Online education has become the main selling point for universities to entice people to continue going to school or finish their degree program. The stereotype of the partying college student in his/her early 20's has drastically diminished over the last decade as an influx of a new breed of college student emerged. Many college students today are middle aged adults with a decent amount of credit hours that were completed a number of years prior. What we see today is a large student body that has taken the experience first, education next route as opposed to the traditional path of application of education to gain experience.
Benefits of Online EducationOnline degrees are increasingly more attractive because it has given students more autonomy over their busy schedule. When work accounts for about 8 hours per day and all other responsibilities and voluntary collateral duties accumulate on a 24 hour clock, it's understandable to assume that traditional classroom education is near impossible to commit to.
Drawbacks of Online Education
Students that must resort to online education face challenges that traditional students do not typically experience. When a student conforms to the online college lifestyle, they agree to breeze through college without the indulging in the other developmental components of the college experience. Some of these activities include school clubs, societies, team sports, campus events, and general student interaction among a diverse body of scholars.
Science majors, in particular, tend to suffer the worst growing pains in the transition from traditional to online academics. Engineering majors, for instance have a typical curriculum packed with difficult science and advanced math courses that often require additional lab credits. The idea of a legitimate Engineering degree online is almost inconceivable being that online labs are almost absolute oxymoron. Several schools offer a decent amount of online courses, but the dilemma the science major will face is that they'll notice that the majority of these online courses offered are at the Associate degree level, ranging in courses from remedial math courses, English and composition, philosophy, etc. What the student will not likely see is calculus, chemistry, physics- all of which are required in mostly all science majors.
Another overwhelming challenge that makes an engineering degree online seem less likely to seem legitimate is the aspect of accreditation. Not all online schools that offer degrees online are regionally accredited, which is required to transfer to most schools in the United States. And some graduate schools will usually outline their own unique requirements that consist of expectations for education platforms. That is, graduate school A may require no more than 40% of your degree to be completed online and graduate school B may allow no more than 20% of your degree to be completed online. Graduate schools still maintain a negative perception about online courses and may present a problem for a student that must resort to online education that also seeks graduate school admission.
In summary, the idea of online school is a convenient and enticing idea, but the diversity among schools presents several concerns for the busy student that seeks a degree that consists of a complex curriculum. The situation calls into question whether the school system favors full-time students who are not employed as opposed to a working community of experienced students. The requirement of higher education for increased pay and job security creates a conflict of interest between corporate America's demands for workers and demands for scholars.
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