Know the facts (and myths) about earning a bachelor’s degree online.
Online learning has been a rapidly growing trend in recent years among traditional public and private non-profit institutions, but COVID-19 put the online modality under intense scrutiny.
Overnight, government officials, academic administrators, and degree seekers all scrambled to adopt and adapt to new tools, technologies, and instructional approaches. In most cases, this emergency approach to virtual instruction presented a false narrative. In reality, online education and the ability to earn an online bachelor’s degree is not a new concept.
Many students and professionals alike have found great success and achieved their personal and professional aspirations by earning their advanced degree online.
So with so much information circulating, how do you know what’s fact, and what is pure fiction?
Here are a few misconceptions that students have regarding online education and earning their bachelor’s degree online.
Myth: An Online Education is Limiting
- Online learning opens doors to opportunity.
To some, online learning may seem new, but in reality, fully accredited online degree programs date back to 1996. Fast forward 24 years, and you’ll find the polish, sophistication, and breadth of online degree programs offered today is immense.
One of the biggest benefits of earning a degree online is that the classroom is not limited by geographic location. Throughout the course of study, students build relationships with classmates from across the country, and in some instances, around the world.
This exposure not only diversifies a student’s perspective on academic topics but also helps them build a strong peer network that can open the door to more opportunities post-graduation.
And with the number of online bachelor’s degree offered to date, chances are high that there is a respected institution that offers a course of study that aligns to a student’s interests and professional aspirations.
MYTH: Learning Online is Isolating
- Earning an online degree is a connected experience.
Most learning management systems (LMS) are inherently designed for maximum peer-to-peer collaboration.
Discussion forums let students share their viewpoints on key topics and build a sense of community. Video tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime allow students to connect face-to-face, virtually. Interestingly, it is common for online students to live within proximity to the campus. This means small, offline meetups can occur as needed while adhering to post-pandemic recommendations.
And these virtual interactions extend to faculty, too. With online degree programs being commonplace at most universities and colleges, instructors are well-versed in the online modality to ensure maximum student support throughout the program’s entirety. Like students pursuing on-campus programs, online students have access to (virtual) office hours, on-campus meetings and more.
Rest assured, online students are not alone in their journey.
MYTH: Online Learning is Subpar to On-Campus
- Online students get the same robust curriculum and knowledgeable instructors as on-campus students.
Students absorb the material in familiar settings on a timeline that fits within their life and their schedule.
Online coursework provides a high-level education within an easy-to-use online portal that’s engaging, innovative, and just as rigorous as learning in person.
In reality, online degree programs can offer flexibility and convenience that on-ground programs cannot.
MYTH: Only Part-Time or Out-Of-State Students Study Online
- Online degree programs are designed to cater to a range of student needs, from part-time to full-time.
A key benefit to learning online is flexibility—the ability for students to craft a schedule and fit learning into their day-to-day lifestyle.
The online modality is especially appealing to students looking to work full-time while still furthering their education. The asynchronous format allows them to seamlessly balance work and academics without having to compromise one in favor of the other.
Whether it’s the busy professional who lives five blocks from campus or a full-time student living out of state, online degree programs put success within reach, making it more attainable and less dependent on environmental or social circumstances.
MYTH: Online Bachelor’s Degrees Aren’t as Credible.
- Online degree programs offer flexibility and convenience that on-ground programs cannot.
Graduates of both programs are awarded identical credentials.
With the majority of online degree programs sharing curriculum and faculty with its on-ground counterparts, students expect the same academic rigor, education, and outcomes as those students who elect to attend campus. Online programs offer the same prestige and respect as traditional degrees; the only difference is the way students take courses.
And for some students, this is where online wins.
The Leaders in Online Degree Programs
Considering earning your degree online? Check out some of the leading, non-profit institutions that have a proven record in providing exceptional learning in the online space.