The Pros and Cons of Online Courses in Post-Secondary Education
Many post-secondary schools deliver classes online, with some programs even offered entirely on a remote basis. While this opens up various opportunities for students, it still presents both pros as well as cons. If you’re a post-secondary student or will soon be one who’s considering taking online courses and wondering about these pros and cons, here is a more in-depth look at them:
- No Commute – Of course, there’s the convenience of not having to commute to campus, which, in turn, usually allows more time for working on assignments and studying. This in particular will benefit you if the school is far from where you live and/or you have a busy schedule that includes responsibilities outside of academics.
- It’s the Future – How people approach numerous jobs has changed, and hybrid or even strictly remote positions are becoming more common. Therefore, online courses can also challenge you productively by preparing you for these potential future work situations as you’d then get used to concentrating at home with the associated distractions for longer periods of time.
- Master Online Video Platforms – You can familiarize yourself with or refresh your memory of how to use standard video-call tools such as Zoom (if they’re being used). When the pandemic began, many people turned to these communication platforms for work as well as school and are continuing to do so. All in all, remaining familiar with Zoom’s functions and that of other similar ones has proven to be beneficial.
- Lack of In-Person Practice – Although video-call tools are helpful for facilitating remote verbal communication, it’s also good to speak with others when you’re physically around them. You are likely preparing for the professional world during this time and being able to navigate a setting where you’re amongst colleagues as well as enhance your interpersonal skills remain relevant parts of that preparation. Though remote work has increased, having these skills is still very important. Most notably, if you do end up with a position that’s in-person or must attend necessary in-person interviews, meetings, etc. then taking courses online may interfere with developing them.
- Difficulty Forging Relationships – Another con involving the absence of an in-person component is that it can make cultivating relationships with people from school more difficult. Meaningful relationships often have positive impacts on learning experience(s) and online classes could inhibit these connections.
- Technical Issues – Though rare/unlikely, there is always a chance that the platforms used to host the classes will experience technical difficulties. This would create frustrating hindrances for everyone involved. Depending on the specific issue and platform, any aspect of the class, i.e. crucial interactions, submissions of assignments, and exam completions may be postponed or even prevented.
Overall, online courses possess both benefits and drawbacks. While it’s likely you can dedicate more time to schoolwork and familiarize yourself with remote communication tools, they could lack a connection element that takes away from potentially having more dynamic learning experiences as well as impact course schedules if the platforms encounter technical issues. Nevertheless, if you consider these pros and cons, you’re on your way to successfully deciding as to whether or not taking online post-secondary courses is the right path for you.