Almost everyone has heard of online classes, and most people probably know someone who is currently enrolled in a course or two. Online courses are truly the latest thing to think about, and are becoming the “new classroom.”
Even though online learning is a growing trend that continues to evolve every quarter (or semester), some things stay the same: it still offers students a flexible schedule with the opportunity to maintain a job and/or have a family.
However, there are many other benefits to earning a degree online and we’re here to disclose them to you.
1. An online learning student may be better prepared for a position working remotely once they’ve graduated.
“You’re seeing more and more employers hiring employees to work remotely,” Rasmussen College Online Design Instructor Drew Blom said. “The job offers employees a flexible work schedule, the opportunity to work from home, and ability to check-in with video conference calls.”
The majority of what an employer is looking for in a remote employee an online learning student already does, and in turn, everything an online learning student loves about being online they’d get to continue in their job.
2. An online learning student has the opportunity to connect with people in different parts of the world.
Blom has taught students as far away as Spain and Greece and said students have this new opportunity they wouldn’t have in the classroom to share stories and experiences with someone on the other side of the world.
3. Online learning creates a dynamic environment while with new ways to interact with an instructor.
In the classroom, students are either sitting or listening to an instructor. However, students taking courses online take breaks every 15 minutes or so to discuss as a class, as well as expand on a variety of topics.
Rasmussen College Online students must attend one live lecture a week, and these courses range from 50-90 minutes. During this time, students may participate in a chat pod or polls. “The lectures are more distilled and the discussions are more structured online,” Blom said.
“It’s also a great opportunity to hit on different learning types during the lecture time,” Blom said. “For example, there is real-time interaction, and there must be innovation to bring the experience from the traditional classroom online.”
4. The online student develops better knowledge of the Internet, as well as computer skills that they will continue to grow throughout the rest of their lives.
Students that take online courses receive a lot of training – and not just in their course of study. They learn how to use certain browsers or about the Internet, for example.
They also learn how to communicate online, and face new challenges.
“It’s always a learning experience every quarter,” Blom said. “As an instructor, I’ve learned I need to rephrase verbiage to make it easier to understand, and you can never assume too much.”
And lastly, Blom wanted to stomp on a common misconception about online learning. “It is the wrong assumption that young people are better at technology. As long as you’re consistent as an instructor, it’ll be easier for the student to follow along.”
5. The online student chooses their classroom.
One perk for online students is that they have the opportunity to choose the location that is the best fit for them to study and take courses.
Students need to figure out what distracts them and avoid studying in those locations so they can make the most of their study time. For students who work a full-time job during the day they can read or do homework over their lunch time.
“The best thing for students looking for a place to study is to keep in mind consistency,” Blom said. “The location will be familiar, they won’t be lost, they’ll know how well the Internet connection is, and it will eliminate distractions.”
6. An online learning student chooses when to study.
Have children to care for? A job to balance with classes? A study routine is key to a student’s success, and much easier with online classes.
Aside from one weekly live lecture each online student is expected to attend, students have a regular schedule of when assignments and discussion posts are due. In addition, students typically know when grades are posted each week.
“Most of my students are working full-time and have family obligations along with school,” said Kirk Olson, paralegal studies online teacher at Rasmussen College in a blog post on online learning skills. “As an online student, you have access to your courses 24/7. You must have a solid time management plan, stay self-motivated and take the initiative to complete your assignment by the due date, all of which are great skills to add to your resume.”