September 15 is National Online Learning Day, a day that showcases how students of all ages are thriving with the ability to learn online—anywhere, anytime. It seeks to cultivate awareness of, and support for, this ever-growing community of learners and to celebrate the future of online education—wherever technology and our imaginations take us! In celebration of National Online Learning Day, we want to bust five of the top myths about online learning in higher education.
Myth #1: Online Courses Are Easier
There is a common misconception that because online courses can be completed anywhere and anytime, they must somehow be easier. Simply not true. Most online courses cover the same topics, require the same readings, include the same assignments and maintain the same academic expectations as the course taught at a physical campus. In addition, the majority of online courses are accelerated, meaning they are taught over a shorter timeframe than the traditional classroom format. So don’t be fooled…just because something can be done while wearing pajamas, doesn’t mean it’s a breeze.
Myth #2: Faculty Don’t Know Their Online Students (and/or Online Students Don’t Know Each Other)
Some students may be concerned if they take an online course, their instructors won’t actually get to know them. However, nothing could be further from the truth. With the small class size typically associated with online courses (Baker College online averages about 13 students per class), faculty get to know each and every student personally. Remember, there is no hiding in the back of the room in an online course! Also, keep in mind that most of us communicate with family, friends and other important connections using e-mail, text and social media, so it’s easy to imagine that students in online courses develop and maintain strong professional and personal relationships with their fellow students using the same means.
Myth #3: Employers Don’t Value Online Degrees
Decades ago when online learning was new to the higher education scene, some employers were skeptical of the quality of an online education (and to be sure, not all online programs are created equally). Fast forward to today, however, and that skepticism of years ago has turned into preference for many employers. Graduates who have completed online courses or programs show self-motivation, can manage a fast-paced environment, know how to meet deadlines and can use technology to communicate effectively. Some definite pluses for any job candidate.
Myth #4: It Can’t ALL Be Online…Online Degrees Still Require Some Time on Campus
Online course requirements vary from college to college, but in most cases, online students are not required to physically visit a campus while pursuing their degree. The benefit of online education is that it allows students to complete coursework around work and family obligations. It also allows students to travel, whether for work or pleasure, while completing a course. As long as students have an internet connection and access to a computer, they can stay on track...and off campus.
Myth #5: Online Programs Are All the Same
Just like on-ground programs, online programs differ from college to college. The technology used to deliver the courses, length of the course, course requirements and class sizes all will vary. Online students should select a course, program and/or institution that has experience in online education, and look for recognition by external agencies such as the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) or the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).
If you think an online education is right for you, then contact a Baker College enrollment advisor today. Every online course we offer is based on a fully accredited core curriculum, so it’s easy to combine online and on-ground courses if that works best for you. We also offer online master’s and doctorate degrees. Take the next step in your career with Baker College.
Dr. Jill Langen is currently the President for Baker Online and Baker College Center for Graduate Studies and has 25 years of experience in higher education. She joined Baker College in 1999 and has filled a variety of positions which include faculty member, Department Chair for Marketing and HR, and Dean of the MBA program, and Chief Academic Officer for Baker Online. In her role as President, she is responsible for providing leadership, strategic direction and administrative oversight for all campus departments including academics, admissions, business/financial services and career services.