Choosing Online Education: Advantages & Disadvantages

In our technological society it is possible to complete most of your education online; all you need is a computer with an internet connection. Many colleges and universities offer online programs, some which combine the traditional classroom with the online classroom, and some which are completely online. In fact, it is rare these days to find courses which don’t have some online aspects.

The Advantages of an Online Education

Online classes allow you to make your own schedule by giving you much more flexibility in regards to work and social engagements. If you have a full or part-time job, fitting in a full schedule of traditional classes can be nearly impossible. Online classes let you complete assignments on your own time, listen to recorded lectures when you have a spare moment or read assigned materials between work shifts.

Online courses let you work from home, or where ever you have access to a computer with internet capabilities. This is a huge advantage if you don’t have reliable transportation. Online classes eliminate travel time to and from the classroom, which means more time to complete homework assignments and to study.

The Disadvantages of Online Classes

Online courses have different challenges than traditional classes. One of the biggest disadvantages to online classes is that students must generally complete them alone. That is, studying with classmates or conversing about lesson topics can be difficult online. This disadvantage can be overcome with the use of online classroom forums where students can chat together, but these forums are not always utilized to their full potential.

Another disadvantage to online colleges is their unstructured nature. Because many online classes have such flexible schedules allowing you to complete assignments at your leisure, it is easy to forget about homework or to procrastinate until the last minute.  While this is also possible with regular, offline classes, it is generally less likely that you will forget about a class which you need to put on pants to attend.

Is an Online Education Right for You?

If you don’t think you are disciplined enough to complete all of your classes online many colleges and universities offer the chance to combine online classes with a classroom environment by allowing students to take some traditional classes in the classroom and some online classes. This mix of online and offline classes gives students both the flexibility of online classes and the support structure of a classroom environment.


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