Educational institutions and prospective students are taking online education seriously
The first universities to offer accredited online degrees began appearing back in the 1990s. More often than not, these groundbreaking schools were looked down upon by the “academic elite,” and considered to be somehow “shady” or disreputable. But a lot has certainly changed since then, and these days even the most prestigious Ivy League universities are offering online classes, and sometimes, a complete online curriculum for distance learning.
If you’ve wondered how online education works, or if it would be a good alternative for you, read on to get a sense of the online learning experience and what it means to be a “virtual student.” Obviously the biggest difference between online education and attending an actual university is that it is not necessary to be in any particular location to study. This means that much of the social aspect of going to college is removed from the online education experience. But depending on your point of view, this could actually be a very good thing. It makes it possible to bypass a lot of the peer pressure and “popularity contests” that many college cultures have become inundated with.
If you are an older student — and by older, I mean over 24 — you will probably find much of the petty jostling for popularity and status to be a real turnoff anyway. That’s why online education can be a great option for returning students, or those who are a little more mature.
One of the biggest questions prospective students have about online education is how the virtual classroom actually works. While there are similarities between the virtual classrooms used in online education, and the brick and mortar classrooms of a traditional university, there are striking differences as well.
For example, if you attend a physical campus you will enter the classroom and attend a certain course at a certain time that will be designated to last between one and three hours on average. The instructor of the course will likely lecture for the majority of this time, but there may also be some student participation. At the end of the class the instructor may assign homework or inform students of upcoming quizzes.