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Online Schools vs. College Campuses

Campus or online degree - which would you choose?
Online education is definitely gathering momentum, but isn't traditional classroom education a tried and tested recipe for success? Can a digital format ever truly replace the good old teacher and chalkboard?

When you're trying to make up your mind, don't be surprised if you can't come up with any clear cut answers. On either side of the spectrum, you're likely to find advocates and opponents. Before you take your call, you need to realize that there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each. Also visit CollegeConfidential.com for additional information regarding an online degree versus a traditional on campus education.

What Online Education Can Do For You

Statistics from the National Centre for Education proved that in 2001 alone, there were over 2800 distance education degree programs. A large percentage of these were online programs with more than 3 million enrollments.

  • Some of the Major Advantages of an Online Degree:

Flexibility
With just an internet connection, you can enroll in a degree anywhere in the world. Online degrees also offer you flexibility where time is concerned. So, if you have other commitments and find it difficult to get to a campus at a predetermined time every day, an online degree would be ideal for you. You can complete assignments, respond to posts and schedule your study time to fit in with other commitments. Also visit What Do You Look For in an Online Collegefor further topics covering an online education.

Work and learn
Online degrees allow you to upgrade your skills or prepare for a career change, even while you're working. So, if you'd like to get the best of both worlds, the money from a job and the educational backing of a degree, this is a perfect option.

Lower costs
All you'd need to invest in is a good internet connection and the basic course fee. The savings, on the other hand, would be phenomenal. You save on gas commuting to and from campus, boarding fees and so on.

Self-paced learning
Maybe you're one of those people who hate a set routine. Or perhaps, you have a short attention span. An online degree allows you to study depending on your mood; you can even afford to zone out for a few minutes. While a campus education does not offer you the luxury of rewinding your professor, most e-based learning packages allow you to replay podcasts, scroll back pages and ensure that your 'note taking' is less stressful.

Global audience
The geographic flexibility afforded by an online degree increases your chances of learning with students from all over the world, also increasing your level of general awareness.

  • The Disadvantages of an Online College

To really get 'educated' with an online degree, you need to be highly motivated and disciplined. If you have a tendency to procrastinate, you may find that the degree holds little value for you.

If you like meeting people, the isolation that an online degree imposes on you may be a little daunting. All interaction is likely to be virtual and less personalized than at a campus.

While the asynchronous format is a plus, it could also prove to be a serious deterrent. There is little chance for real-time interaction and you'll have to wait for the professor or other students to respond to your query, resulting in higher levels of frustration and anxiety.

If you aren't exactly technology savvy, technology could prove to be a major source of anxiety. Teaching applications that are software-based may need several other specific components to operate. Moreover, computer viruses could pose a serious threat.

With an online degree, you need to be extra careful that you're enrolling with an accredited institution. Do take time to contact the course administrator and find out if the credits you earn are transferable.

What a Campus Education Can do for You

  • Advantages of Attending a College Campus

Network for Life
A campus is a great place to forge meaningful relationships with peers and professors alike. Many students go on to forge successful business partnerships with their classmates, while others choose their career mentors from the college faculty.

The Interaction Factor
Unlike online education, a traditional classroom allows you to interact with faculty and clarify your doubts almost immediately. This real-time interaction is integral to engaging students in a meaningful dialogue. Social interaction with peers is yet another aspect that you enjoy in college. All in all, the high level of interaction that you enjoy in college will prepare you for the real world outside.

Facilities
With a campus-based college come campus-based facilities. You'll have access to libraries, gyms, labs, clinics and a lot of other perks. These facilities make your study experience much more hands-on than in an online college.

  • What a Campus Cannot Offer

A campus college, however, cannot offer you the flexibility and convenience that an online course does. There will always be rules and codes to abide by and the pressure to perform at the pace of the class will always be intense. It would also mean higher financial commitment on the part of the student.

Unlike an e-based course that allows you to find information at the click of a mouse, a traditional classroom would require you to take notes and generally be much more proactive about finding information.

So, which is better?
In the final analysis, the choice depends entirely on your financial ability, available time, your personal goals and your personality. If, for instance, you are shy and withdrawn, the anonymity afforded by an online course might suit you. If on the other hand, you are a social person, the lack of interaction in an online course could prove to be frustrating.

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