As little as 15 years ago, the possibility of obtaining an online degree seemed impossible. To most people, the thought of earning an associates, bachelors or masters degree from a well-known, accredited college or university without ever physically stepping foot on campus seemed strange and very untraditional. However, more and more well-known universities around the world are beginning to offer online degree programs every year, and it is opening doors and possibilities for people who never before could have earned a college degree.
Online Degrees Offer Much-Needed Flexibility
Many of the students who are enrolled in online degree programs either work part or full-time or have families with small children. In these scenarios, attending college full-time is out of the question. Online courses offer a bit of flexibility in that work must be completed within specific time frames, but it can be worked on during the day or the night, depending on the student's particular schedule. Also, there is not a specific time of day when classes must be physically attended.
Not needing to be present in a classroom opens the door to a college education for people who live far from the school they wish to attend. It's even possible for a person living on the other side of the world to obtain a college degree from another country without ever stepping foot on campus.
Non-Traditional Course Formats
Because all of the courses making up an online degree program are off-site, they must be taught in non-traditional ways. A few examples of the ways in which these courses have been taught are via online forums and discussion "classrooms," video-taped lectures mailed to the students for home viewing, independent study projects, and email correspondence between students completing group projects.
Who Makes a Good Online Student?
Not everyone can be successful at obtaining an online degree. There is a misconception that it will be easier to achieve than a degree received by physically attending classes on a college campus. The truth is, students are still accountable for assignments, projects, and tests in addition to remaining in constant communication with their course professors and other enrolled students, usually via e-mail.
Successful online students must be extremely motivated and able to meet deadlines without being under the constant supervision of professors. Not everyone is capable of this, and it is extremely difficult for a disorganized and non-disciplined person to actually complete an online degree program.