Never getting out of your pajamas and taking classes online may sound like a good option. But is it a good way to earn a college degree?
“Online learning can play a part in every person’s educational journey, but it is not the right, first choice for every student,” according to Ivy Tech Community College Vice Provost Kara Monroe.
Too often, students end up in an online course because the traditional classroom course is full, or because they need the credit to enter a degree program. A better approach is to take an online class as part of a bigger educational plan, Monroe said.
Keep in mind:
It is not always easier. Some students may think online means less work, but that’s almost never the case, Monroe said. The time required is at least the same as in a traditional classroom, and you may have assignments that require face-to-face activities, such as giving a speech in front of an audience. Students are in charge of their own learning, time management and technology. A three-credit class will still require 6–12 hours per week, according to Monroe.
It can be more convenient and affordable. If you have to drive a long distance or hire a sitter to go to campus, online learning can make learning more accessible and cheaper, since you won’t be paying for gas, parking, or other expenses.
You can mix and match. Many colleges, like Ivy Tech, allow you to take coursework in a traditional classroom along with one or more online classes on the way to a degree. Check with your college admissions officer and academic advisor to find out whether adding an online class will work for your situation.