Are online classes as good as on-campus classes? It depends on who’s asking. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and which is best for any given person depends on their unique needs and learning styles. Some people benefit from the regularity, accountability, face-to-face interaction, and relative distraction-free environment that a classroom setting can provide. Others are intimidated by the technology involved in accessing online courses. That said, here’s some advantages of online classes have over on-campus classes:
1. Convenience. Online courses can be completed from anywhere with a computer and an internet connection. This means no need to walk or drive to school. No need to even get dressed or get out of bed. When it comes to convenience, online classes have a clear advantage over on-campus classes.
2. Flexibility. Many online classes are administered asynchronously, meaning students don’t have to be online at any particular time, but can access lectures and course materials at whatever time works best for them. This is especially advantageous for students who work and/or have families, since they can schedule their classwork around their other obligations. On-campus classes don’t afford this kind of flexibility.
3. Cost. Because no classroom space is used and materials can be uploaded directly online, the overhead for online courses is much lower than for on-campus courses. This means schools can offer online courses at a much lower rate than on-campus courses. In addition to the lower tuition, online students also save money in travel costs and don’t have to take time off work.
4. Depth of engagement with material and classmates. Because many online classes require students to publish comments on readings and engage in online discussion with other members of the class, the depth, as well as the frequency, of engagement with course materials, classmates, and professors is often better in online classes than in on-campus classes.