Since the early 2000’s, online education has been changing and improving education in many ways. When it first began, students used email and even discs to communicate with teachers. Since then, programs like Blackboard and Canvas have transformed online education.
They offer many benefits including online resources, teleconferencing, webinars, discussions with classmates and much more. These benefits are the reason online enrollment continues to grow each year.
According to Inside Higher Education, nearly one-third of all students take at least one online class. In addition, they report the number of students enrolled exclusively online grew by 15% in the last few years.
To many, this means the traditional way of going to college is declining and for colleges who do not offer online education, they will notice the biggest decrease in enrollment.
There are many reasons for these changes. Keep reading to discover details on how online class availability has changed education.
You Can Attend from Anywhere
If it is your dream to go to college in California, but you live in New York, don’t worry. You can attend college online from across the Nation and around the world.
Online college eliminates the requirement to live on or close to campus. This benefit satisfies the desires of many students who want to attend a college that is a better fit for them, even if it is far away. For example, a student wanting to take a fast track business program at a local college in California, rather than the four-year program at a college near their home, can do so.
They can also choose when they take the course.
Eliminates Time Constraints
Many people have wanted to take college courses but due to work or family responsibilities, they were not able to attend a class on-campus during the specific course time limits. Most traditional campuses offer several courses, day and evening, but they are based on times that are good for the school.
Taking an online class allows the student to go to class when it fits their schedule. This is a huge advantage to those who have many other responsibilities. They can pick the best time of day to complete their coursework, based on their lifestyle.
Better Accommodates Those with Disabilities
Those with physical disabilities attending traditional universities must prepare in advance to get to campus for classes. They may need special transportation, the classroom may need to be rearranged, and help getting in and out of buildings, the parking lot, and more.
Online classes eliminate all those steps by enabling the disabled student to take a class at home, in their environment, that is already set up for their success.
Even students with visual or hearing impairments have the computer systems in their homes to accommodate their needs, while many classrooms require extra efforts to set them up.
Makes Research Easier
Before the advancements in online education, to research for a paper or project a student would have to travel to the campus library and spend hours looking for specific information. They had to do this within the time frame of the library’s set hours.
For some, this meant several trips to the library.
Online education has made it so easy to research any topic. With just a few clicks on the keyboard, you can access an enormous amount of information.
If a student is going to the library today, it is most likely to use the computers to access the internet. There are many companies online that offer free books to students, free access to refereed journals, and unlimited use of other resources.
Enhanced Study Groups
Before the internet, study groups took place at an arranged location, at an agreed upon day and time that suited all students attending. Some students would have to miss the opportunity of a study group.
With the use of the internet today, study groups can take place online, at any time of the day. If the students want to meet at midnight, they can log in and meet at midnight, from wherever they are. They can also record the study group session so others, who couldn’t attend the original group, can watch the discussion later.
Saves Everyone Money
Attending traditional style education costs a lot of money due to the need for added expenses. As a college, they have staff and faculty expenses, liability insurance expenses, laboratory expenses, electric and utilities expenses, and much more.
When a college offers online courses, they cut down on all these expenses. They can save money by offering virtual coursework.
As a student in a traditional college setting, you also have expenses. From transportation to textbook and lab fees, they cost more on campus.
As an online student, however, you can access cheaper textbooks and have zero expenses when it comes to traveling. Furthermore, online courses cost less than on-campus courses per credit hour.
Adapts to Your Schedule
Obtaining a degree once meant you had to choose between attending college classes every day during the daytime or finding a job after high school graduation. As time went on, night classes were offered. This meant you could work full-time and go to college, but that you would miss out on family time and you would likely be exhausted at the end of each day.
Online education allows you to work full-time and take courses when you are rested and have the time to take them. You do not have to sit in a classroom for a specific number of hours each week.
Online, you can stop and start your classwork as your time permits. If you get half way through a lesson on your lunchbreak and finish later in the evening, that’s okay.
In conclusion, these are just a few of the positive ways online classes have changed education. Ultimately, these advantages are motivating more people to get a college education. It is giving anyone, no matter their situation, the opportunity to gain more knowledge and improved skills, a win-win for everyone.