The concept of online education was ridiculed a few years back. Both educational institutions and students are now taking online education more seriously.
In the early 1990s, the first approved online universities appeared. The “intellectual elite” often looked down on these ground-breaking colleges and thought of them as “shady” or “disreputable.” Online classes and even full distance learning curricula are available at many Ivy League universities these days, a testament to how far technology has come since the early days of the internet.
If you’ve wondered how online education works, or if it might be a viable alternative for you, read on to gain a sense of the online learning experience and what it means to be a “virtual student.”
Obviously the largest difference between online education and attending an actual university is that it is not essential to be in any one area to study. This implies that much of the social part of attending to college is missing from the online education experience. But depending on your point of view, this could potentially be a very beneficial thing. A lot of the “popularity contests” and peer pressure that many college environments have become engulfed with can be avoided by using this method of learning.
If you are an older student — and by older, I mean over 24 — you will probably find much of the petty vying for popularity and prestige to be a major turnoff regardless. As a result, returning students or those who are a little older can benefit from online education.
One of the most frequently asked questions about online education is how it all works in the virtual classroom. Virtual classrooms and brick-and-mortar classes have many parallels, but there are also many significant contrasts between them.
For example, if you visit a physical campus you will enter the classroom and attend a given course at a certain time that will be assigned to run between one and three hours on average. For the most part, the class will be lectured to by the lecturer, but there may be some participation from the students. Students may be given homework assignments or notified of future tests at the conclusion of class.
In a virtual classroom, however, the structure is considerably more open and the lesson plans are much more flexible. For instance, in a typical virtual class, you can join in at any time and access the course material through listening, reading, and watching videos. A good rule of thumb is that if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us. There will be no one to keep an eye on your work or keep track of your progress if you communicate with your course instructor by online chat, email, or instant messaging while you are taking the course.
As a result, the student bears a greater degree of responsibility for their own education when pursuing an online degree. No one is going to watch your back or make sure you’re doing your homework; it’s all laid out in front of you, and it’s up to you to complete the assignments and go over the information.