courses canalways “attend” by participating on discussion boards or inchat sessions, turn in their work on time, and watch lecturesor read materials. Many students also find that the amountthey save on fuel costs can be substantial if they don’t have tocommute to a physical campus in general, no matter what theweather conditions may be.
5. Improve your technical skills:
Even the most basic onlinecourse requires the development of new computer skills, asstudents learn to navigate different learning managementsystems (LMS) and programs. The skills students learnto participate in their online courses translate to manyprofessions, including creating and sharing documents,incorporating audio/video materials into your assignments,completing online training sessions, etc.
These are just a few of the many advantages of taking onlineclasses. Students in online degree programs are able to managetheir time, learn the materials that are presented, and completeassignments on their own schedule.
Working World Magazine, by Working World Staff, May 2016 Issue | WorkingWorld.com