Since the very recent dawning of online learning at the college level, the stigma of an education with less merit than what can be gained through attending a traditional campus has been ever present. While that stigma has subsided over the years, there are still persistent questions as to the effectiveness of online learning. All things being equal in terms of tuition, is it really possible to get an online education that rivals a campus based education in both the knowledge gained and the inherent value of what it can do for a resume?
The first thing to note is that rarely are all things equal, and tuition is no exception. Despite the fact that there are no athletic programs to support through added tuition fees and no property maintenance costs, some online colleges and universities are astoundingly more expensive than attending a state run college. Simple economics dictates that this shouldnâ€™t be the case. Fortunately, the majority of accredited distance learning colleges and universities in operation today offer tuition rates well below those found at state run universities. Still, the point remains, students considering an online education need to shop around.
In terms of the curriculum itself, most online colleges and universities adhere to the same curriculum that campus based programs do. Only the format is different. This, in light of the technological direction our society is heading, is a benefit. More and more business is conducted online, and as popularized in recent ads by Microsoft, many employees of the same company at the same location have a good chance of never crossing paths though they are geographically right next door. In short, we are using the computer as a communication device more than ever, and any training or education that furthers our abilities in that regard can be seen as a positive.
For faculty interaction, itâ€™s give and take. Some people respond better to those they are in the presence of, while some simply require more one on one attention. With online learning, faculty are more prevalent and the student to teacher ratio is, in most cases, better than that available through a campus based institution. Because students can log on at any time, the hours that distance learning colleges and universities must keep faculty on hand and available for are extended.
In all, there are many factors for deciding on whether an online education is the right choice that fall outside the traditional reasons such as flexibility of schedule and the ability to attend from wherever internet access is available. Fortunately, the quality of education received is not one of those factors.