Online Education: Is It Right for Me?

Barry Lenson

Online Education: Is It Right for Me?

Online Education: Is It Right for Me?Technology always makes people pause and wonder. If you think back over the years, you realize that people have always expressed doubts about the value of new technology . . .

  • Back around 2000 B.C., people were saying, “Why would I ever want a bronze spear point when my old flint tip does a fine job of bringing down gazelles?”
  • Back around 1850, people were saying, “Why would I ever want a toilet in my house when my outhouse suits me fine?”
  • Back around 1910, people were saying, “I love my horse. Why would I ever want an automobile?”
  • Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, people were wondering, “Why should I pay money to watch television over a cable? It’s already out there in the air, free for the taking.”
  • In the 1980’s, people were saying, “Why do I need a computer terminal in my office, when my IBM Selectric typewriter works just fine.”
  • In the 1990s, lots of people were saying, “Why would I ever need to have a computer in my home? What for?”
  • Around year 2000, some people were still saying, “Why do I need Internet access? It’s designed for military use, right?”

And now that we have hit year 2011, lots of people are wondering whether they would ever want to take classes online. Courses are things that are delivered in physical classrooms, right? What’s wrong with that?

Yet over time, the benefits of technology become clearer and clearer. There really are some spanking good reasons why people would want to use a computer instead of a typewriter, for example. And there are reasons why hard drives are better than floppy disks, why cars are better than horses . . . and the list could go on and on.

And here are a few reasons why online learning could be right for you . . .

  • You can take your courses anywhere.
  • You can learn at your own pace and repeat lessons and units until you master the information they contain.
  • You can fit your coursework in around all the other demands of your busy life – parenting, working, whatever.
  • You can take courses without having to drive, commute by bus, or find a parking space.
  • You can take online courses if you have mobility problems that make it difficult to get to a school or campus.
  • In many online situations, you can never be closed out of an online course.
  • In many cases, online courses will cost you much less than classroom courses.
  • Most good online courses have help lines where you can immediate answers to questions.
  • Because you do your online coursework while at a computer, you have immediate access to online research tools and resources that you do not have in a classroom.
  • You can usually start new courses whenever you want, without waiting for a semester or school year to begin.
  • Online courses offer a great, risk-reduced way to “test the waters” and try out subject matter without running the risk of getting a bad grade in your regular college.

Those are only a few of the many advantages of online learning. Now that you’ve tossed your typewriter and spear, fired your horse, and torn down your outhouse, it could be high time to give computer instruction a try.

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