10 Reasons to Choose an Online Degree Program

The number of college students taking at least one course online has nearly doubled over the past five years, from 23 percent to 45 percent, and more than three million students are taking all of their college courses online. Why is online education so popular? It offers a number of benefits over traditional classroom learning for students seeking a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Here are ten of them.

1) Flexibility

Perhaps the biggest advantage of online learning is its flexibility. The ability to take classes when your schedule allows is the biggest reason many people choose to go to school, or go back to school, online. Gone are the days when earning a degree meant staying out of, or leaving, the work force for years in order to attend class on someone else’s schedule. Now, you can stay in the workforce, pay your bills, feed your family and earn a degree online.

2) More Access to Experts

Just like their students, the instructors of online college courses aren’t constrained by the limits of geography. This means students can communicate with and learn from top experts in their fields without leaving home. Once upon a time, students would have to physically attend top universities in order to learn from the most distinguished scholars. Many online courses also actively seek out accomplished working professionals in their fields, so students can receive more than an academic perspective.

3) Online Education Accommodates Different Learning Styles

Some students learn by watching, others by listening, others by doing. While the traditional classroom experience lends itself to accommodating just one or two learning styles, online education can provide a combination of different visual and audio tools, as well as hands-on learning tools.

4) Textbook Costs Are Lower

Most online courses allow students to use e-book versions of their textbooks, which can be rented or purchased for much cheaper than print counterparts.

5) Students Have Constant Access to Course Materials

Whereas students in traditional degree programs may have to wait to borrow specific texts reserved from the library or may only have the opportunity to listen to a lecture in class, students in online courses can log in and access their course materials any time of the day or night. Lectures, readings, practice exams and all other course materials are recorded for students to consult at their convenience.

6) Group Collaboration Is Enhanced

You might think that not being able to meet in person regularly would hamper group collaboration, but in fact working online enhances teambuilding. Students taking online classes don’t have to worry about coordinating group projects. They can use group discussion boards to have discussions and share work asynchronously. Online group collaboration prepares students to work with geographically disparate teams in the telecommuting positions of the future.

7) Students Get More Feedback

Students in traditional degree programs often don’t have many graded assignments and may have to wait for their exam results to find out if they’re succeeding. In an online degree program, students can get constant feedback from the instructor as they go along. Instant grading software lets students know where they stand and whether they need to work harder in a particular area.

8) Extremely Specialized Courses Are More Feasible

Online courses allow instructors to gather together students from the far corners of the globe, making it possible to offer more specialized courses that wouldn’t attract enough students in a traditional classroom setting. This enhances the learning experience for students and gives instructors more opportunities to teach.

9) Reduced Travel Costs

When you earn your degree online, you don’t have to worry about driving to campus every day. That can save you time on the road and well as money in terms of gas and car maintenance. If you’re interested in attending a college far from home, enrolling in an online program can save you heaps on plane fare and other long-distance travel expenses.

10) Every Student Can Participate in Class

The traditional classroom experience isn’t kind to shy, introverted or soft-spoken students. With online education, every student can participate equally in class via discussion board postings and direct communications with the instructor. No one needs to feel overshadowed or left out.

Online education has a number of benefits, which explain its increasing popularity. If you’re short on time, want to cut travel and other related costs or simply desire a better educational experience, an online degree program might be for you.

About the Author: Contributing blogger Alex Smith earned both his BA and MA online.