Tag: value of online schooling

5 Myths About Online Education

Online education may sound really good to you, but you’re probably concerned about it too. Is it really worthwhile? Let’s take a look at some of the myths you may be concerned about.

1. Online schools are scams.

Scams abound on the internet. There are scams in education, yes, but there are also scams when you try to shop and many other places online.

That doesn’t mean all online schools are scams. There are some excellent schools online, and even some free courses offered by major colleges such as MIT.

You should absolutely check out any school you’re considering for online courses, especially if you’re trying to learn a new job skill. Make sure the school is well regarded by potential employers. Don’t stress too much about accreditation unless you really know how to spot the right sort of accreditation for the kind of program you’re interested in.

A potential sign of a scam is when the school offers a “life experience” degree. Life experience is vital, absolutely, but a school shouldn’t offer a degree based on it. Earning a degree requires work through the school offering the degree. Your life experience should simply help you in relevant courses, not substitute for them.

2. There’s no personal interaction at online schools.

This one depends on how you define personal interaction. Certainly you aren’t going to be physically together with your instructor or classmates, but many online programs offer interaction through chats and webcams. It’s not the same as being in person, absolutely, but it’s still a chance to hear your instructor, ask questions directly and hear the questions your classmates have.

3. Employers don’t like online schools.

What your potential future employers think of your online school matters quite a bit. If they regard all graduates of that program as poorly trained, you aren’t going to have a good shot at a job. A poor quality education can effectively shut you out of a job, even if you worked hard and really did learn the necessary skills.

But employers don’t dislike all online schools. They do become aware of quality, and as more good quality schools go online, there’s more acceptance. Pay attention to the quality of the schools you consider, and particularly the quality of the exact program you want to go through, and you should be fine.

4. Online programs are easier.

There are some parts of attending an online school that are easier than attending school in person. You have more flexibility in many programs, for example, and so you don’t have to worry about your work schedule. That’s also what many find harder, as being self motivated is a lot of work.

The coursework of a good quality program won’t be easier either. If the school is emphasizing how easy their classes are, that’s not a good sign. Any good online school will have coursework that is about as hard as what you’d get if you attended classes in person.

5. Online schools are expensive.

Possibly. Some online schools are expensive. Others aren’t, especially when you consider what you won’t have to do.

No parking fees. No daycare if you have kids. Probably no stress about working your school schedule around your work schedule. Often no defined semesters – many online schools allow you to work at your own pace. If you want to finish faster, you can. Some online programs even include the cost of books in your tuition rather than requiring that you buy them separately.

Online certificate program costs vary, but assume about $2000. That’s a nice chunk of money, but less than the average one year cost of a two year college at $2963, according to CollegeBoard.com. In that light, the expense is not that bad.

Take a look at the certificate programs Career Step offers and see if one is for you.

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Is Online Schooling Really Worth It?

Online schooling is still a pretty new thing, although distance learning has been around a long time in the form of correspondence courses. It sounds nice, being able to learn at home, on your own time, but there’s always that question lurking. Is online schooling actually worth it or is it a waste of time and money?

That depends on three factors. You, the teachers, and the school.

Problems with Online Schools

The problem with online schools is that not all of them do a very good job of teaching whatever it is they claim to teach. They send a bit of information your way, expect you to learn it, but it’s maybe not enough for whatever reason. Not enough for you to work in whatever field you wanted to get the education for, perhaps.

The reason for this, in part, is that it’s so easy to set up an online school. Set up a website, call it a school, provide some learning material, and start charging for it. It can look good on the surface without really benefiting students all that much.

Some have dismal rates of completion. Just imagine paying thousands of dollars toward your education and then not finishing it. It’s not that uncommon for some online schools. Not that uncommon for regular colleges either, of course.

The Students

If you decide to be a student at an online school, you have to motivate yourself much more so than you would at a school you have to attend physically. Many are self paced, and so you decide when you study. It’s rather like having nothing but homework, although there may be scheduled chats or lectures you can choose to attend.

That’s a problem if you don’t do well with setting your own deadlines and due dates. It’s all too easy to procrastinate.

Some students don’t take online schooling seriously. They figure it’s somehow going to be easier than a school they have to attend physically. This isn’t necessarily true, and it’s a poor thought to have for any education you want to get. Online schools can be just as challenging and sometimes even more challenging than the options you have locally for the particular type of education. Take a look and compare what the particular schools you’re considering expect of you as a student in order to graduate.

The Teachers

Any good online schooling will give you access to a teacher if you need it. This may be through email, chat or online forums, possibly even by phone. You want teachers who are highly knowledgeable about whatever they’re teaching. If you’re learning a job skill, for example, you want teachers involved who have actually worked in that job.

Online schools may or may not supply that kind of teacher. Check with them to see if they have what you’re after.

Take a look at the certificate programs Career Step offers and see if one is for you.

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