Online degrees may just be the wave of the future. They’re easily accessible, cost effective, and flexible — and they’re becoming more mainstream and respected day after day. Here are some of the benefits of earning your degree online:
One of the most immediate benefits of online degrees is their cost-effectiveness: most online degrees will be considerably easy on your wallet than traditional university degrees. MOOCs, or “Massive Online Open Courses,” which are offered through many of the top universities in the country, are completely free. So if you’re looking to get your feet wet in the academic world, but aren’t necessarily looking for a degree, MOOCs are a great way to go.
They can conform to your personal schedule
Many people seeking online degrees already hold demanding full-time or part-time jobs — either way, it can be difficult to carve out the time to go to school. With online degrees, you can attend your classes at your leisure — heck, you can even drop in on your Physics 101 course at 1 am!
That said, it should be noted that there are also some pitfalls when it comes to online degrees. While watching your online lecture at 1am might be more convenient, some do find the lack of personal contact to be less than optimal.
Set your own pace
If you’re too busy to take on a full course load, you always have the option to slow down. And then, when your schedule allows, you can take on more! Having the flexibility to take things at your own pace is another huge draw for online degrees.
They offer you access to a wide range of courses
Availability is another problem when it comes to traditional degrees — if you have a more esoteric field of study (say forensics or library science), it might be hard to find a local school that offers a degree in the subject. Online degrees are sure to save you a lot of time in that respect.
They continue to evolve
While online degrees might not yet hold the same respect and status as a traditional university degree, they become more widely accepted every year. Why? Because they get better every year. While early online degrees struggled with high dropout rates, many of the programs have adapted to make the courses more engaging, and they have already been finding success in higher retention rates.
In fact, the concept of online lectures (as seen in MOOCs) is so effective, that many high schools and colleges have adapted it for their own use — with lectures viewed as homework, in class time can be used for more one-on-one time with professors and group projects: it’s an inversion of the traditional classroom setting that makes a lot of sense.
So where do you go? Many highly ranked colleges and universities (such as Stanford, MIT, and Harvard) offer an extensive collection of free MOOCs. And for an actual degree, sites like AdultLearn is a great tool that will help you find the degree and online course for you, providing degrees in everything from engineering to computer programming.
Dave Landry Jr. is a writer and infographic designer located in Southern California who enjoys writing on business, finance and education. He is a huge advocate of online learning, and hopes this article begins to clarify the online degree debate for any student considering taking courses online!