Even as the number of students taking online courses continues to increase, misconceptions still exist. We decided to set the record straight about five of the most frequent myths of online learning.
1. You won’t be able to interact with fellow students or your professor very much.
It’s a common misconception that it’s too hard to connect with others in online classes. But that’s not true. Many classes include group projects to encourage interaction among students. You won’t be an anonymous face in a crowd since online discussions are usually required, and professors give detailed feedback. In addition, professors strive to find ways to connect with each student personally.
2. Online learning is boring.
Online programs aren’t replicas of lecture-based college classes. The courses are specifically designed to be taught online, using various technologies and learning tools that immerse students in the content. Expect to engage with fellow students as you dive into videos, articles, and hands-on activities that help you to understand the topic and apply what you’re learning.
3. Online classes are easier.
There’s an old stereotype of online learning that implies the courses aren’t as high quality or as rigorous as the traditional classroom setting. Online learning requires a lot from the student. You have to take responsibility for getting the work done, meeting deadlines and reaching out for help when you need it. When you finish your online degree, you’ll discover you’ve also developed organization, time management, communication skills and more along the way.
4. Online students can’t receive financial aid or scholarships.
Nothing could be further from the truth! If you’re enrolled in an online program through an accredited school, you are eligible for financial aid if you qualify. In order to know what kind of federal aid is available to you, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can learn more about that here. In addition, make sure you talk with the university’s financial aid office to find out about any questions you have and to ask about other options that may be available to you.
5. Online programs are self-paced.
One of the best things about online programs is their flexibility, allowing you to fit your classwork around your busy schedule. And as the student, you’re the one who determines how engaged and invested you are in the content, but you can’t take as long as you want to complete the course. Online programs do have firm start and end dates, as well as deadlines, quizzes and exams. But that’s a good thing. Each completed class moves you closer to your goal: your degree!