Although online learning has gained tremendous credibility in the recent years, there are still critics out there. These are the most common critiques someone might face when beginning online schooling, and some truths behind the myths that can be used to face nay-sayers.
Critique #1: “Will your employer even take your degree seriously?”
The truth: The truth is, employers in general recognize the dedication and time management skills it takes to take classes online. Many people who attend college online are working either full or part-time jobs, so many employers have seen first hand the time management skills, dedication and organization it takes to obtain an online degree.
Critique #2: “Online school is easy; people who take classes online wouldn’t make it in a traditional classroom.”
The truth: The materials are the same in both traditional and online classes, but in some ways going to class online can be harder than going to a traditional classroom for students who lack good time-management skills. Going to school online means a person has to be a self-starter, and at times be more organized than a traditional student. There is usually not a set time to go to class and get information from teachers and classmates, you are responsible for taking time out of your day to seek out the materials and participate in discussions. Moreover most online classes require participation in discussion so you are required to login several times a week, and contribute to the class discussion.
Critique #3: “I hear cheating is so easy and rampant at online schools.”
The truth: This is extremely untrue. At any accredited university the professors (and students) have access to tools that allow them to check turned in assignments to be sure there is no plagiarism or cheating. Plagiarism is taken very seriously at all credible institutions whether they are brick and mortar or online, and can result in academic suspension and failure of the class. Online classes are taught by a real live person, they will know if homework is knocked off or original.
Critique #4: “All online degree programs are just diploma mills.”
The truth: Yes there are diploma mills out there, unfortunately if there is an opportunity to make a quick buck someone will do it. The truth is that these diploma mills do not last long because they have to move around as they toe the legal lines. Even though these diploma mills exist there are many more accredited online universities that do not allow a student to simply purchase a degree or credentials. Anyone looking into an online degree should investigate the college, and make informed decisions without falling for the hype of an instant degree.
Critique #5: “You won’t get to interact with your classmates or professors.”
The truth: Most online colleges require a certain amount of participation in class discussions. These discussions can be held via a chat room in real time, discussion forums asynchronously, or even sometimes in a video chat. Either way everyone has an opportunity to talk and discuss topics relevant to the class, and sometimes there is even the opportunity to chat with classmates or teachers on a more personal level via a chat room, or forum marked as such. Many professors give out their e-mail and phone numbers so students can call them anytime with questions on assignments or extra help. There are also schools that offer online degrees who have brick and mortar campuses where students can go be a part of the community and join sports teams, or study groups.
Critiques of online learning will continue as long as there are people who do not know the truth about it. The fact is online learning is still in it’s infancy compared to brick and mortar institutions, and although online learning has gained a footing in popularity they are still miles behind traditional colleges and institutions that were founded centuries ago when it comes to credibility and longevity. Once online universities have proven they are not a fad and are sticking around these critics will lessen in number, but until then these truths can be used to sort out personal feelings towards earning an online degree, or for convincing a friend or family member that online learning is a sound choice.