Online Vs. Campus: Which One Is Better?

By: Staff Writer

With more and more online colleges springing up and more universities offering classes online, many people wonder if taking classes online would be better or if taking traditional classes on campus would be better. Below we list some advantages and some

Online Vs. Campus:  Which One Is Better?

With more and more online colleges springing up and more universities offering classes online, many people wonder if taking classes online would be better or if taking traditional classes on campus would be better. Below we list some advantages and some disadvantages of both options.

  • Cost: This goes as a check in the column for online schools. When it comes to affordability, there isn’t much comparison. Of course, all traditional schools and all online schools vary in tuition prices, but as a rule of thumb, online schools are much more affordable than classes on campus.
  • Student Involvement: The advantage here must go to campus classes. Aside from students being able to raise their hands in class and getting an immediate response from professors, they can also set up appointments with their professors during their office hours. For group projects they can actually meet together with other students in their class, which makes it much easier to develop papers or create projects. Outside of the classroom and schoolwork, there are other activities on campus for students to get involved in, such as student clubs, dances, ball games, etc. For students who are older, have families, and/or work full-time, they may not need or want the extra-curricular activities, in which case that area wouldn’t be a factor. Also, some online students have noted that they get more involved in class discussions than they did in classes on campus.
  • Flexibility: While classes on campus are usually offered at all hours of the day (some starting as early as 7 am and some going as late as 10 pm), online classes still take the prize in this category. According to most students who take online classes, flexibility is the single biggest advantage to taking online classes vs. campus classes. As long as students have a computer and an internet connection, they can “go to” class. This is especially beneficial to those who work full-time or have other kinds of full-time responsibilities.
  • Credibility: While this area can be, and has been, debated at length, classes on campus are still king in this arena. Credibility and recognition for degrees earned from online schools are growing, but the vast majority of employers still prefer candidates who have graduated from traditional colleges and universities. This is not to say that degrees from accredited online schools aren’t recognized, because they most certainly are. They just have a little more to go before they are recognized as being equal with their traditional counterparts.
  • Effectiveness: This is another area that could be debated at length, and both sides would probably be correct. Since all students learn a little bit differently, taking classes on campus may be a more effective way to learn for some students, and taking classes online may be a more effective way to learn for other students. Students who take classes online must be able to take the bull by the horns and get things done without being reminded or prodded. This works really well for some students, especially for those who are more independent and/or learn at a faster or a slower pace than most students. For those students who need more structure and immediate feedback, then classes on campus would most likely be more effective for them.

There is no real clear answer to the debate of online vs. campus. The best thing for students to do when trying to decide between the two options is to take all of the variables into consideration when making the decision. Some of the most important things to consider are whether or not a structured environment is important, what their budget can afford, and how much schedule flexibility is needed. After students have considered these things, they can then make a choice that is most suited to their circumstances.

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