Many students wonder whether they should choose a traditional bricks-and-mortal school or go for an online education. In this article, I’d like to share my own experience with both.
I’ve received my Bachelor’s degree from a traditional university. I went to classes, had discussions, and so on. It was mostly good and useful. Then, my plans for Master’s degree kept on getting delayed for several years. Finally, I went for it, but chose an online university.
Why online education?
The main reason for choosing an online education was the flexibility. Since I didn’t need to travel to classes, I was able to be anywhere.
Now, I’d like to compare the two forms of education. With online education, you still get to take the same classes you’d be taking at a traditional university. They use the same textbooks (or textbooks which are as good), you still need to write papers, and take exams.
True, most online exams are open book, but after all, isn’t education about understanding topics rather than memorizing formulas? Whether the exam is open book or not, there’s still a time limit during which you need to answer questions. And without understanding the topic, opening the book won’t be of assistance.
There are also class discussions in the form of posts. Often, the instructor posts a question and a class makes posts. In most cases, there’s no real-time exchange among the students, which some students may not like. It’s a hard to become a better public speaker doing that, but you become a better writer.
Also, most online students already had some forms of traditional education, be it primary school and high school, or an undergraduate degree. Since we live in a digital age, getting an online degree is actually useful.
Is it as good as traditional education?
Based on my arguments above, you may conclude that online education isn’t bad at all. Yet, some of you may still question whether it’s good for their major.
When it comes to such majors as journalism, writing, computer science, business classes, social sciences, and some others, I believe that the format of online education can handle these fields of study well.
I’m not so sure if you can become a doctor or a nurse by taking classes online. Also, for science majors, such as chemistry or biology, you should have lab.
Some online schools require residencies to make up for these shortcomings. Also, many traditional universities offer online classes for their regular students. So, you may end up taking some classes online and others in a traditional format.
There are also 100% online programs ran by traditional universities. This way, they bring their reputation, staff, and expertise online.
Another question you may ask is which school to choose. What I recommend is that you go to a regionally-accredited online university. A regional accreditation is what most of the traditional universities in the United States have.