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There was a time when the public perception of an online education was on a par with those offered on matchbook covers. Whether that reputation was deserved in years past is a subject open to debate. What is not open, however, is that this perception is changing dramatically, and for the better. In fact, a recent Pew Poll conducted among college presidents showed that a majority of those felt that an online education offered the same value to students as those of traditional educational settings.

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Human Resources Degree Guide
Interested in HR but not sure what it entails and if its right for you? Read our HR degree guide that provides details on what you can do to prepare for a career in human resources.

Online Education, Equal or Better

There are many reasons for the shift in this trend, according to an exhaustive study recently conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. Interestingly, the study points out that an online education is not only comparable to traditional educational options, in many cases it is superior. The study showed further that the methods of an online education often allow students to absorb the information being taught at a relative pace. As a result, the study showed that online methods of instruction allowed students to perform modestly better than those who learned in a face-to-face instructional setting.

Reasons for Improvement Trends

There is also considerable debate as to whether these improvements are driving the trend towards online education or if the growing demand is driving online course quality. Students today are, after all, busier than those of the past. They don't always have time to attend regularly scheduled classtime. As a result, online education benefits from these types of students, whether they be working students, single parents, professionals, or others.

The result of this is a growing market for educational institutions to create online learning opportunities, whether they were currently in the educational system currently or not. Face it. Education is big business, and catering to the needs of their consumer is smart business, whether they ever intended to move into online education or any other.

The Role In Technology

Role of Technology in Online Colleges

The advancement of technology has also played an important role in the growth of online education, its capabilities, as well as the perception it continues to make among members of the public. Whereas in previous years an online course offering might have been limited to only a camera focused on a professor speaking, today's courses are full of excellent graphics that can make the course much more interesting than it would have been otherwise.

Online Education: A Viable Option

online education

It is also important to know that an online education is perceived more often as a viable option to traditional education without the need to sacrifice the information giving or the the quality of the presentation. This is in contrast to what might have been learned in a correspondence course or something similar. A professor speaking along with references to a textbook is going to be the same online as it would be in a classroom with little sacrifice. With a correspondence course, on the other hand, the personal input of a professor is almost completely sacrificed.


Online Even in the Classroom

online classes

Interestingly, instead of online education options taking away from in class time, the benefits of the Internet are actually improving class time in the same ways it can when being used alone. During a classroom session, for example, an instructor can add to his or her lecture by including input from an off-site participant or expert that would not have been possible without that virtual connection. The net effect being that whether a student was learning in a classroom or learning online, the same input from both the instructor and the off-site expert would be the same.

Suffice it to say that the world is changing, and in many cases it changes for the better. Technology has advanced at an astonishingly fast pace, and some sectors, education included, have enjoyed the benefits.

Featured Online Schools

Ohio Christian University
Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University. Take classes online or on campus. Pursue your degree to help you start the career you want. Learn more now.

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Associate of Arts in Business - Agribusiness
  • Associate of Arts in Business - Business Management
  • And more...

Villanova University

Villanova University, a co-educational Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842 in Villanova, Pennsylvania. A premier institution of higher education, Villanova provides a comprehensive education rooted in the liberal arts; a shared commitment to the Augustinian ideals of truth, unity and love; and a community dedicated to service to others.

Programs Offered:
  • Online Master of Business Administration

Norwich University - Online
Earn your Master's degree online from a prestigious and innovative university. Norwich University offers programs in Justice Administration, Civil Engineering, Military History, Business Administration, Diplomacy, and more.

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Business Administration Online


Online programs are becoming an ever hotter ticket when it comes to getting a degree these days. But why is this exactly?

Is it because online degrees are easy to get? Is it because they are convenient to particular demographics or portions of society that might not have had the ability to get a degree but for the prevalence of online educations? Is it because online options are cheaper than a campus-based education? Or could it be that it is a combination of all the above?

If you are considering getting your online degree, here are ten reasons why it might be the choice for your continuing education.

Other than convenience, cost is probably the other most common factor that might lead someone to get a degree online. With an online degree, not only might you be able to reduce tuition costs considerably compared to many campus-based institutions, but you may also be able to avoid or reduce costs like room and board, transportation, and book costs.

Many online degree programs may offer more flexible scheduling than campus-based educations. This can often be an attractive characteristic of such programs, especially for those with families or careers. Being able to take a full semester's course load or just pick up a class when it fits your schedule means online degrees are often an attractive option for those who just don't think they have the time to get a degree.

Tying in closely with the scheduling benefits of an online degree is the option for many who are currently working or considering working while getting their education to do so more conveniently than those would pursue similar coursework at a college campus. Being able to work while still going to school online may better enable students to avoid the debt that often accompanies many campus-based degree programs.

For those who feel stuck in their current career position but are afraid to go back to school full time because they might lose their job or their place in line on the advancement ladder, an online education could allow them to advance their education while still maintaining their current career level.

While it might not appear as one of the deciding factors when considering an online degree versus one obtained at a college campus, transportation can certainly play a part. Having to spend time driving to campus, finding and paying for parking, purchasing a bus pass, waiting out in the freezing cold or sweltering heat for the bus, and having to deal with similar transportation issues and costs could possibly be avoided by being able to pursue an online degree from the comfort of your own home.

The thought of having to be away from family for extended periods of time while attending classes at a college or university campus can be a detractor to some considering going to school or going back to school. With an online program, someone may be able to pursue an education while still making time to spend with friends and family.

Being able to select from a variety of online institutions may open a variety of doors when it comes to which program suites you best. With campus-based educations, you may be forced to choose from campuses located in your nearby geographic location or be forced to move to attend get your education, while online programs may negate this necessity.

Similar to the program you select, the particular degree options to available to you through an online degree program might be exceptionally diverse. You may be able to get a degree in something that only a few, far-off campus-based programs offer without having to move to another state, region or even country.

You might feel pressure with a campus-based program to progress your education at a certain rate; a rate with which you might not be comfortable. With an online program however; you may feel more comfortable completing your degree at a rate that better fits your lifestyle and abilities.

While online programs may still have a bit of a connotation as not being quite as good as campus-based programs, they are making advancements toward being more commonly accepted. The acceptance of any program, campus-based or online will still likely depend upon the quality of that program and whether it is accredited or not.