Not every person has the same learning style. Some students prefer the in-classroom environment and the face-to-face interactions with peers and instructors. Yet the trend is moving toward students working while going to school. These non-traditional students require a flexible program where they can complete a degree or diploma through an online learning environment. Ask yourself these questions to see if you would be a candidate for online school.
Do you require a flexible learning schedule?
Are you a working professional looking to change careers or a parent considering going back to school? You may want to consider online courses as they typically have the same recurring deadlines each week. For example, assignments may be due on Wednesdays and tests due every Sunday but other than these deadlines, you will have the flexibility to complete your work, even at 2 AM! Night owls rejoice. These predictive deadlines enable you to stay on track with your coursework while also allowing you to schedule studying around your busy life. This is a benefit if you work during the day and your free time is after the children go to bed.
Have you been out of school for a while?
For many students returning to school after years in the workforce, the virtual classroom can be a more comfortable way to make the transition back into school. You may find a face-to-face classroom setting intimidating so the relative anonymity of the online classroom may make it easier to ask questions and participate in class. When responding to questions online, you have time to think through your answer as you formulate a post on a discussion board or chat room. This can relieve some of the stress that you may have felt when called on in an on-campus classroom situation.
Are you self-motivated?
Many students prefer a classroom environment because the in-person relationship holds them accountable for the course work. Yet, online students can receive the same encouragement in just a different form. A virtual program has the same rigorous academic requirements than an on campus program, just in a different form. Through various technologies—Skype, email, message boards and instant messaging—you can interact almost immediately with peers and instructors. This level of connectivity creates a level of accountability and support but yet with the benefits of being able to complete coursework at various times of the day
There isn't a right or wrong answer when it comes to online vs. classroom learning. The decision is ultimately based on what fits best in your situation.