March 29, 2021
Read Time: 5 minutes
COVID-19 has raised many questions – especially for students. As learning institutions across the world shift to online education platforms, you may be wondering “Why aren’t all classes online?” Almost three million students attend their higher education classes online, and at least six million take one or more of their degree-required classes online at some point in their academic careers. They do so for various reasons – cost effectiveness and flexibility among the top proponents of what’s really drawing millions of students to pursue online degrees.
And now, as students around the globe are gearing up to get a taste of online education due to the pandemic, we at Write Track Admissions have put together a list of the benefits and drawbacks of online education.
PRO: Cost Savings
Online schools tend to be cheaper, primarily due to the elimination of the cost of living on campus at a brick and mortar university. Though some online schools have higher per-unit costs, these are typically offset by the decrease in living costs.
CON: Lack of interaction
One of the most profound and understated benefits of attending face-to-face classes is the social development that goes alongside it. Learning with others helps you acquire key social skills (patience, compassion, adaptability, teamwork), develop or test out your emotional intelligence, and build a strong network that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.
PRO: Flexibility & Applicability
Taking an online class gives you control and flexibility – something that you likely won’t find much of at a traditional university. Students are able to plan your schooling around the rest of your day, giving you greater freedom to pursue your passions. Moreover you can listen, re-listen, engage with and learn both from a visual and an auditory perspective.
Online learning has also been known to better meet the needs of students with learning challenges including ADHD/ADD. First and foremost it removes the in-person classroom stigma and instead provides an environment that is more comfortable, thus promoting a more positive learning experience. It also eases coping with distractions or problematic social situations as students who are struggling can take a break and learn at their own pace with more sustained and repetitious exposure to the material.
CON: Lack of Learning Environment
The exceptions to the joys of flexibility are traditional schools that have simply moved their classes online. You still have to attend class during its designated time, albeit via video conference, which undoubtedly opens the door to a lack of focused learning environment. Some students need the structure and accountability of in-person classes to help them learn and thrive.
PRO: Improved Technical Skills
Teachers and students alike are forced to become best friends with their computers/electronic devices in order to properly attend online classes. Programs like Blackboard and Canvas are the Learning Management Systems (LMS) of choice and they have many great technical features to help you absorb, interact, and learn in ways you never thought possible before. These technical skills will serve you as you enter a workforce that is becoming increasingly reliant on technology. The more computer programs you are familiar with, the better!
CON: Technical Difficulties & Accessibility
Online learning will likely pose a host of technical difficulty as generational differences and incompatibility between Mac and PC operating systems collide, as well as the sheer number of low income students who simply do not have access to proper computers and reliable internet. Indeed, internet accessibility has posed a major concern for students who relied on brick and mortar institutions for that necessity.
If you are struggling with imposed shifts to online class due to COVID-19, or need help deciding whether or not to pursue your degree online, contact Write Track Admissions!
Communications Director – Write Track Admissions