7 Myths about Online Education Debunked

When people aren't familiar with something, the tendency is there to make generalized statements that may or may not be true. It's a human instinct to categorize what we see until details that further clarify the topic, and online education is unfortunately one of those victims. It's still a fairly new industry, particularly when viewed in relation to education as a whole, so we've set out to debunk seven of the most common myths surrounding online education.

Myth 1: Online Education is Easier than Traditional Learning

Nothing could be further from the truth, as someone who's completed their degree has shown they have qualities that elevate them past traditional learners. It takes a considerable amount of discipline, self-sacrifice, determination and perseverance to complete education when it's online, as you don't have the usual support systems and networks found in classrooms. Plus, the material in online college courses follows the same syllabus as in classrooms, with the main difference being you do it at your own pace.

Myth 2: Online Courses are Lonely and Isolating

Any class, whether it's in-person or online, is as socially stimulating or isolating as you make it, it's only that the opportunities come a little more readily in classrooms. But with online learning, you have so many tools at your disposal: text, email, Skype, smartphone apps, and any other chat tools your class uses on its website. Online educators are also aware that student-to-student contact isn't as quick as in classrooms, and so they go to greater lengths to ensure it happens by way of weekly chats, posting messages in forums, and conference calls.

Myth 3: Online Learning Will Eliminate Most Faculty

So far, the numbers just don't pan out to support this myth at all. A good online course needs an amazing instructor at its core, as well as supplementary staff to prepare the course materials and be on hand for tech support. This is also assuming, of course, that only new courses are being designed for online learning: that's not true, either, as old courses are continually revised to be suitable for modern times and being uploaded to the internet. Those who engage in online learning are quick to post reviews, whether positive or negative, about their courses, and classes with poor reviews won't attract big numbers at all.

Myth 4: Online Education Requires its Students to be Computer Whizzes

Completing a degree online can be an anxious proposition to more mature students, as it can seem like they'd need to know everything about computers before even getting started on the learning part. This isn't true by a long shot, as you need only need to have a cursory knowledge of computers. If you can send and receive emails, surf the web, and print pages, then you're set to go with your course. After all, unless you're taking a course like computer programming, navigating computers won't be the crux of your course.

Myth 5: Employers Look Down on Online Education

If you're taking online courses at an accredited college, then the courses are at the same high level as the in-person courses. But if you look at anyone's diploma after they've earned a degree, there are no distinguishing marks to let employers know it's been earned online rather than in person. And once you finish up your degree or program, few, if any, employers are going to grill you about your degree beyond asking you what you majored in and where you went.

Myth 6: There are No Due Dates in Online Learning

This is still an academic program we're talking about, and not an ongoing hobby that you can pick up and drop whenever you want. There are still due dates for essays and assignments, and you still have to take quizzes and exams at an almost-specific date. Many people mistake flexibility for complete control and willy-nilly dates, but there are still timelines in online learning.

Myth 7: Online Schools are Only Out to Make a Profit

It's easy to think some online schools are capitalizing on the newness of online education for their own benefit, but the same could be said about any industry. You'll always have people who are profiteering for no great good, but when it comes to online education, look for accreditation to ensure it's not a nefarious institution. As well, many non-profit schools are making the switch to online courses, further dispelling this unfairly perpetuated myth.