Online Education Advantage in America: Living the Dream

Photo: edudemic.com

Deb Knight

Staff Writer

            Lewis and Clark Community College offers a wide range of online courses. There are many pros and cons when considering taking an online education. While many students continue to go to college classes to pursue their education, many are choosing the alternative, which is online education. First, let us be fair and not undermine the importance of in-class studies. Nothing can replace the one-on-one concept to learning as well as interaction with teachers, classmates, etc. While we’re entertaining some points that may hinder the online dream, let’s delve in to what’s possibly the biggest deterrent for some, which are excuses! I can’t get to class today because my dog ate my paper and I won’t be able to be there on Tuesday either because my car is not going to start, blah, blah. NO excuse is valid when taking online classes! Some students, especially those inclined toward procrastination and habitual excuse making, would definitely find this to be a road block along their merry path. With the exception of tragedy, or mass power loss due to weather, even temporary loss of internet connection is not passable because it’s clearly the students’ responsibility to maintain access to a connection. But… enough with the raining on our parade! Here, we are examining the ADVANTAGES of online classes such as convenience, flexibility, monetary savings, easier access for the handicapped and/or disabled, and a safer learning environment. Bear in mind that online classes also create more jobs for teachers!

Two big power points for online schooling are convenience and flexibility. As long as I meet my deadlines for school assignments, I can do them at my own pace and on MY schedule! I can work even into the wee morning hours if need be. It really doesn’t matter how or when, as long as I make my deadlines. Online classes do require a degree of self-discipline, but, when combined with flexibility, the sense of freedom they inspire is next to euphoric! Flexibility, freedom, and self-discipline, which is also a positive trait, are powerful and incredible motivators in and of themselves, but when combined, they are a HUGE factor for the advantages of online education!

Now let’s talk money. In today’s economy I think it’s safe to say that most of us struggle to maintain a decent quality of life style as well as battling to keep our heads above water. Sometimes the latter alone is a tough thing to obtain and can be especially true of self-supporting students! In this respect, online classes have another huge advantage. This past month, I paid both my phone bill and my auto insurance with the same money I would have used travelling back and forth to the campus, which is needed to be able to drive the car in the first place. Not to mention the cost of eating out and/or shopping that might not have happened if I’d stayed home, etc. But, hey, we all know that little things can add up right?! While the tuition fees for online are the same as regular price, or very close, by staying home I can save in other ways. True, I can shop online if I choose, but unless I’m actively seeking a specific purchase, I’m not inclined to do so. The general idea here is out of sight, out of mind, which is pretty effective in my case.

Another plus to online schooling is that it’s easier for some with handicaps and/ or disabilities. While the school does provide handicap access and support, it is still tough to beat the comforts of home. I suppose it comes down to the nature of the disability as well as the preference of the student. Comfort, convenience, and Ergonomics (the relationship between workers and their workplace) are very important! I’m comfortably happy in my work environment at home with no person or place dictating what I can or cannot do.

Last, but not least, let us turn our focus now to current violence statistics in the United States concerning school related shootings, and how online education can serve as a much safer study environment. In recent years, there have been numerous shootings in schools settings. This is very real and, rightly so, very scary for students and teachers alike. The tragic Sandy Hook shooting, in which 26 innocent people were murdered, was one of many! In the year 2012 alone there were sixteen mass shootings in the U.S. during in which at least 88 people were killed! While these are certainly not things to be taken lightly, one can see how online classes are much safer in this respect…again, for students and teachers alike. It would be much, much harder for a gunman to target a large number of people in their own homes, or wherever they might be doing their studies.

Like most everything else in life, online courses do have their pros and cons. In most cases, it comes down to personal preference and/or necessity. It’s useful to know there are plenty of resources in online classes to help you along such as videos, your instructor, similar examples, and such, depending on the course. So you are not all alone in your works. This article has provided food for thought for those who have been considering, or after reading, are now considering online education as an alternative or additive to campus class. Keep in mind you can mix the two. Online education is a real and growing competitor as a means to accomplish this part of The American Dream! After all, a dream without action is just a dream.

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About lcbridge

The Bridge is the student-run newspaper of Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. We publish relevant, informative stories in a monthly print edition that focus on local events as well as global happenings. In addition, the online edition of The Bridge (thelcbridge) is updated frequently to reflect new information and more timely events.
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