We sure are living in strange times these days. The idea that we, as a country, would be subject to stay at home orders due to a pandemic was not high on the list of possibilities. For those who have been looking to go back to school and learn the needed skills to start a new career it almost seems as if that dream has been taken away. But the good news is that many schools have made a shift and are currently teaching classes online.
Concorde is an example of one of those schools that has moved classes online. Since March 23, students have been completing their coursework online.
Being able to conduct classes online during a pandemic is a great tool, but online learning can be beneficial anytime. Have you ever thought about taking online classes but weren't sure if you could do it? Wondering to yourself what's the benefit?
You'd be surprised at some of the advantages to online classes. While some of them may seem obvious, others might not have previously crossed your mind.
Benefits to taking online classes
It can save you money
It's no secret that schooling costs money. You pay for the classes, textbooks and a host of other expenses. It adds up very quickly. There's a reason most students take out loans. In fact according to Student loan Hero(1) the Class of 2019 had 69% of college students take out loans and they graduated with an average debt of $29,900. Meanwhile, 14% of their parents took out a staggering $37,200 in federal parent PLUS loans.
This can be a huge burden to someone just trying to launch a career. With online classes, there are fewer extra expenses. If you're trying to save money, online schooling can be a perfect solution. You're only spending money on the things you want to spend money on.
Comfortable learning environment
Some might say that they are most comfortable at home. With online learning, you get to take in new knowledge right from the comfort of your own home. In fact, you can roll out of bed, keep the pj's on and "go to school" or you could go to your favorite outdoor spot, as long as you can connect to the Internet, and work right from there. How much more comfortable can you get?
One of the primary benefits of online education is there are no actual physical class sessions. Lectures and other materials are electronically sent to you and you read and complete assignments wherever you like. No having to fight traffic, find parking spaces, leave work early to go to class or miss important family time.
Can provide convenience and flexibility
Online courses can offer you the opportunity to plan your study time around the rest of your day, instead of the other way around. You can study and work when you are at your peak energy, whether that's early morning or late at night. Course material is always accessible online, so there's no need to schedule special trips to a library either. All of this makes online learning a good option for students who need to balance their work and family commitments.
It's important to note that some online schooling requires you to be logged on during certain sessions or projects, so not all online classes are as flexible as others.
Works on improving self-discipline
Succeeding in online classes requires self-discipline. You don't always have a set time when an assignment is due. Your friends or classmates won't call you on Monday morning to make sure you're working on that group project. You actually have to log in and participate in the discussions to get participation credit.
Being lazy or undisciplined will cause you to quickly fall behind. Taking online classes requires you to develop stronger self-discipline, which often translates to other areas of your life such as fitness, work ethic, and even relationships.
Shy students can break out of shells
While there is contradictory evidence about the rate of online participation versus participation in traditional courses, one thing is certain: online courses offer shy or more reticent students the opportunity to participate in class discussions with more ease than traditional face-to-face class sessions. Some students even that online courses are easier to concentrate (2) in because they are not distracted by classroom activity.
Work and go to school
Even if you want to complete a degree program, it doesn't mean that you want to leave your current job. For most students today, college costs mean that it's necessary to continue working while in school. As previously mentioned, the flexibility of online degree programs enables students to keep working while pursuing an education.
Lack of Commuting
If you live where it snows, you know how difficult it can be to get class when there's been a storm. You have to get up early, shovel your way out, navigate the icy roads and trudge across the freezing campus. Even if you don't live in a cold climate, there are plenty of other conditions that can make it tough to come to class.
If you take classes online, attending is as simple as opening up your computer or tablet. No more rain-soaked walks for you! You can learn from the comfort of your home or favorite coffee shop.
The Internet has connected people all over the world like never before. While there is still a large disparity between those who have access to the Internet and those who don't globally, the mere fact that any of us can communicate across the globe speaks to how awesome the internet can be.
Websites you visit in a course may be based in other countries. What better way to find out about the works of Michelangelo than to go to Italy (virtually, of course)? What better way to learn about the Amazon Rainforest or the history of China or the customs of islanders in the South Pacific than to visit those places online? And if you participate in global learning days or other online events, you may even meet and make friends with someone in another country. It is a small world, after all.
Depending on the school or program you plan on attending, you may need to have previous credits transferred or you may need to take a prerequisite prior to starting a new program. Either way, online class credits may transfer among schools which allows you to continue moving forward with your education.
Because online credits may be transferable, you could potentially take a needed class online and then transfer the credit to your college. Keep in mind that every college has different requirements, and for that reason, transfer of credits is not guaranteed. You should always check first to make sure that your credits will transfer to a specific institution. It's the perfect solution if you're trying to save or make up lost time.
Online classes aren't for everybody. Some people just want the tried-and-true traditional classroom. But online classes offer so many benefits. These benefits allow people who might not normally have the time or resources available to them to attend college.
Concorde offers several online degree programs in health care. Learn more about our options and why Concorde is a good fit for you.
- "A Look at the Shocking Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2020," Student Loan Hero, https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics/
- "Only Sometimes for Online," Inside Higher Ed, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/04/26/online-courses-are-second-choice-community-college-students-some-subject-areas