The Benefits of Online Education – and the Dark Side

If you have spent much time researching the benefits of online education I'll be that you have been reading glowing review after glowing review, giving you the impression that online learning is nothing but moonlight and roses. Well, as an online instructor and past teacher, obviously I think online learning is pretty cool. But the fact is that there are drawbacks and online learning is not for everyone.

The Benefits of Online Education

You have read all of this before, the warm fuzzies of how online learning is convenient; it is. Online learning is well respected; it is certainly getting there. Online learning is rigorous; this means that you will learn a lot, if you apply yourself. However, there is also a dark side to online learning that most online sites seem to ignore, and certainly online school's do not want you to know about.

Online Learning - You Reap What You Sow

There is an age old saying that you reap what you sow, meaning that you cannot harvest your veggies if you did not cultivate the land, plant the seeds and care for them. Nowhere is this ancient truth more accurate than in the very modern world of online learning. So, when you wonder what online degrees are taken seriously, remember that it is more about how seriously you take online degrees.

Most online courses are designed to be done similarly to a traditional course in that you do text book readings, answer discussion questions (by posting online) and turn in assignments. However, many online programs grade you based upon your participation, not your actual work. So, if you log in to class the required number of times each week, or post your discussions no matter how pitiful the content, you will get credit. You could really learn nothing if you just do the time and the bare minimum. But, think about it, high school was probably the same way.

If you truly want to experience the benefits of online education, you need to put in the energy to really do the work. If you complete your readings carefully, and post your required discussions and assignments, you will learn and get good grades.

Online Learning Lends Itself to Cheating

Sadly, students have been cheating for centuries. In physical classes kids write answers on their hand, put them in their cell phone, even program them into their graphing calculators. When I was in grade school one kid has all the test information written on the bottom of his shoe in nearly microscopic print; I'll bet he learned a lot writing that all down. With online learning, it is just as easy to cheat. People buy term papers off the Net, plagiarize from websites and perhaps even pay others to do their work. The opportunities are as endless as the benefits of online education. But, they always have been.

Online Learning Can Be Daunting

Online learning can also be very challenging. If you want to do it right, online learning takes time, commitment, and a desire to work hard. But if you really put for the effort you can emerge with both a degree and a vast store of new knowledge; certainly, the benefits of online education are many.

Have you taken an online course and seen the dark side?

Share your experience.