Online universities are marketed as being the perfect solution for those with full-time jobs looking to further their education. But the down sides of online universities are numerous and can greatly affect the educational learning experience. Here are a few down sides of online universities; these down sides may convince those considering online schooling to take a more traditional route.
While there are plenty of brick and mortar universities with trusted reputations offering some courses online; determining if a fully online university has a good reputation can be hard to figure out. With so many online universities out there it can be impossible to determine which ones are accredited, offer the right coursework for the degree, or even offer degrees. Some online universities are nothing more than diploma mills, while even legitimate online universities may leave students with credits that don’t transfer or degrees that don’t hold weight.
Even when you do find a fully accredited and good online university you are faced with one of the biggest down sides of online education. They lack of full interaction between your classmates and your professors. When you are in a real live classroom, there is a level of interaction that can never be replicated online. All the video conferencing technology in the world can’t match the power and educational worth of a passionate debate or discussion in the classroom. Interacting with your professor online can be near impossible and asking questions during class time is rarely an option online as there is often no class times.
Online universities lack in person lectures which are a critical part of the learning process. Being able to ask a question on the spot about the material is priceless and being able to respond and reply to fellow classmate’s comments and questions isn’t the same on a message board as it is in a classroom.
There is something about being on a college campus that gets the mind flowing and inspires students to achieve their educational goals. Of course online universities can help one achieve educational goals too, but at what cost. The resources available to most students on college campuses completely blow away resources available to students of online universities. Besides the lack of being around fellow students and interacting directly with staff and professors, online universities don’t come with gyms, libraries, dining halls, computer labs, and so forth. Sure the internet can be a virtual library and you obviously have a computer if you are going to school online, but the resources available to you on a physical campus are much greater and much broader.
Course Material –
To be accredited any school, whether online or offline, must meet certain standards. Certain subjects must be taught, and courses must include certain material to count for credit in one’s major or degree field. In classrooms, this coursework comes in the form of textbooks, handouts, and in class lectures. Online universities may require textbooks, but you’ll also be printing out paperwork like crazy. Since video lectures may be limited at some online schools, teachers will post lecture notes, assignments, and articles online for students to read and understand for themselves. As an online university student you’ll also have to submit all your work through the university website or even through the mail.
Whether online universities are accredited or not, the truth remains that there is still a stigma attached to a degree earned at a fully online university. The fact that graduate level work is available for completion online including master’s programs and even doctorate programs means that there are people getting advanced degrees without ever stepping foot in the classroom. Who is to say whether a person actually learned the material or just looked it all up online? Would you go to a professional in a given field who earned their doctorate from an online university? What about someone who needs hands on experience to excel in their field, does an online degree give them the experience they need?
You may be someone enrolled at an online university and think you are learning the material just fine. Perhaps for you that works just fine, but the simple fact remains that in our society online degrees are still viewed differently and that may be due to the many down sides of online only education.
Those with busy schedules and full time jobs can still enroll part time in traditional universities assuring they get the full educational experience they deserve. Online universities may work as a temporary supplement until a better schedule can be worked out for adult students, but the real value lies in the classroom itself.