Being an online student and choosing to complete your education remotely has numerous positives. Not least, the cost-saving and time-saving benefits, as well as the convenience and relative ease of online study in terms of fitting it into your existing schedule.
Despite this, pursuing an online education via virtual study methods can have its drawbacks. Apart from the obvious aspect of social isolation and loneliness, studying remotely also requires the online student to be exceptionally self-motivated, self-disciplined, and also, accountable to themselves alone. Without this, online study can be overwhelming, and it can be easy to lose sight of one’s motivators.
Let’s weigh up the pros and cons of studying remotely, to help you decide whether to enroll in that online course!
The Benefits of Online Education
If you’re considering enrolling in an online course – such as an online MBA, for example – you’ll be pleased to know that pursuing an online education has a multitude of benefits. These include:
Saving You Time
If you choose to complete your degree remotely, you will not be required to commute to and from your university campus or to attend in-person classes, labs, or study groups. Indeed, as an online student, you can fulfill all of your academic requirements from the comfort of your own home (or just about anywhere, for that matter). Better yet, the time that you will save on preparing and commuting, can be redirected back to your studies. This setup is a convenient choice for business owners who’d like to further their administrative knowledge with an online MBA degree.
Saving You Money
Completing your studies online can result in a significant reduction in university course fees and other associated costs. Importantly, the fees associated with online courses are, usually, considerably lower than for on-campus degrees. By choosing to study remotely, you can avoid the overheads that are related to physically attending a course on campus. This is because the university will not need to make logistical arrangements to accommodate your attendance.
Helping You Get Qualified Faster, More Easily, and on Your Own Terms
If you’re already professionally employed, you likely will need to fit your course around your existing schedule. By choosing to study online, you can quite literally study whenever or wherever you prefer. If you are an early bird, for example, you can put in your study hours before you start work for the day. Prefer to cram at night? Perfect! As an online student, your digital course materials will be available to you whenever you choose to access them.
The Drawbacks of Online Education
As well as the benefits, there are also some drawbacks to completing your education online that should be considered first:
Stress and Burnout
Being an online student can be overwhelming at times, as you will often be juggling your study commitments with other personal and professional commitments. Sometimes, with all the assessments and coursework adding up, it may feel like you have a little too much on your plate. This is especially true if you are prone to procrastination and you let your workload accumulate until the very last minute.
Lack of Motivation
If you do suffer from procrastination, you may feel a severe lack of motivation as an online student. This is often because online students can feel less connected and supported than their on-campus peers. They can also often feel like they only have themselves to depend on to get through the course. As such, online students need to develop a great deal of self-accountability and discipline, and learn to keep themselves motivated even when feeling overwhelmed.
Perhaps the greatest drawback of studying remotely is the sense of social isolation many online students experience. Yes, they may be able to connect virtually with their peers and teaching staff, and even attend online classrooms via video conferencing programs such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. However, this does not change the fact that, at the end of the day, remote students are just that – remote!
When choosing to study online, it is important to be aware of the challenging aspects that could impact your study experience. Despite these, however, the many perks of online learning are causing more and more students to elect for remote study than ever before. Some may argue that the benefits of an online education greatly outweigh the drawbacks. Irrespective of which camp you fall into, however, it appears that in our digital age, online education is here to stay – well into the future.