Not sure if online learning is right for you? Here’s how to tell when it might be.
How To Knw If Online Learning Is Right Vr You
This article originally appeared on Glassdoor and is reprinted with permission.
As a parent, I can’t help but be concerned about how my daughter will assimilate into the globalized society of the future. While modern education systems like UC Berkeley, Harvard and MIT are generally acknowledged as high-quality research universities, teaching is only one part of the equation — the focus should be on learning to think for oneself, something that becomes more complicated with more and more miles between us. As educators and parents, we want our children to be cultured and intelligent people, not just fully functioning robots. So what are the changes we can make to ensure that this happens?
Online learning can help with this
Before I answered that question, I had to try it out for myself. My daughter has been leading her own classes for the past couple of years, so I thought I’d take the University of Michigan Ann Arbor’s Class of 2019 options offered online.
Besides providing a wide range of classes for just about anyone who wants to learn, the University of Michigan’s online classes are free and only require a login and password. I’m usually fine giving my daughter my credit card details over the internet, so this membership alone was enticing. However, they required both students and teachers to give between three and five weeks notice before starting and complete their classes online. This means there’s still a chance of my daughter receiving help from teachers in the classroom to revise key topics and passages. There’s a wide variety of subject options, from healthcare to STEM, but, to my surprise, there’s also a handful of philosophy classes.
When I posted a job opportunity for my daughter on Glassdoor as an online education coordinator, a colleague said he’d been on a few online education courses from Detroit’s Wayne State University. Glassdoor is typically less than half as expensive as schools like Michigan’s, so this is certainly something to keep in mind.
While online classes are certainly cheaper than traditional ones, they’re not always accessible to everyone. You’ll probably want to get advice on how your kid would benefit from online education from your local university or online tutoring center. However, I’m betting that one of the worst things that will happen to online education is that parents will sell out their kids and force them to take what feels like the least challenging classes possible. There’s even more pressure from employers to get an online degree, especially if the position requires online communication skills.
In general, online learning is better for students who like to learn on their own and prefer working from their own devices. I’m not advocating that my daughter should start doing it full-time, but for those of us who like to study independently, online courses make this more feasible.
More than it sounds
Learning online has a variety of advantages. I had previously taken a number of classes online, and they were never as interesting and relaxing as taking a lecture at a university campus in person. Online courses were a blast and kept me entertained for hours. The spoken course content changed drastically, but the unique content of each lecture made it hard to resist. It reminded me of those old school flicks where everybody’s an actor and a minute section was taken up by an extra credit scenario.
Like any college or university, there are bound to be weird moments as you look at yourself on your computer screen. But this is the same as when you’re sitting in a class with people you have never met before. Being completely involved in the material at hand, I found I had to actively seek out my classmates’ levels of knowledge, since it was easier for my brain to understand given the scale of knowledge. In fact, class sizes were smaller for this online class and I felt like the attention was actually better. This dedication paid off when it came to exam time.