College or online? Which should you choose to get your college education – on campus study or online learning? Which is more effective? This page helps you to choose the best option for you – not by telling you WHAT to choose, but by providing information so that you can make an informed choice.
A report was released in June 2009 by the U.S. Department of Education which concludes that online learning is more effective in promoting learning – at least at university level. That research result was quite an eye-opener for many campus universities, that have for many years been declaring that online education was not as effective. And the power of this particular research is that instead of being based on just one bit of research on a group of students, it is in fact a meta-study which analyzed 46 studies comparing online learning to face-to-face education.
Of course, the research doesn’t say that it is more effective for every single student or for every situation. The reality is that online learning is more effective for some people, but less effective for others – and more effective in some situations, but less effective in others. These differences are very important if you are the individual choosing whether to get your college education on campus or online. For example, online study might be a very useful option if you currently serve in the United States Armed Forces? (If you are serving, or have previously served in the Armed Forces, the GI Education Bill can probably offer financial support.)
So which should you choose? Well – like so many things in life – there is no simple answer. It all depends …………. (and you know how the rest of that goes). But if you are thinking of going to college, this page will provide ideas and resources to help you to decide which form of study is best for you. You can then use the search box on this page to find your school/program, or go to the online school or campus school pages, or check out the online programs available on the various degree pages on this website.
College or online: Flexibility of online vs sociability of college campus
Online learning is incredibly flexible You can do your learning anytime and anywhere you can get access to the Internet. You don’t have to travel to a campus to attend a class at a particular time.
But although online study does provide flexibility for working adults and others not able to attend campus schools, universities or colleges, for those who are able to attend, there is still a lot to be said for the “campus” experience. This “campus” experience is a particularly valuable part of college education for younger students, providing opportunities for socializing and making new friends and useful contacts for the future.
The costs of campus vs online
When studying online, it is a wonderful to advance in the field of your choice at a pace that you can handle. Additionally, it is a way to further your education and earn a degree at a lower cost than would attending an educational institution. For example, the cost of an online masters degree varies greatly from one institution to another, as well as the specific program you choose to enroll in. Having said that, it is important to understand that paying more doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be better educated. The important thing is to enroll in a program that is accredited, as each of the programs on this web site are.
Online programs often appear to be the more economical alternative. Fees are usually lower and you don’t have travel or accommodation costs. However, campus schools may offer scholarships, internships and work opportunities as part of your college education. Scholarships can come from many different places, e.g., charities and foundations. Also, in-state tuition may be available for campus schools. All these can make campus study a financially viable alternative to online study. Of course, if you have a job and cannot get time away during the week to attend campus, then you are faced with another big decision: do you give up your salary in order to attend campus or simply take the program online? If the former, then you have to factor in that cost as well.
Do you have an online learning style?
Online learning doesn’t suit everyone. It depends on your learning style. The ability to think independently, self-discipline, motivation and good time management are all required for online learning to be effective. If you have a problem with these, then an on-campus degree in which a teacher provides motivation and discipline, and determines workload, may be the best for you. But if you’re a mature student and prefer to determine your own workload, then online study might be the one you’d choose.
Nature of the subject suitable for online?
Not all programs convert easily to the online study mode. Those programs that require laboratory work (e.g., some of the sciences) or the use of equipment (e.g., engineering) are better taken as campus programs. Some schools make special arrangements for these courses to be taken face-to-face whilst the rest of the courses are taken online. The use of ICT is now very much a part of campus courses, which are sometimes offered in a flexible, “blended learning” mode, i.e., some elearning and some face-to-face. So campus students still get some of the benefits of online learning. Check the university entrance requirements for the universities and programs you are interested in.
And the answer is ………
List of schools and programs