Wednesday, 15 July 2015

5 Myths of Online Education

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5 Myths of Online Education
Ivana Zuber
General Manager at Counterparty

Online education is a relatively young concept, and as such it is often the subject of skepticism and doubt. Many people believe that online education is an easy way to quickly get a degree in a particular field, although the degree will not be as valuable as one achieved on campus. Despite numerous quality online programs available today, many people still consider it to be an inferior form of education, one that lacks in communication, can be easily cheated, and is not valued by employers.
Dear readers, and prospective students, I am here to tell you that these beliefs are far from the truth, and that, based on my experience with the University of Liverpool Online, online education can be as credible, reliable, beneficial, and highly-regarded as a degree attained on campus. In fact, I found that online education can be a superior learning method, as it provides flexible study – ideal for working students – and unites students from all over the world – which brings a wide palette of knowledge and experience into the classroom and into your lives. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to debunk the 5 most commonly mentioned myths of online education.
Myth 1: Online education is easier
This is a common myth, one that even I succumbed to. There are no official lectures you have to go to, no traditional exams you need to take, and no verbal examinations you have to pass. You are free to study in the comfort of your home, at any time you please, and in whatever way you see fit. This all sounds very tempting, and suggests that online studying is easier than traditional on-campus studying. This however, is not true.
Every module you take as a part of your online course is characterized by strict deadlines and tight schedules. For two months (the duration of each UOL module) you are required to comply with the ‘3 out of 7’ rule (that is, actively participate in the classroom 3 out of 7 days), submit all your work on time (and not a day late), and regularly read the classroom thread and group forum posts. This requires excellent time management skills, as besides your professional and personal duties, you have an extensive amount of study to complete weekly.
Myth 2: Online education lacks classroom communication
This is another opinion which the UOL online disproves. The amount of communication that goes on in the classroom is extensive, and can go beyond 200 posts per week. Furthermore, since all communication is written, it is, in my opinion, of much greater quality. You are required to read all your classmates’ posts daily and reply to those you find most interesting. The reply, however, has to show critical thinking, and preferably be supported with peer-reviewed references. This results in high quality discussions and the expansion of knowledge, as each article you read for your reply brings new insights and opens the door for many debates. This kind of communication is not possible in classrooms, as there is no time to conduct research, support your views with references, and deepen your knowledge on the subject.
Myth 3: Online education is inferior in quality
I believe my arguments against the first two myths reveal that this is not the case. Not only do you gain excellent time management skills and discipline (characteristics necessary for any professional), but also learn to think critically and adopt new skills independently. In addition, online education provides access to world-wide knowledge and experience, as you will be communicating and collaborating with students from all over the world. Each student brings and shares his own experience and knowledge, which is one of the most valuable benefits of online education.
Myth 4: Online education system can be easily cheated
This myth is completely wrong! The level of security that online education implements will become very clear even during the enrolment process. The structure of the program, and the various tools and methods used for authentication and plagiarism checking, make it simply impossible to cheat.
Myth 5: Online degrees are not accepted by employers
The fact is, that online education programs must conform to the same accreditation standards as traditional on-campus programs. This is well known by employers, and is proved by the fact that there is no difference between the UOL online and their on-campus degrees. In addition, the fact that you have experience in working with virtual teams may be a competitive advantage when it comes to new job applications.
In conclusion, I would say that online education has proven to be the best choice for working students, and is no longer considered an inferior form of study. The level of quality and security make online education at least equal to on-campus education, while the level of flexibility and diversity make it superior.

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