Colleges and universities have always been about granting degrees of higher learning to their communities. As transportation means developed, those communities were expanded and students could go away to school. The information age explosion was birthed when the personal computer got access to the internet. Colleges are clamoring for students and their tuition money at a time when the cost of higher education is soaring. In order to get market share and contain costs, the number of online courses and degree programs is expanding.
Students have more options available to them today than at any other time. If they are motivated to put out the effort and disciplined enough to follow through, there is no limit to the level of education that is attainable. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or have been in the workplace and have not been in a college class for several years, there are ways to combine online courses with night school, weekend classes, and short courses. This is especially beneficial for the student who must juggle a work schedule and family obligations with their busy lifestyle while trying to finish their education.
Not everyone who wants to go back to college is seeking a degree. There is an amazing array of courses available for those who already have a degree but need a certificate since they moved from out of state. This is often the case with school teachers, or realtors, and many others whose employment requires local credentials. The prospect of online learning is appealing, but not necessarily appropriate for everyone.
Since all students, young and mature, have individual learning strengths and styles, no one method is perfect for all learners. For some, the classroom environment offers the best learning experience, while others do just fine with independent study and the flexibility of distance learning where the environment is a virtual digital concept utilizing emails, bulletin boards and online examinations.
Personal accountability and discipline are a must when a student is responsible for their own learning experience. This is usually easier for the more mature student returning to school with a specific life changing goal in mind, rather than the typical recent high school graduate who is going to school on their parent’s money and still haven’t decided on a degree plan. The distractions available online or on campus can really be detrimental to one’s progress. If you can’t focus on the goal and break it down into achievable sub goals, then perhaps the online approach is not appropriate for you and you might be best served in the traditional classroom environment rather than online distance education classes.
My purpose is not to discourage you from taking advantage of distance learning whether in the form of online classrooms, or online study for credit by examination. Online education in its various forms is by far the best option for many working professionals who want to go to the next level in their chosen careers, and improve their earning potential. The lack of rigid structure in online education allows you to take courses as your schedule permits and schedule your studies and exams when you are ready.
You can go to college in your pajamas, who is going to know? That is nothing new, I was always suspicious of one guy in my biology lecture class, but that is another story. You might find time during the day to read a chapter, review flash cards, or work a problem, or take advantage of your commute to and from work.
If you are motivated and focused, you are in position to take full advantage of the superior flexibility of online educational opportunities to further your education and obtain that coveted college degree. I want to encourage you to take an online class that interests you, or to find a course where you can get credit by exam. Either one of these concepts might open your eyes to the limitless educational opportunities available to you as you begin your online degree plan from the comfort of your home.