July 14, 2013
Is an Online Education Worth the Same as a Traditional Student?
When choosing a way to go to college there you have a few choices in the way your education can be delivered. You could choice to go to a traditional brick and mortar school where you are required to attend class at a certain time, be required to live on campus when you are a freshman (UNL.com), and have to drive or walk to class. Another option to obtain your degree is online. An online course, according to Highland Community College in Des Moines, WA, is a “course for which all regularly scheduled classroom time is replaced by required activities completed at distance and managed online”. These courses require no visits to the campus; have limited face to face time, and a very flexible schedule. Does the value of an online education equal the value of a traditional education? Yes, the value of an online education is the same, if not higher than the value of a traditional education. To answer this question we must first determine what education does for the student. Education teaches many skills beyond job related functions, improves one’s quality of life, and provides a great sense of accomplishment.
Education teaches discipline. The leaner must focus on their school work and not let other distractions get in their way. If they do not disciple themselves their grades suffer and the education is lost. A traditional student who is surrounded by school for most of their day has an easier time being disciplined in their studies. They are on campus only to learn. They may have other responsibilities but their main responsibility is to learn and go to class. In this aspect an online education exceeds traditional learning because the online learner has to set their own time for learning. A majority of online learners have full-time jobs, families, or other responsibilities that make going to a traditional school impossible. In this sense, there are many more distractions to learning for an online learner. Online learners are not on campus immersed in school every day, and learning is only one part of their other responsibilities. They have to manage these responsibilities plus their school work. This requires the online student to be more disciplined because outside influences would have a greater impact to their learning. They have to manage their time better to ensure that every responsibility is addressed. Without a formal schedule the online learner is required to create their own, taking into account everything else. Without face to face interaction it would be easier for the online student to forget assignments that are due because they instructor is not there reminding them each time they go to class.
An education can improve a learner’s quality of life. According to the 2004 US census board, on average, a college graduate earns $54704, while a high school graduate earns only $30056 per year. College graduates have a longer life span, better access to healthcare, better dietary and health practices, greater economic stability, more prestigious employment and greater job satisfaction. These graduates also had lower dependence on government assistance, greater knowledge of government, greater community assistance, more volunteer work, more self-confidence, and less criminal activity. (Allen) An education is still an education and an online learner or a traditional learner would still be able to reap the rewards of a higher education. The online learner may have more difficulties in reaping these rewards then a traditional student. The traditional student would have the backing of the institution they choose and employers would immediately recognize the name of the school. The online learner would need to ensure that their choice is valid and recognizable.
There are those who say that education should not only teach a job skill, but also help develop people