Article: Advantages of Online Schools vs. Campus-based Schools
Figures from the National
Center for Education Statistics show that there were more than
2800 distance education college degree programs in 2001. (Most
of those programs were online programs.) And those programs
had more than 3 million enrollments.
There is a good reason
for these big numbers. Online schools offer advantages over
their campus-based counterparts. If you are looking for convenience,
program choice, and a more satisfying classroom experience,
you may find that online schools are superior to traditional
First, online schools offer
a level of convenience that campus-based schools can't match.
With online classes, there is no commuting long distances, looking
for parking, then rushing across campus to a lecture hall only
to find that all the good seats are taken. Instead, you can
take courses in the comfort of your home or office. All you
need is a computer with an Internet connection, and, in some
cases, easily-obtainable software for classroom discussions
and for communicating with your instructor. What's more, many
courses have an asynchronous discussion format. This means that
you can post questions and respond to other students' comments
at your own convenience, rather than being forced to attend
a discussion section at a scheduled time. So if you are busy
with work, or tasks such as caring for children, your classroom
discussions won't interfere with those responsibilities.
Second, online schools
offer you many more degree programs than what your local campus-based
college can probably offer. Because the Internet connects you
to the world, you can pursue programs offered by schools in
other states, or even other countries. You can get degrees ranging
from associate's, to bachelor's, to the Ph.D. And the subjects
you study can range from business, to nursing, to criminal justice,
to Web design, to culinary management, to name just a few examples.
To get the same variety of choices via campus-based programs,
chances are you might have to move. And finally, if you happen
to be living in another country where there are few educational
opportunities, online programs can open up a world of educational
Third, online schools can
provide you with a more satisfying classroom experience than
what you would get from a campus-based school. If you are shy,
and find that it's hard to make comments or ask questions in
a lecture hall, you may find that it's easier to communicate
with students and your instructor by e-mail and message boards.
In fact, since course formats often require participation in
discussion groups, you may interact with others much more extensively
than you would in a traditional classroom. And you may find
yourself frequently e-mailing your instructor, where in a large
lecture hall you might not once talk with your professor. Students
with handicaps can also find that the online format can make
communication much easier. Another advantage is that since materials
are delivered electronically, you'll be able to scroll back
to reread something you didn't understand. It's hard to rewind
a professor in a lecture hall!
Your classroom experience
can also be enhanced by the international availability of the
Internet. Your local community college probably enrolls mostly
local students. Not so online schools. In many cases, students
from several other countries might be your classmates. Coming
from other cultures and countries, they can offer perspectives
and ideas that you might not be exposed to in your home town.
If you've hesitated to
enroll in a degree program because of the limitations of your
local campus-based college, why not try online schools? Their
convenience, program choices, and unique classroom experiences
can mean a great route to a college degree.
. National Center for Education Statistics, "Distance Education
at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2000-2001,"