Sept. 15 marks National Online Learning Day and Dr. Jill Langen of Baker College Online stopped by to debunk a few myths about cyber learning in higher education.
Here are the top 5 myths about online learning, according to Baker College Online:
Myth #1: Online courses are easier
There is a common misconception that because online courses can be completed anywhere and anytime, they must somehow be easier. Simply not true. Most online courses cover the same topics, require the same readings, include the same assignments and maintain the same academic expectations as the course taught at a physical campus. In addition, the majority of online courses are accelerated, meaning they are taught over a shorter timeframe than the traditional classroom format. So don’t be fooled…just because something can be done while wearing pajamas, doesn’t mean it’s a breeze.
Myth #2: Faculty don’t know their online students (and/or online students don’t know each other)
Some students may be concerned if they take an online course, their instructors won’t actually get to know them. However, nothing could be further from the truth. With the small class size typically associated with online courses (BC online averages about 13 students per class), faculty get to know each and every student personally. Remember, there is no hiding in the back of the room in an online course! Also, keep in mind that most of us communicate with family, friends and other important connections using e-mail, text and social media, so it’s easy to imagine that students in online courses develop and maintain strong professional and personal relationships with their fellow students using the same means.
Myth #3: Employers don’t value online degrees
Decades ago when online learning was new to the higher education scene, some employers were skeptical of the quality of an online education (and to be sure, not all online programs are created equally). Fast forward to today, however, and that skepticism of years ago has turned into preference for many employers. Graduates who have completed online courses or programs show self-motivation, can manage a fast-paced environment, know how to meet deadlines and can use technology to communicate effectively. Some definite pluses for any job candidate.
Myth #4: It can’t ALL be online…online degrees still require some time on campus
Online course requirements vary from college to college, but in most cases, online students are not required to physically visit a campus while pursuing their degree. The benefit of online education is that it allows students to complete coursework around work and family obligations. It also allows students to travel, whether for work or pleasure, while completing a course. As long as students have an internet connection and access to a computer, they can stay on track...and off campus.
Myth #5: Online programs are all the same
Just like on-ground programs, online programs differ from college to college. The technology used to deliver the courses, length of the course, course requirements and class sizes all will vary. Online students should select a course, program and/or institution that has experience in online education, and look for recognition by external agencies such as the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) or the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).