Dumping Traditional Education – Should You Do It?
February 08, 2016 - Posted to Catchy Research Paper Topics
Pros&Cons of Leaving Traditional Education
Traditional schools are made for traditional students. There is a schedule of classes; students attend classes, take notes on lectures, complete assignments, take exams and write papers. 18 weeks later they have their finals, and that semester is over. They take a break and start all over again. More and more, people interested in furthering their educations are dumping this traditional environment and choosing a number of online alternatives. Should you do it? Here are some pros and cons that may help you make your own decision.
While non-traditional learning is not for everyone, it is for enough people that the growth has become exponential now. Here are the advantages that are obvious “draws.”
- Scheduling: People who work have a tough time with the set schedules of classes at a traditional institution. If a necessary class is not offered when that individual is available to travel to campus and take it, then s/he has to wait, hoping it will be offered at a different time next semester. And if that course is a pre-requisite for other courses, then this slows down the time-frame for finishing.
- Self-Pacing: Lots of us like to work at our own pace. That may be faster or slower than the traditional 18-week course, but we have the flexibility for this if we want it.
- Cost: Students in online programs can save room and board and other campus fees, along with transportation costs. Private online degree programs can be expensive, so comparisons need to be made. There are also the MOOC’s which are free and are offered from such prestigious school as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, as well as many state universities. While a full degree program can be taken, students receive certificates rather than degrees. Employers are beginning to recognize these certifications as credible and worthy, however, and that is only going to increase with time.
- Streamlining: A lot of online degree programs have dumped the general education requirements and focus solely on the major field of study. This means the degree can be earned faster and will probably include more field related coursework than that of a traditional program.
- Pick and Choose: A lot of people are not interested in a degree program. They just want to get specific courses to enhance skills and make themselves more valuable in the workplace. Online coursework allows this without traditional pre-requisites.
Online education comes with its drawbacks and challenges too. Here are some important things to consider.
- Selection of School: There are a lot of private for-profit schools offering degree programs that are not rigorous, and they are therefore not accredited by any regional or national associations. A degree from these schools is pretty much meaningless to a potential employer. Fortunately, congress weeded out a lot of these schools with an investigation a few years back, but there are still some out there. Be careful.
- Accountability and Responsibility: In a traditional setting, students are held accountable for deadlines. Online education means that person must be motivated to keep somewhat of a schedule to view lectures, do the reading, and keep up with assignments. For the individual who has a tough time focusing and keeping a schedule, this can be a real challenge.
- Some Degree Fields don’t Work: Reputable schools offering online coursework will not offer courses or degrees in certain fields, especially those that require hands-on activities such as labs. Students who are interested in pursuing education in the hard sciences, for example, will find very little available except basic introductory courses. Some courses just require a traditional environment.
- Employability: As stated, employers are just beginning to come around to honoring online degree programs as credible. This is why school selection is so important. It is advisable to do a bit of research to determine your eventual employability from online coursework or degrees.
- Isolation: While many online courses utilize Skype or other similar platforms, and while you can interact during lecture and participate in discussion boards, online study can be a lonely prospect for someone who is used to face-to-face learning environments.
If you have decided that online coursework is for you, then there are important steps to take:
- Choose courses and/or a degree program that lend themselves to online study.
- Research all of your options, especially the reputation and the accreditations of schools you are considering. Obviously, any of the MOOC programs will not be a concern.
- See what you can find out about how certain businesses and industries receive online programs. You may have to dig deep, but you can always ask a school what the placement rate of its students is.
- Once you are signed up and the course(s) has begun, block out times when you will “attend” and complete assignments. Make this a strict schedule for yourself so you don’t get behind or distracted.
Online education is definitely a force for the future. It allows students amazing flexibility and freedom. And with continued innovations in technology, some of those cons will be eliminated.