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Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Education

Online learning can provide new opportunities for higher education to individuals from all over the world. But online learning isn't for everyone, and anyone considering an online degree program should weigh the advantages and disadvantages before beginning a program.

Ease of Access

  • Online learning provides people with the opportunity to take classes from home. This means that you can work your classes around your schedule, to a certain extent. You don't have to travel to a college campus and take pre-scheduled courses on a strict routine; you can complete your work from home in your free time, after your regular daytime duties are over.

Not Completely Schedule-Free

  • Online education is not entirely free-flowing in its scheduling. People who have very little free time have difficulty completing online courses, because having a course online does not mean that there will be less work than a traditional ground-based class. Online classes still have deadlines and due dates for assignments, often several times per week. You can't simply sign up for a class and then complete the work whenever you wish; you have to maintain a schedule in order to be successful in an online course.

Maintain a Regular Life

  • Online learning means you can take a class and still work a full-time job, without having to coordinate schedules between the two. You can go to work during the day and complete your homework at night, or vice versa. Parents can still spend time with their children and then complete online classes when their children are in school or asleep. Not having to travel back and forth to a university also saves time and means you have more time for your own life while you continue your education.

Manage Your Time

  • For busy people who take online classes, time management can be an issue. Online courses are less structured than classes that meet at regular times, which means you have to decide for yourself when you're going to work on class assignments and how long you will need in order to finish your work. Just do statistics, for people who have difficulty managing their time wisely, online education can be a major challenge. The professors in online classes are there to help you, but they won't see you in person to remind you of upcoming due dates the way a ground-based class would offer.

Interpersonal Communication

  • Online classes still provide opportunities to interact with other learners via e-mail, chats, and discussion boards. Sometimes you even have to schedule telephone conferences with classmates and professors in an online class. However, you have far less interaction with classmates in an online class than you would if you saw them in person a few days per week in a traditional class. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on how you feel about working with other people during classes.

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