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Is Online College Right For You?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 2 0

Online College Offers Convenience And Flexibility

Online college seems too good to be true. I mean getting a college degree while sitting in my living room in my robe and slippers would be great. The truth is that online programs can be the right answer for some students, however for many students online programs are not the right choice.

For students who live far from a classroom based program and want to study a field that lends itself to an online format, online college may be the only way they are going to get a degree. If these students are disciplined and focused, they can obtain a good education that will open the door to a profitable career. 

For students who want to study a field that does not lend itself to an online format, such as architecture, law, or medicine, they are better off moving to an area that has a in-class program. Although there are online programs for architecture and law, those subjects can't really be taught as easily online. Every law school that I know of uses the Socratic Method of instruction. With the Socratic Method, the professor asks students in the class to discus a particular case and it's holding. The professor then asks questions to get the student to discuss certain lessons the case is intended to teach.  Other students are then invited to comment on the first student's understanding of the case. 

The study of architecture has historically included 'studios', studios are sessions where students present their design projects in front of other students and the professor. The professor and the students then provide very critical feedback on the project. Although the study of law and the study of architecture can be done using an online format, many industry professionals question graduates from non-traditional programs.

Online business management programs tend to work well generally. Another area of study that generally works well in an online format is criminology. There are a number of high quality online criminology programs. I suspect the reason there are so many online criminology programs is because police officers who do not have a degree, but want to get a degree without quitting their job, have to have flexibility due to the odd hours they sometimes work. 

Some programs are hybrids, they offer some instruction by in-class instruction and some instruction online. In fact it seems that most colleges today have at least one online course and usually each college has many different online courses. 

The last thing I have to say is that not all online programs are the same. If you plan to get a degree online, make sure you do your research first. Try to get a feel for the programs reputation and how graduates from the program feel about it. If possible, you want to know how recruiters in the field value a degree from the program. You also want to verify that the program is accredited by a legitimate accrediting body. 


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