The Internet has become an educational phenomenon. Universities have been formed that require absolutely no campus visits, and many traditional universities have begun to offer “online only” degrees. In most cases, one can simply log on, write down their assignments, do the work and turn it in at their own convenience. While this may be great for those with limited time to spend on school work, there are some basic drawbacks to an Internet education that some do not consider before jumping on to the online university highway.
Remember high school? The friends, the teachers, the activities, and the overall experience? You can generally expect to have the same sort of nostalgia when looking back on a traditional college experience. This isn’t the case with online learning. You will never see the faces of your teachers or classmates. You will rarely, if ever, get to walk around a beautiful campus. You will not get to participate in the many extra curricular activities that colleges offer, including literary events, sporting events, guest speaking events on various topics, and so on. You will look back in ten years on your college days and remember sitting in front of your computer, alone.
If you are new to online classes, you can also expect technical difficulties to get in your way. It will take a few weeks to learn how to navigate through each teacher’s class, and most will expect you to already know how to do so (though there are a few kind souls who are lenient and will give you a week to “learn your way around”). You can easily get behind, and even fail, if you do not quickly learn that ignorance on how to navigate through a class, technical difficulties, power outages, and the like are not usually acceptable reasons to turn in late work.
Unlike with traditional classrooms, you are not generally required to sign in to an online class at any particular time. You are simply required to get your work done by a certain due date, and usually you can expect that your teacher will want you to at least communicate with them in some form every week. That being said, you will not be able to use excuses such as having family issues, having to work late, or having preplanned vacations to excuse your late work. Because the atmosphere is already so relaxed and you ultimately determine when you work on school around your own schedule, you will not be able to expect much mercy.
Lastly, it can be very difficult to expect friends and family to respect your time limitations when you are taking online classes. Most will have the attitude that because you can do your work when you please, you must have a great deal of time on your hands. You may also make the mistake of thinking in much the same way. However, it is likely that you will find that online learning requires the same amount of time as traditional classes would require. It is essential that you are aware of this before registering.
Hopefully, the above information will allow you to make a more realistic and informed decision about becoming an online student. If you have a limited amount of time to dedicate to school, but do not wish to miss out of the traditional college experience, you might consider taking one or two classes at the campus and simply taking the rest online. This is an especially good compromise for younger students who are fresh out of high school who must work in addition to taking their classes. However, if your main concern is getting a degree in the shortest amount of time possible through the most convenient method available, an Internet education might be right up your alley.