More people are enrolling in online courses to avoid the stress of going to a college campus, and it comes as no surprise. Traditional classes are stressful. Students drive to campus, lug their expensive textbooks, and sit through a long lecture with no breaks.
It isn’t a walk in the park for teachers, either. They don’t have complete control over what they teach. And their students might be there only to fulfill a requirement. They may not actually have a true interest in that subject.
It’s easy to see why so many students and teachers turn to the online course format.
With all its advantages, online courses are shaping the future of education. We’ll review the pros and cons of this format so you can determine if you’re ready to join this growing trend.
Online courses give students and teachers the flexibility they need to work on their coursework from virtually anywhere. They can access the material they need at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A traditional classroom course would require students to attend class during a specific window of time which is often set by their schedule or geographic location.
Online courses enable teachers to design attractive and engaging content around their subject area that can be enjoyed and utilized by students worldwide. No longer do teachers have to spend hours drafting plans for their lessons; they can simply follow a pre-planned lesson plan or curriculum. And if they want to give students more opportunities to ask questions during class time, instructors can do so remotely through online chats.
Online courses provide flexibility, convenience, and the freedom to choose subjects.
In this section, we'll go over the benefits of taking and creating online courses.
As I’ve mentioned above, one of the biggest allures of online courses is their accessibility.
They can be taken when and where a student chooses. There’s no need to make special arrangements or schedule time off from work or school.
Students can learn at their own pace if they meet the requirements set forth by the instructor.
There’s also no need to worry about having enough time to complete assignments or studying for an exam. Many online courses post a schedule, so it’s easy to know when a test will take place or how much homework is due each week.
It’s also very convenient for teachers. If a teacher chooses to put together a pre-recorded course, they will only need to do their lectures once.
The course can be uploaded to a platform, where it will reach countless students. Teachers will only need to collect their passive income!
Online courses can be a cost-effective way to achieve educational goals. Tuition is cheaper than an on-campus class. There are no additional costs associated with going to a campus, like parking fees or gas.
On-campus teachers also dig into their own pockets to buy classroom supplies. Those who teach online can save money.
Instructors can use technology to offer interactive learning environments. A supportive community also helps students succeed in their coursework.
Students can connect with teachers and fellow students through different platforms. Examples include forums and videoconference apps.
Online courses allow more people to enroll than a traditional classroom can accommodate.
Online courses are often taught by industry experts and top professors. These quality courses are available to everyone beyond the campus.
For teachers, being able to reach students around the world is an invaluable perk.
Online education gives students an opportunity to learn without having to sacrifice their current schedule.
This is helpful for those who want to get ahead in their career—they won’t have to miss work to attend class!
Teachers can work on online coursework when they want to. They don’t have to follow a school’s schedule or stick to any requirements. They have complete freedom in what they teach!
One of the best things about a fully online course is that it is available to anyone in the world. The only requirement is internet access.
Students can discuss course material, ask questions, and support each other wherever they may be.
And teachers love having access to a wide audience. No matter the subject, there’s always someone who is willing to learn.
Software companies like Kajabi and Udemy aren’t just places to host coursework. They also provide templates for new teachers.
If you find the technical side of course creation daunting, you can use these templates. Plug in your lessons and follow simple instructions on how to upload your course.
As with anything, there are certain disadvantages to online courses. Here are a few that you might come up against and what you can do to overcome them.
Online courses may make it easier for students to procrastinate, especially if courses are self-paced. There is no one physically present to keep them on track or discourage their bad habits.
Teachers can help their students from procrastinating by making a schedule of which modules must be completed by a certain time. Setting expectations early on can ensure students finish lessons.
Online courses can feel like solitary work. This makes it difficult for students who are motivated by social interactions.
This is an easy fix—just include a social component to your course! This can mean anything from group chats to Zoom meetups.
There are really only two things teachers and students need to participate in online courses—a computer and internet access.
Those who live in rural areas may lack high-speed internet. The connection might be slow or unstable, which can make it frustrating to upload or stream videos.
A solution to this problem is to supplement your video lectures. Having a transcript of your lectures is always a good practice. You can also make your slides available as PDFs.
Accreditation and quality assurance depends on the type of institution or platform offering the course.
Some online programs may offer certificates or even degrees.
But not every student is looking for a certificate or a degree when taking an online course. Even with online programs offered by traditional schools, many students opt to take individual courses without getting credentials.
It's difficult to tell if online courses will eventually replace traditional classrooms. While online classes have many advantages, some people prefer interacting with others in a physical space.
But as the last several years have indicated, online learning will continue to be a big part of education.
Online learning seems to be the way of the future. See for yourself if it is a good fit for you!
Wondering if you should teach an online course? Here are 11 reasons why you should create one.