Will Online College be worth it?

Girl sitting in green grass using laptop

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Success with Online College

When you realize that the fast growing online college movement is supported by new attitudes towards education, and that students particularly older & working students are highly motivated to succeed in their online studies, and that they are helped by new online technologies and fresh ideas about course preparation, then it seems certain that online college courses will largely succeed and be “worth it.”   Students want their learning efforts to be “worth it”, to be meaningful at least to themselves. To be thrown into a classroom where learning is often set in a competitive social framework may well be growthful to some, but have a negative message of  “you are discardable” to others. And in  a globalized world economy where all are needed to play their parts, there is little room for the extravagance of subtle discard attitudes. And this is where the dynamics of online college courses, such as flexibility in time & space, online organizational features, and instructor-based course direction, can remake education with a better & more successful fit for it’s core constituency: that of the individual.

 Responsible Online Students Make Their Success

It is difficult for online students with obligations and family counting on them, to simply abandon study time for casual reasons as regular students may do, emptying dormitories to attend yet another football game or exercise creativity in hazing lines of freshmen. In contrast, mature & often employed & married online students have worked hard to forge the space-time they need for online courses. Many bring a strong determination to succeed in their well thought-out goals talked through with family & spouses. Whereas often the attitude at regular colleges is one of “getting maturation at college”. A view that prime learning time is part of a “rite de passage” into adulthood, full of pranks, slogans and alcoholic bonding at the expense of studies & completed courses. College’s enforced elongation of childhood competes with learning and fortunately is largely absent in the world of online courses. Which is why many online college degrees may be seen to have comparatively more depth. In today’s world success for college graduates, online or not, must be the result of careful planning and time spent following those plans through to completion.

Online Campus

Despite all the disputing over online college courses vs campus courses, one thing is emerging clearly: with online courses there comes both a new format and meaning to higher education. Yes, it contains a lot of meaning, for now as well as for the future. It’s not just one more format for learning.

Some universities, while avoiding speaking of reduced tuition and costs, speak of their new online programs as just the same as campus classes, but with a different delivery system, put in place for your convenience. But this is a game, this is the campus reaching across the table trying to pull all the online chips to its side, thereby gaining huge profits at less expense. Online studies have the potential for reducing tuition & other associated costs by extreme amounts. And they can offer a greater variety of courses from many online sources, domestic & international & keep them updated & relevant faster & more cheaply. This will really be worthwhile. Whereas the campus does not want this sharing with other institutions, even if it is to the benefit of students. Nor is it inclined to cut costs.

We are now entering an era where the tussle of Online vs Campus will energize both. The Campus competitor will definitely shed a lot of weight, emerging thinner & more committed to educational goals and less to goals of sport, circus & childhood completion. The Online competitor will also find a sleekness with solutions to course credit movement across institutions, & better accreditation acceptance. It may be a long wait, but it will be worth it.

 

Are college courses in touch with society’s changing needs

There exists a mystique to higher education which is under threat. An ivy-covered mystique that says that colleges & universities cannot err in the timeliness of their programs & courses. Those who would challenge this myth are, for example, employers who can no longer afford a long in-house training for high salaried graduates from good schools. They want personnel that can jump into problems right away. They want personnel that don’t need weeks to approve the blueprints for the automated warehouse, that can understand implications of quarterly reports at first reading, that understand the current marketing problems of competitors.    The job of keeping up with change and reflecting it back with relevant college & university courses is ongoing & enormous. But it will be surely worth it.  There will be a need for courses that can appreciate & design products for other cultures, and courses on marketing those products within diverse cultures & languages, especially, for example, within the enormous growing Asian markets.  And courses tailored to cope with fast-emerging demographic changes such as aging since everyone is living longer.     The dynamics especially of online college courses with their high percentage of multi-lingual women & non-white,  non-traditional students is such that the many pressures for ever-changing course content will be felt most strongly there.  Online college courses, recently written for the internet, will contain the up-to-date freshness that employers want. And the working graduates that have industry & co-op experiences to show them how things are actually being done.  It is such strengths that will make online college courses “worth it”. And possibly the  traditional colleges and universities may become the laggards, watching the online situation develop so they can copy it.