A hangup for some students considering online education has been a perceived gap in credibility relative to traditional colleges. However, only 17 percent of CEOs in a June 2009 Excelsior College and Zogby survey indicated they felt that online degrees were less worthwhile. With employer support, more students may view online classes as viable based on cons of traditional college classes.
Relative to online classes, traditional classes lack flexibility and convenience. Students typically sign up for a class that meets at a regular time one to five days each week. To complete work, learn, get assignment instructions and take tests and quizzes, students must regularly attend classes. If not, a poor grade or class failure may occur. This limits students who may prefer a more flexibile learning opportunity that allows for you to schedule reading and school work as it fits. For working adults and parents, traditional college is simply not an option for education.
To participate in traditional classes, you must either live on campus or commute. For working adults or students who prefer to live at home with parents, travel adds to the expense and time involved in education. It also limits your school options. You can often complete online classes from anywhere, but traditional classes generally require that you live relatively close to make travel practical. It is also more difficult to balance school with work and family life when you have to spend time on the road to and from class.
Social experiences and campus involvement are commonly cited as traditional college benefits. However, these very elements contribute to the reasons why some students avoid traditional college. Parties, campus activities and other social pulls can distract students from consistent and effective study time. Students who prefer to learn independently and avoid these distractions turn to online classes. You can usually study at home and find a quiet, comfortable time to complete reading and assignments.
Classroom learning may also present a challenge to some students who struggle to participate or engage in a group setting. Some professors even grade based on discussion participation, which can negatively affect students who are uncomfortable talking in front of others. Also, some classes have dominating students who don't leave much opportunity for others to participate. In online classes, students engage in forum discussions over time that allow for more comfortable and easier participation.
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