With a bad economy, high unemployment and several new educational benefit programs like the available, more and more people are going back to school to finish degrees or to gain new skills that will make them more marketable. Most of these new students wont be sitting in a chair at a local university or college, they will be sitting at their kitchen table or at a computer desk in their homes taking online courses.
About six months ago, I decided that I was going to go back to school and finish my degree. I considered attending Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), but decided that taking an online course would be much more convenient and I could work around my office and travel schedule. In the past, when I took traditional “brick and mortar” (or Face to Face) classes, I had to drive to the school to attend classes during the week and I had a tough time trying to balance my work and school schedules. I ended up taking night classes so school wouldn’t interfere with my work schedule. With online courses and I can work at my own pace doing homework and assignments anytime from almost anywhere I happen to be. I’ve even taken a test an online test during lunch while I was at work.
Today, most working professional’s that enroll in higher education take online courses instead of traditional classroom courses. According to U. S. News and World Report, the Babson Survey Research Group found that “Online education programs have become commonplace, with more than 3,300 of the roughly 4,500 U.S. colleges and universities offering at least one online course. More than 1,700 of these schools offer completely online degree programs.” (Kern, 2010) Furthermore, the economic downturn has increased the demand for college courses, but the study reported an even higher demand for online courses. “Sixty-six percent of institutions surveyed reported an increased demand for new online courses, and 73 percent reported an increase in demand for existing online courses.” (Allen & Seaman, 2008) So why do all these students prefer online classes to traditional classes and schools? Is it just the convenience or do students consider other factors when making this decisions?
Like most people, Convenience was the main reason I decided to take online courses. Unlike the traditional college courses I’ve taken in the past, I can access my online course syllabus and materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This makes it possible for me to take a class no matter what my work schedule might be. For example, I can take a business trip and as long as I take a laptop or have computer access I can work on assignments wherever I might be and whenever my schedule allows. This is simply not possible in a traditional classroom setting. In traditional setting students are required to meet hard deadlines and take tests at specific times. Online courses have deadline too, but they usually allow students a larger widow (or time frame) for completing an assignment or...