What is online course ?
Online course is the modern version of learning: Teachers, creators can create and share learning content in an organized way that allows users to progress in their understanding of a certain topic. It consists basically on a curriculum, or study plan, organized in units. Online courses can include videos, images, text and hyperlinks. They can easily share their content with a link or send an invitation email to the users. Online courses are accessible all around the world to those with internet connection and device.
Benefits of online courses
The benefits of online courses are enormous. They create opportunities and enable the democratization of education. They are today an excellent means of giving more chance of access to a good education.
Learning online now allow people in less developed countries to follow courses in most prestigious universities in the world.
This is nowdays a great revolution in the education sector. This is accompanied by a great reduction in education costs (such as housing, transport, catering…). You can now take courses on the other side of the world while staying at home with your family. With online courses the world and knowledge have become at your fingertips.
In a more synthetic way, here are some advantages of online courses :
- Variety of programs and courses
Almost every college offers a variety of online courses for varying degrees. From career certificate programs, to doctoral programs, and everything in between. Higher education today offers more options to students than ever before.
- Lower total costs:
In some cases, online programs can prove to be a more affordable option. Although tuition expenses may not always be lower, the other expenses associated with higher education might be. For instance, there are no commuting costs, and very often instructors might offer online text or learning materials so that students do not have to purchase textbooks.
- More comfortable learning environment:
Have you ever seen images of students in an online class while in their pajamas? Well that’s often a highlight of learning online. As, someone who has taken online classes, I much prefer to take a 3-hour course from the comfort of my own couch rather than a hard, uncomfortable chair in a classroom. It’s also more comfortable when I can take a needed bathroom break, get up to stretch my legs, or even grab something to eat, whereas in a classroom environment, that may not be possible. The best part about it is that after a long day, and a long class, there’s not much of a commute from the couch to the bed.
- Convenience and flexibility:
Most higher education students are juggling a work/life balance in addition to their academic responsibilities. The appeal of online learning for some is the fact that they have the flexibility to learn on their own time. For many online learners, earning a degree would not be possible if they did not have the option of online education. Most online learners appreciate the fact that they can log on after they put the kids to bed, or on weekends, or on the commute home. For many, flexibility is key.
- More interaction and greater ability to concentrate:
While many might argue that online learning does not provide enough opportunity for student interaction, online learning actually invites in a variety of collaborative social opportunities. From my own personal experience, I’ve had more meaningful interaction through my online learning experience than I ever did in face to face classroom settings. I knew all of my classmates by name, we talked on several occasions, and provided support to one another when it was needed. Online learning provides a community atmosphere that adds a key social element into the learning experience.
- Career Advancement Opportunities
Just like courses taken in a traditional classroom setting, virtual learning can provide you with a number of career advancement opportunities.
Because you’re the master of your own schedule, students of virtual learning are better prepared to continue working while pursuing academic credentials. And for students who aren’t employed, academic work can serve to explain any discontinuity or gaps in a resume. In either case, the advantages of virtual learning can be clearly seen on a resume.
- Continue in your profession:
The advantage of taking online classes while you are working is that you do not have to choose between leaving your job and taking classes. You can continue to work your normal hours while simultaneously furthering your education. Many companies also offer education incentives, and some companies will even pay tuition costs.
- Improve your technical skills
Even a basic online course requires the development of new computer skills. Taking online classes exposes the student to learning how to use different LMSs (learning management systems) to incorporate audio/video into assignments, sharing documents, and even to take some online training workshops.
- Increased Collaboration
Online students have better opportunities to collaborate with classmates through virtual group work and meetings. One of the benefits of online courses are the message boards and grouping tools that allow students to post their feedback on readings and other assignments and respond to their classmates.
Students may also receive more one-on-one time with their professor, which is beneficial for both learning and networking. They can communicate directly with their professor and upload assignments for review.
- Personalized Education
Students who find their focus suffers from classroom activity may benefit from online classes. Those who aren’t as assertive may have better opportunities to participate online. Working from your own choice of environment, with self-paced learning, the result can be a more personalized.
In online courses, students choose the time that works best for them to complete readings and assignments. Since the coursework is online, courses can be completed anywhere there is an internet connection.