Our goal at Online Education is to be an education database available to all potential students. We want to provide the most useful information possible so that potential students can make good decisions about which colleges and universities they should apply for. If you browse around the site it will be obvious that we have indexed and researched thousands of educational institutions so that the potential student can avoid the hassle of browsing through hundreds of web pages with only partial information. While this is our goal it is important to note that our roots are in online education and that our most detailed program and course specific information is related primarily to online institutions.
As we interact with our users and compare ourselves against other websites providing information about online schools and programs we have found it necessary to clearly present a case on the value of physical universities and colleges. This is necessary you will no doubt agree if you browse the internet for even a short period of time and inevitably encounter serious hyperbole about the value of online schools. This is partially due to the rapid proliferation of online school start-ups and other websites that want to refer students to their patron schools. Our goal is to be a different kind of online education database, not blindly referring our users to the latest hot online school of the day, but to institutions that will help potential students get the right education to meet their diverse needs.
We believe that online education itself is a very useful and convenient option for many potential students. As the quality of internet collaboration improves and the level of education at non-traditional online institutions continues we feel confident recommending a variety of online institutions. However we do not believe that online education is best suited to everyone. In fact, we believe that in some cases online degrees and certifications are unadvisable depending on the student’s study habits and learning preferences. Our experience is that the most successful students pursuing an online degree are highly motivated self-starters that already have a clear idea of what degree they want to complete and why. Education is helpful for starting a new career and making yourself more employable but we believe that it is far more.
Your education is part of both your intellectual formation and your social network. Two things that are large determents of the lifestyle you live and how you make the numerous daily decisions every adult is required to make. Because of this we encourage potential students to examine themselves closely to see if an online education is the best fit for them. If it will provide them the best experience and prepare them for not just their next job, but for the rest of their academic and personal lives. In light of this we have prepared some suggestions, pros, and cons of an online education versus a traditional classroom education. Even though we come from a pro online education perspective our hope is to be as impartial as possible in comparing the two. (The author of this article has attended both a public university in person and through distance education).
One of the best reasons to attend a traditional brick and mortar university is the direct access to state of the art facilities. Engineering students get to actually work together constructing machines and materials and health professionals get to work directly with real patients in hospitals. These experiences cannot be directly replicated at online institutions. It is true that online institutions often have good instruction and in some cases coordinate practical application opportunities for students but by and large traditional universities do a better job of this.
Another reason that some students perform better at traditional schools is that they offer more opportunities for tutoring and assistance. This is facilitated directly through the schools in some cases as a part of your tuition giving you the opportunity to work with tutors that in many cases have successfully taken and passed the very same classes that you need help with. The in person interaction tends to enhance the communication between the two people and can be invaluable to students that are having a particularly difficult time with a class or subject. This is also facilitated indirectly through the natural social life of on campus students. This happens when you live in dormitories, sit next to people in the library or coffee shop, or participate in on campus events. This natural interaction with fellow students in a non-classroom environment helps develop friendships and connection that often help students help each other to succeed. The best online intuitions do allow you to collaborate with other students but usually this will be only online and only with those in your specific class or program.
An online institution is not without value of course. They can in many cases be more affordable and allow students who already have fulltime jobs and additional family responsibilities to obtain an education that would otherwise be impossible. It is for this reason among others that we support online education and primarily focus our efforts in helping connect students with online institutions. But we do not want to be responsible for creating an environment that attempts to push all students towards an online education solution. In conclusion we suggest that you get as many materials from as many institutions as possible to make an informed decision weighing the costs and benefits of on campus versus online universities and colleges.