Several years ago, like most of the BA graduates I’ve faced the problem of combining full-time work and studying. On the one hand, I wanted to continue my education further, on the other, I have a student loan to pay off and some other family responsibilities requiring me to work. So finally I’ve decided not to continue my study on campus and try out taking online classes
Before I’ve enrolled in an online MA program, I’d had some prejudices about distance learning. And most of them turned out to be air-build. Here I’d like to share my experience that I hope will come in handy to those who are still in doubts about online learning.
#1. I will have more space for procrastination because online learning is not as demanding as a traditional college education.
I thought that if I didn’t have to be physically present in class, I wouldn’t have this pressing feeling of constantly being late. And, frankly, I thought that online education is, so to say, easier. Oh, I couldn’t be more wrong. The thing is that when you have face-to-face classes, you have a set time frames of them. The Dobby-is-free feeling after each 90-minutes lecture is guaranteed. But when you study online it is 24/7 commitment.
So, on the one hand, I must disappoint those who hope to get their degree online effortlessly. On the other, it’s encouraging news for high school students who want to get an education but cannot afford college. I can confidently say that distant studying is as challenging and productive as classroom one. All the courses are accredited that you can check on the web page of the college that offers online programs.
If you still want to get a traditional education, online courses can help to increase your chances of entering the university you want. For example, you can increase your high school GPA and track your progress with the help of a 4.0. scale calculator. Besides, taking online courses while you are still in school will help to get an idea of what you want to learn in college.
#2. Online learning is a socially isolated process, and it will not widen your communication circle.
It’s reasonable to think that studying online doesn’t presuppose much of communication. You sit at home and just do the tasks from your studying board, then get a professor’s comment. That’s it. But my four-semester online program proved the opposite.
First of all, some tasks presupposed group work. Second, some assignments were challenging, and I could figure out how to do them only after discussion with my virtual classmates. Our discussion board almost never stood idle, and after all, we’ve started to chat outside of it. We’ve added each other on Facebook and met with those who lived in the same city. By the end of the studying, I’ve known personally about a third of my classmates.
As a result, my second expectation has not come true.
#3. Professors feel less responsible while teaching online
The situation with professor’s attitude is the same as in the regular classes. Some of them put more efforts than others. Besides, communication with your tutors depends on your initiative. Nobody will pursue you to make you finish your project. But for two years of studying online, I had only one tutor who hasn’t replied my email. Finally, I was surprised by the work of my project professor, who has assisted and supported me on every stage of my thesis preparation. So it all depends on people teaching you, not on the way you communicate with them.
I know the feeling of doubts when it comes to online learning. But after making my way through it, I’m sure that it a great option for young people who don’t have enough money or time to attend a college. Studying online is a challenge, it requires dedication, and bring fulfillment. That is for sure.