Home Opinions No classrooms, and no respect: online education

No classrooms, and no respect: online education

by Barbara Madimenos September 15, 2015 1 comment
No classrooms, and no respect: online education

Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s not learning

For many students out there, the concept of education is illustrated with a desk, a chalkboard, notebooks and a professor. Whether you are in high school, CEGEP, or university, the educational models all follow this pattern. Recently, however, the online world has been taken into consideration and has been given the opportunity to give students access to quality education. Online courses have become so popular that people are now graduating and even obtaining their master’s degrees online.

A young child learns to use a mouse. Photo by Miika Silfverberg on Flickr.

A young child learns to use a mouse. Photo by Miika Silfverberg on Flickr.

Is it too good to be true? Can we just sit at home all day and just whiz through school with a click of a button? Not really. Realistically speaking, school will never come easy, which is why online education has gained such ground over the years: it has yielded results. According to an article on ICEF Monitor, from 2008 to 2011, several countries including the United States, China, India, the U.K. and many more have seen an increase in not only the enrollment of students taking online courses, but the demand for such courses has increased. This has pushed several institutions to open up possibilities, offer all sorts of programs, and revolutionize how students learn and transition into their careers.

Unfortunately, people are still skeptical about the whole concept of doing school online. As I pursue my university degree online, I can confidently say that it is not only just as hard, but just as rewarding in receiving quality education. Need more convincing? Well, here are seven myths busted for you.

Myth 1: Online education is easier
Many people think that reading off a computer and typing up a few documents sounds like a walk in the park, but the fact of the matter is that it’s not so simple. Online education provides students with textbooks and assignments to read, group work and homework—all of which are on a tight schedule.

Myth 2: People who pursue an online education are lazy
Personally, I take high offense to this statement, considering I am in the process of getting my degree online, but acknowledge such remarks are not made out of malice. Being nothing but lazy, I wake up, go to work, come home, make sure I help with chores and then glue myself to the computer until one o’clock in the morning. This is done on a regular basis, including weekends, thus I have cut out my social life to a certain extent in order to concentrate on my education and job.

Myth 3: Credits earned for online courses are not accepted by employers
According to an article on Forbes, Excelsior College and Zogby organization actually conducted several national surveys to study employers and online accreditation. They asked a series of employers what they thought of online certificates and degrees, and the results from the 2011 survey revealed that yes, nearly two thirds of respondents who are familiar with online education considered both certificates and degrees as credible.

Myth 4: There is no teacher teaching students, it’s a computer
Whoever created this myth is probably a sci-fi addict, because I highly doubt that we have reached a point in society where computers can easily operate the education system, teach a future generation and hand them a degree. That being said, despite the lack of physical interaction with an instructor, online education is viable. Both teachers and students have access to video chat, e-mail, and in some circumstances, swap phone numbers. Just like how teachers have office hours in a physical school, so do these teachers who teach online.

Myth 5: Online courses don’t teach students to research and go into the outside world
Providing myself as a prime example for this myth is completely ironic, because I felt the exact same way when I began my degree until I was assigned to write an essay about an organization I was familiar with. This essay, in fact, did not just push me to go out and conduct interviews, but I was also using several other methods to contact head office officials as well as other relevant people, in order to provide enough detail and information for the assignment.

Myth 6: It’s easy to cheat on homework and exams
Most programs ask students to conduct research for assignments and homework, many of which require academically-cited sources. In the event that students have to take an exam, schools usually provide students with access to a physical institution close to where they live so they can write the exam under supervision. There are instances when tests or exams are conducted online, but usually are not considered as a large part of the student’s grade due to the danger of cheating.

Myth 7: Online education is cheaper
Just like how students who attend physical institutions and need to pay the school for the usage of the building, their textbooks, transportation, and most importantly, the quality education, so do online students. Despite the fact that students do not have to commute to a physical building, tuition includes updating and curating the website, the textbooks, the programs provided for students needing to learn the material, access to academic libraries, online conferences, resources for career support and so forth.

Regardless of debunking these myths, many still ask me why I decided to pursue and online education instead of going to my local university. Honestly, I would have, but my personal circumstances got in the way. My education is very important to me, which is why no matter what the cost, I was going to put myself through school and graduate in the field I love. So, for those going back to school this season, keep an open mind, and know that there is no cookie-cutter model to learning and becoming what you want to be.

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