Remote interaction between professors and learners is a growing trend attracting increased attention of the academic community. There are burning debates around advantages and disadvantages of online learning compared with traditional on-campus approach.
Some people say that it is a flexible, cheap way to receive relevant knowledge on any discipline, a godsend for busy people who cannot attend lecture halls, want to preserve balance between career building, education and family affairs.
Others believe that remote study has many drawbacks, does not provide one-on-one experience with a professor and deprives leaners of the opportunity to form practical skills that will be useful at a workplace. In addition, not all employers take certificates issued at online courses seriously.
By and large, any educational approach has its pros and cons. If you do not know whether it is better to learn remotely or on campus, analyze benefits and challenges of both options, decide which aspects are the most important for you. Experts from Pro-Papers have compiled the list of the key differences aiming to help you make a well-considered choice.
First of all, it is worth analyzing your lifestyle before enrolling in some university or online course. If you are a busy person who works 9 hours at an office daily or spends much time at home with a small child, remote classes seem to be the most reasonable way to gain a degree.
You will receive freedom to study at your own pace. Nobody will hurry or delay, control and reprimand you for non-attendance. There is no need to wake up early in the morning and travel an hour in a public transport to get to a campus located on the other side of your city, live far from home to receive a foreign university diploma. You can study wherever you want, whenever you are free and feel learning enthusiasm without adapting to strict academic schedule.
At the same time, on-campus education may be more efficient if you have plenty of free time. It is usually preferred by students receiving a scholarship or a parental financial support, not burdened by challenges of adult life, having no important tasks besides attending lectures and doing homework.
These young people perceive university not only as an educational center but also a place to make friends and hang out with peers, share emotions, discuss hobbies, boast of new gadgets and clothes. It is rather boring for them to always stay at home, so campus atmosphere becomes a fresh breeze. This is especially true for extraverts enjoying live communication and finding it difficult to focus on course materials while studying alone.
Working people also can take advantage of traditional learning if attending evening lectures, provided that a campus located near their office.
If a person does not receive a scholarship and has to pay a student debt, it is better to choose a cheap online program. Statistics show that it is necessary to spend about $85,000 to receive a degree at an average college or university, while the same knowledge may be received online for about of $30,000. Few people will discard the opportunity to pay almost three times lower price.
Technology makes education more accessible for young people from disadvantaged families, allows to receive several degrees and become a universal specialist. Taking into account flexibility, a person may juggle work and study, realize one’s financial goals.
Why are on-campus courses so expensive? This may be explained by the fact that educational institutions should maintain lecture halls and dorms in a good state, care about adjacent territory, ensure canteen’s operation, buy textbooks and equipment for lab experiments. All this creates an academic atmosphere which many students like. They may spend time in a university garden, study in a library, do sports in a gym, participate in sponsored educational trips.
Everyone who defends online learning comes to a dead end when discussing practical classes. Remote lecturers cannot provide hands-on experience necessary for forming professional competences. As a rule, a professor applies video conferencing to show how certain experiments are conducted. But due to the lack of special equipment traditionally used at chemistry, physics, biology, medicine, nursing lessons, students cannot repeat mentor’s actions. By the end of an educational course, they know everything but can do nothing.
Every experienced educator knows that theory and field training should supplement each other, which is impossible if a learner lies on a sofa. In the future, this drawback may be corrected by virtual reality headsets immersing users in the digital world. Everyone will receive the opportunity to learn driving or conducting complex surgical operations without leaving one’s room. But now, these devices are rather expensive, and very few educational institutions can afford them.
The strong side of remote learning is individualized approach. Each student can choose the most suitable course materials: e-books, video lectures, audiobooks, PowerPoint presentations, etc.
Character traits of a person play very significant role when choosing an educational format, in particular one’s ability to make volitional efforts and perform academic assignments without professors’ supervision. Remote courses are good for self-motivated learners capable of compiling schedules, prioritizing tasks and meeting deadlines without fail.
It is impossible to succeed without a strict plan and desire to bring all projects started to a conclusion. Academic performance may be poor if studying only when feeling a surge of inspiration. Therefore, flexibility may be both advantage and downside.
Traditional learning sets clear rules which everyone should meet. Otherwise, a student may be expelled from an educational institution, have strained relationships with professors. There are always motifs to work hard and avoid awkward situations.
Choose on-campus format if you need outside help to get the work done. There will be no need to plan educational activities for each day because it is university administration’s work. You will always have the opportunity to ask educators and peers for support. Discipline will ensure better course elaboration and forming useful habits.