Almost everyone receiving an education in 2020 is familiar with online learning. From grade school to grad school, students have discovered the benefits of an online education – as well as some of its challenges. When it comes to earning a degree for career advancement, however, some myths of online learning persist. In case you’re on the fence about earning an online bachelor or master’s degree, let’s explore and dispel seven misconceptions you may have.
Myth #1 – Online courses are easier than traditional on-campus courses
If you go into your first online course thinking, “How hard can it be?” you are in for a rude awakening. Some have the misconception that virtual learning simply consists of a little reading, a little writing, some quick discussion posts – a breeze, right? Wrong. Instructors of online courses demand the same quality and quantity of work from their students as face-to-face instructors. They adhere to strict academic standards and accreditation requirements. Simply put, if you don’t put in the work, you won’t be able to fake it. Add in the self-discipline required to complete assignments, the need to acquire online learning strategies, and the intensely accelerated schedule and you’ll soon realize that online learning is no walk in the park.
Myth #2 – You won’t have to invest as much time
Ottawa University’s online programs offer classes in 8-week terms, which is much shorter than the standard 16-week semester. So, while you will be finishing the class in a shorter time period, keep in mind that the coursework is accelerated. Why? Because you’ll be covering the same amount of material and have the same requirements for passing the course – the same amount of reading, lectures, assignments, and interaction.
Myth #3 – Online degrees aren’t accredited
No question, you need to do your homework on this one, but it simply isn’t true that there are no online degrees offered from accredited institutions. Some for-profit schools, new, or lower quality schools may not be accredited, but a growing number of universities understand the importance of providing a quality, accredited online education. They will have either national or regional accreditation. It is important to note that Ottawa University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. Before you enroll in any online program, be sure to check who accredited the school and what their standards are for accreditation. It could actually be a deal breaker when it comes to financial aid, future employment, or school transfer.
Myth #4 – Employers don’t accept online degrees
In 2020, this myth of an online education is an easy one to debunk. First of all, more and more online degrees are being offered from accredited universities. As a result, acceptance of the degrees by employers has become almost universal. Second, the stigma against online education has been further diminished during the COVID-19 pandemic as virtual learning has become ubiquitous. It is also worth noting that many of those making hiring decisions have themselves earned online degrees, making such a degree a new kind of asset that demonstrates mastery of modern technologies and online communication, collaboration and project management skills. So, we can put this myth to rest.
Myth #5 – Online credits won’t transfer to another program or school
No one wants to spend time and money taking online courses only to learn they were wasted because the credits won’t transfer to another school’s program. The good news is, just as the majority of employers now accept online degrees as valid qualification for a professional role, most universities now allow online credits from accredited institutions to be transferred into their undergraduate or graduate degree programs. That being said, don’t forget that it’s up to you to ensure that your school’s credits will be accepted at another university if you decide to transfer.
Myth #6 – You can’t interact personally with instructors and classmates
While your learning and communications will be virtual, that does not mean that you can’t have meaningful interactions with both your professors and classmates. There are a variety of ways to connect with online classmates. Not only can you get to know your peers as fellow students, but you have an opportunity to connect with them on a professional level. You can take it beyond the discussion boards to outside study groups, social media posts, or even video conferencing. You can exchange work challenges and solutions, as well as networking opportunities. Online instructors can be reached for assistance via email and during office hours by phone. And if you live nearby, make an effort to meet with them or your classmates in person.
Myth #7 – Anyone can succeed in an online course
There are some skills that are crucial for succeeding as an online learner. Time management and organization are two of them. Only you can assess whether you have the self-discipline, motivation, and study habits necessary to get all of your reading done, your assignments turned in on time, your discussion posts written engagingly, and your research papers completed with technical precision and excellence. If you are working full time, you will also need to determine if can manage your work and life responsibilities and master the online learning strategies required to earn an online degree.
Nothing should stand in the way of reaching your career advancement goals, including these myths of an online education. There are a wide variety of benefits of an online education. Not only is it more accessible and more respected than ever, it is also convenient and flexible. It very well may be the right choice for you! If you are interested in our accredited online degree programs, contact us today for more information.