July 17, 2014
The purpose of this essay is to introduce the benefits of an online education versus a traditional classroom education. In order for students to be ready to face the workforce, it is necessary that they demonstrate an independence via their learning experiences that can carry over to their first professional job. This essay outlines three specific benefits of online education that are not always available in a traditional setting, but are consistently provided by online educational institutions. Arguments that used to lean in favor of traditional education are beginning to sway in favor of online education because students are better prepared and more aware of actual business functions.
College and university administrators previously dismissed online education as being a legitimate method of obtaining a professional education. Institutions such as the University of Phoenix are made fun of for running online advertisements and sending random mailers to appeal to the masses. Students who pursue online education are thought of as unmotivated and apathetic-looking for an easy way out of orientations, foreign languages and art appreciation classes. Recently, however, the state of the economy has opened a fresh debate between administrators, students and business professionals. The curriculum used for online learning has evolved into advanced requirements that are practical and mimic scenarios that dominate most professional environments. Online students are not only competitive with those who receive a traditional education, they are actually better prepared and more versatile.
The very nature of online education means smaller class sizes, more intimate interaction and easier access to a professor’s instruction. “The student work of learning-deconstructing old knowledge and integrating new and more complex information-typically depends on faculty interaction with individual students, and regular assessments and feedback” (Taft, Perkowski & Martin, 2011). Online education provides a teaching approach centered on students that caters to their individual needs. Traditional lecture style classes at the college level are professor-centered, and students rarely receive timely correction regarding submitted assignments or projects. In most instances, any work submitted in a traditional classroom are never actually graded by the professors, but more likely by graduate assistants. The purpose of earning a degree is to be prepared for a career where employers are going to provide an endless supply of negative and positive feedback on a daily basis. Therefore, it makes more sense to have learning patterned the same way, and the intimacy prevalent with online learning also allows students chances to learn from mistakes and resubmit work in order to prove understanding.
The majority of students who pursue online education are looking for a schedule that can be adapted to their professional and personal needs. “[C]hanges have increased the capacity for…students to participate in higher education…[such as] individuals with caretaking responsibilities, employees with various workplace demands…[C]ommunication tools offer students alternative, and often increased, opportunities to participate in learning environments” (Crampton & Ragusa, 2012). Online education also provides flexibility which allows students to be actively engaged and mentally prepared. Students participating in traditional education are rarely engaged in class or prepared for class. They use other students’ notes. They skip class for social opportunities. They sit in the back and pray to be ignored. Students participating in online education study textbooks, accomplish tasks and finish projects when they are able to fit it into their schedule. This means that they are more likely to be actively engaged since they have consciously