Many college students seek online classes because they need a more flexible academic schedule. I have done a great amount of schooling online and, although there are tremendous difficulties that go along with it, I have to say it is pretty rewarding.
Students who cannot afford to go to school and simultaneously work a full-time job often seek classes that will fit around their busy lives. My first year of college I worked 40 hours a week in a factory, headed home to do my schoolwork, then went to sleep and repeated this process for two semesters.
Even though this was really challenging, I still gained college credit and did not have to worry about debt. A major factor of online classes is cutting costs, whether the cost is traveling to the school or in the cost of textbooks.
A lot of these little costs add up to an enormous bill, and for those paying for school themselves, online classes are a great option to cut down on these expenses.
I would not recommend taking an entire load of online classes because they are a lot of work, but having the option to take a class here and there without having to worry about traveling to and from the school is always beneficial. Most people, when they find out I took online classes, always ask if I really learned anything or if it is just another way schools can take money from students.
I always tell them that you get what you put into it just as if you sat in class every day. If you do not pay attention to the teacher in front of you, then you cannot expect to get the full experience of an in-class setting.
It is the same as if you do not keep up with your work with an online class. Some students have a hard time staying attentive in a classroom which is another reason they may test the online setting. There are many positives as well as many negatives, and for many students, an online setting would not be beneficial for them.
In the case of someone needing to save money and cutting down on travel time and expenses, an online class would most likely fit their needs. It is important in whatever type of class you choose to put in the time and effort so as to get the full benefit of learning.
It is not impossible to learn online, but for some it may be more difficult which is why assessing learning preferences is important. I was okay with learning more independently and even though it was a lot of reading after a long day of work, I got through it and it definitely opened my eyes to a whole new experience.
I got better with scheduling myself and it really allows you to mature in a different way than a regular college setting does. I would say if you have not had the chance to take a class online, then you should try it when the opportunity comes around because it really is an interesting learning experience.
The biggest benefit I got from it was figuring out how I learn best and an online class is a great way to discover that.
Matthew Davis is a sophomore writing major from Philadelphia.