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Online Courses: Do The Advantages Outweigh The Disadvantages?
This article examines whether the advantages of online courses outweigh the disadvantages and provide a flexible e-learning solution for working age adults who wish to further their education.
Many working adults are discovering the need to further their education to compete in today's uncertain and constantly changing job market. However, going to school while trying to balance work, family, and social obligations can be a daunting task for even the heartiest of students. Fortunately, with the advent of the internet and computer technology, there is now an alternative to the traditional college classroom. Thousands of adult learners are finding that online courses provide an e-learning solution that fits their busy lifestyles. If you are thinking about going back to school to further your education, internet courses may be just what you're looking for. Before enrolling in any online courses, it's a good idea to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages and then determine if going to school online is right for you. Online courses provide a number of advantages for adult students including: - Accelerated Learning modules that focus on core content. - Rolling admissions that allow students to begin class throughout the year. - Attend classes at anytime. You can work full or part time, spend time with family and friends, and still be able to study at a time that is convenient and fits into your schedule. - Attend classes from anywhere. All you need is a computer and internet access. - Work at your own pace. If you need extra time to absorb the course content, you can read and re-read the material until you "get it." - Equal learning environment for students, regardless of age, physical appearance, personality, health, gender, social standing or economic status. - More time to make a response to the instructor's lectures and questions. No need to feel pressured or out-matched by more talkative students-online everyone has a chance to be heard-even the most shy student who might never speak out in a traditional classroom. - Reduced expense. While the actual class, textbooks, and other material may cost as much as in a traditional classroom, there may be a significant reduction of expenses in other areas such as travel expense, housing costs, child-care, and loss of earnings. - Improved communication with classmates and instructors through instant messaging, email, chat rooms, newsgroup threaded discussions, phone or fax. - Accredited courses. Many online courses are accredited by regional and/or national accrediting agencies. - Improve technical knowledge of computers, software, and the internet. - Working in virtual teams provide the student with valuable skills in the global economy. Disadvantages include: - A feeling of isolation caused by lack of live contact with instructors and classmates. - Absence of a traditional classroom structure may cause students lacking self-discipline and good study habits to fall behind in class. - Requires a good working knowledge of computer hardware and software, file management, and the internet. - Technical issues. Obsolete or malfunctioning computers, sluggish internet connections, or incompatible software may cause problems logging into class, and completing course assignments. - Requires high level of commitment and motivation. - Students have little opportunity to improve oral communication skills, due to course work being in an electronic format. - Classes with lab or hands-on requirements may by unavailable online. While online courses offer many advantages for the adult student there are clearly some disadvantages as well. However, for thousands of students worldwide, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. For these students, attending school online is an effective way to attain their educational goals and advance in their career. If you need to further your education, you might just discover that it's also the right choice for you!