Considering both the growing trend in online learning and the need to adapt to new social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak, getting acquainted with taking classes online is a must. To better prepare yourself if you’re currently in an online course or as you’re preparing to take one soon, check out these three big myths about online course work. And don’t forget to read our five tips for succeeding in online classes.
Myth #1 – Online classes are easier than in-person classes
There is an impulse to think that simply because online learning isn’t in-person coursework, it must be easier. However, investing in that reaction would be misleading as online courses are meant to deliver the same level of intellectual engagement that the in-person experience can provide.
“We work hard to make sure we are offering the right tools and services to our online students and faculty,” said Brian Miller, Dean of Davenport’s Global Campus. “And we ensure quality by aligning all online coursework with the stated course and program goals as well as with our overall academic standards.”
To help provide the quality and rigor of in-person classes online, Davenport utilizes Blackboard Learn and Collaborate, which enables extensive multimedia options and real-time instructor engagement with students. Technology such as Blackboard helps schools like Davenport create a top-notch educational environment to bolster online learning, making it a great alternative to taking in-person courses.
Pro tips: Treat online classes just like you would if you were taking the class in-person. Pay attention, engage in conversation and Blackboard discussions, and study just as hard. And don’t forget to set aside a specific time each day to complete your coursework. You should also treat your professor just as you would in-person by staying in regular contact, asking questions if you’re unsure and asking for help when you need it.
Myth #2 – The quality of online learning is lower than in-person education
While online academic standards vary from school to school, if you enroll at an accredited institution that actively focuses on high-quality online learning, you should find the same quality as you would in-person. Additionally, ask the schools you’re considering if they certify their online instructors –institutions that offer the best online programs will ensure that every instructor who teaches an online class has been trained and assessed in online education.
“From coursework and instructional engagement to relationships with faculty members and an affinity with the school – we aim to bring online courses to a new level for our students,” said Miller, outlining the key goals of Davenport’s Global Campus.
In some ways, online learning can be considered more effective than in-person learning. Some of these include:
- Enabling personal interaction between students and instructors who might not be in the same location
- Allowing for greater time flexibility for those with busy schedules
- Saving money on travel or typical on-campus expenses like parking
- Providing the ability to get a quality education in the confines of your own home
Online learning not only has its share of strengths – many students favor the quality of experience that online learning provides compared to in-person classes. A 2018 study conducted by Learning House, Inc., showed that 85% of students who had previously enrolled in both face-to-face and online courses felt their online experience was either the same or better than the classroom course – with 37% reporting they felt the online course was a superior experience.
Pro tip: Do not expect a lower quality course just because it’s online. Go into each online class with the same amount of preparation you would for an in-person course and expect your instructors to do the same. Bringing a positive attitude and being ready to participate is a sure-fire way to ensure you have just as much success online as you do in-seat.
Myth #3 – Employers don’t like online degrees
Online learning has evolved greatly over the past three decades and is considered by an increasing number of employers as a more normal and respected educational pathway than in previous decades.
“Schools got better at the delivery models and hiring managers, particularly in the technology industries, became much more comfortable with it,” said Nicole Cox, chief recruitment officer at the national recruitment firm Decision Toolbox in a U.S. News & World Report article.
Some employers even look for employees with an online education because it indicates that the employee can balance multiple priorities and likely possesses strong time management skills.
“Online students often balance their education with a full-time job, and many employers would view that as a positive,” said Chris Vennitti, president of staffing firm HireStrategy in another U.S. News & World Report article. “The flexibility that it’s offering – it’s very appealing to an employer.”
One of the biggest things to keep in mind is that for most employers, the credibility of the online degree is based on the credibility of the institution offering the degree. How is credibility determined? A lot of it comes down to accreditation. Schools that are accredited have been deemed to meet educational standards by a third party. For an example of accreditation, check out Davenport’s accreditations and approvals page.
Pro tip: Make sure that the institution you’re considering attending for an online degree is accredited by an accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. And remember that the best online degree programs are focused on timely graduation and employment readiness – choosing the right university should ensure you make for a competitive candidate on the job market.