How Many Online Learning Courses Are There

Everything you need to know about choosing a formal education–including how many options exist and how you can tackle them.

How Many Online Learning Courses Are There

While classic school-related questions, like, “How many ways can a class meet?” still linger in the recesses of my brain, the only questions that come to mind when it comes to online learning are: What are they doing with the time I spend on the internet? And do they really know what they’re doing?

Around the country, classrooms of young people are finding answers in online environments. And lots of them.

Adolescents and teens don’t like sitting in a classroom. They don’t want to go to school in a large building. They don’t want to leave home. Online learning, with its lack of space and hallways and you-can-drop-in-anywhere access, is especially appealing.

But online learning also presents challenges. Is it really as good as in-person? Are they learning the content? Is it working?

These are all questions that online learning programs are working to answer, and having a look at what they have to offer does little to dispel myths about the industry.

An online alternative to a classroom, that’s all

There are a great many programs out there — 65, to be exact — that will allow you to take classes without any physical ties to campus. Some of these courses are part of a single academic institution, while others are part of full universities. And even if your education needs are fulfilled with courses from these two categories, online students will be provided with a host of additional resources: over 35 million community college courses are available free online, at the click of a button. Virtual education also provides an intimate online environment that allows for a greater creative space to shape content. Ultimately, online learning may be the perfect way to learn, as more and more students are availing themselves of it.

Virtual classes work, but it’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all approach

While most educational types would argue that online students get an education in a digital environment, online classes have their shortcomings. Most importantly, online learning takes time and effort, and for most students, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to avoid the social site your friends use every night, which can be a great distraction during crucial lessons.

The other issue that should be raised is the time commitment and commuting time you’ll need to spend to get to school. With most “full” online courses, you’re not going to be hitting the books during the commute to work. Also, while they may offer extensive online options in terms of the accessibility and safety of content, online curricula can be a long journey to any particular campus in a metropolitan area.

The most common online degrees

While there’s certainly a wide range of programs online, one sure-fire assumption of most students who have taken an online degree program is that they’ve enrolled in some basic, low-priced programs with programs that are delivered to your computer as well as an actual campus. These courses will likely be taught by non-professionals and aren’t traditional in how they’re delivered.

As you’ll see in the next section, you won’t necessarily need to finish all of them to receive an online degree. Many online programs are still headed in this direction and hope to transition. That being said, it’s best to look for general education courses, even if these specific courses are in limited editions, with stipends attached.

Online courses might exist only to help with career studies and tests

Because of their limited topics and perhaps shorter length, online courses could help you brush up on skills relevant to your career or schoolwork, providing a brush-up while remaining on your own schedule. In-depth courses might be better suited for students with more in-depth knowledge of college. While some major content is offered in online environments, you’ll generally find the most dense (and less-practical) content online. For example, you’ll typically find online test preparations, not for matriculation, and not requiring as much time and effort.

What are some of the best online courses on the market?

For top-notch and diverse online degree options, visit the website of Completely Student. Its comprehensive degree program catalog includes any program that could be taken on an online platform. Its prices may be a bit higher than in-person degree programs, but it does offer a large, crowd-sourced catalog of courses.

*DISCLAIMER: A licensed psychologist who works in private practice is not licensed to practice in California, but in other states, she may be licensed to practice. If there is any confusion about that state’s licensing status in relation to her licensed status in other states, she should contact you directly. When in doubt, contact your state medical or mental health licensing agency.

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