Online degree programs have been around for many years, but recently this learning style has become a necessity. Though the creditability of online learning was initially called into question by some, time has shown that these programs have many advantages. With more than 20 years of experience in online teaching and learning at UCF, access to high-quality education has been made possible. Check out these benefits of online learning you may not have thought about:
Online Learning Fits in With Busy Schedules
With face-to-face courses, college students must be on their campus, in class, at a specified time. This can often be a struggle for students who work, volunteer or have other responsibilities. This is where online learning comes in. Online courses usually have no set meeting times. Students are typically made aware of assignment due dates well in advance, allowing them to work on their courses when it suits their availability. Whether it’s completing assignments on one particular day or devoting an hour to them each day, students can set their own schedule for success. If you want to earn a degree but can’t commit to the normal face-to-face class hours, it might be time for an online course.
Online Learning is Cost-Effective
The cost of tuition is sometimes a deterrent for higher education. However, online learning offers a cost-effective solution. Tuition costs for online students are often lower and students do not have to pay for on-campus activities that they do not need to access. For instance, when it comes to housing, instead of living in a dorm with a meal plan they can choose a living situation that is right for them. Depending on where the online student is located, attending sporting events and campus gyms may not be an activity they will participate in. Students also do not have to pay for transportation to commute to their campus for class, since the class comes to them. Students enrolled in a UCF Online program receive a waiver for some campus-based fees.
Online Students Can Adapt to Their Learning Style
In a traditional college classroom, the learning style often focuses on audio learners as students sit, listen to the professor and take notes. In an online class, students can mix things up a bit. Many professors use audio or video lectures, and they also provide written versions of the lectures, which can help visual learners. Kinesthetic learners, who depend on physically performing the task discussed, are free to stop the lecture whenever they want to try out the concepts themselves. With this flexibility, online students can personalize their experience with the course to better prepare them for success.
Online Learning Enhances Technological Literacy
Skype, Zoom and Office are just a few of the technologies used in workplaces daily. With so many new online programs, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Online learning helps students become more comfortable with these various platforms and how to utilize them. UCF uses a learning platform called Canvas that is similar to the project-management systems many companies use. Through it, students can view grades and course content, submit assignments, track course work and much more. The skills gained from familiarizing yourself with platforms are increasingly relevant for the workforce as technology continues to be developed.
Online Learning Improves Time-Management Skills
Online students do not have regular reminders about upcoming assignments and are responsible for keeping track of their own schedules. While it may seem daunting at first, online students build valuable skills with time management, which will benefit them in both their academic and professional careers.
Online Learning Provides Immediate Access to Professors
Receiving help from professors can be vital to success in a course. UCF Online faculty receive more than 80 hours of training to make sure they are equipped for teaching in and addressing the needs of online students. With online learning, professors are only an email away and many often allow video call meetings or phone calls. By not having to wait until a specific class time to speak with the professor, students often can receive help and clarify questions much more quickly and before the assignment is due.
Online Learning Promotes Engagement
It may seem counter to what many expect, but online learning can promote engagement and create more meaningful discussions. In a face-to-face class, a discussion will ebb and flow as students add to it. Unfortunately, for students who may feel uncomfortable with speaking out, their ideas may be lost in the wave of feedback, or the discussion may have moved on from the point the student wanted to make. In an online class, discussions are done in a forum format, making it easier for students to speak up and add to the conversation. This benefits everyone, as shyer students have the opportunity to share their ideas, and other students have the chance to hear more ideas they may not have considered. Students are also encouraged to connect with fellow UCF Online students and share digital learning experiences through our Facebook group and Twitter account.
Online Learning Increases Diversity
Because of the accessibility provided by online learning, students are likely to encounter a much more diverse classroom. Students from all backgrounds and places across the country and globe are able to participate in online programs and share their experiences with others as they embark on their learning journey. Online students can grow their greater appreciation for those around them as they encounter students from all walks of life throughout their college experience. In online programs, the world really is your classroom.
Online Learning Features Variety
In the past, online programs were limited due to their experimental nature. Now, online programs are expansive, with programs ranging from creative writing to nursing. Here at UCF, our online campus offers more than 100 different programs. Take the time to explore our online bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, graduate certificates and doctoral options.
Online education may not be traditional, but it’s important that education is continuously innovated to fit the needs of students, and online learning allows this. With these benefits, online programs are a viable option for any college student looking to advance their skills and learn with diverse peers at a lower cost. As you research colleges, consider adding an online program to your search.