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Onsiderations in Choosing Between an Online and Traditional Education

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lesliedelarosa95
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Considerations in Choosing Between an Online and Traditional Education

Leslie De La Rosa
COM/155 University Composition and Communication 1
Frances Lord
September 1, 2012

Considerations in Choosing Between an Online and Traditional Education

In today’s technological age, there are many choices for Americans of all ages to attend college. A student may choose to attend a traditional college or to continue their education through one of the many online programs available. Both online and traditional educations offer a quality education to students, but differ in financial needs, scheduling flexibility, learning styles and career choice. Any person looking to further their education needs to do extensive research to determine which course is right for them. The first consideration to be taken into account is financial needs. Most colleges offer their students help in finding financial aid. This includes loans and grants to cover tuition costs. Loans have to be repaid after graduation, whereas grants do not have to be repaid. Most colleges will also provide information on scholarships for students. The yearly cost to attend a traditional university is $7084.00 for tuition, $9020.00 for room and board, and $992.00 for books. This is a total of $17,096.00 per year and does not include extra fees such as lab fees (Texas A & M Corpus Christi). This price also varies by university. The highest ranked private universities can cost up to $250,000 for a four year program. The yearly cost to attend an online university is $14,040.00 for tuition and $760.00 for materials. This is a total of $14,800 per year (University of Phoenix). This price can also vary based on the program a student chooses. When attending an online university students do not have costs for commuting, and a person will not lose income from employment. Another thing to consider is time. A potential student must consider how much time he or she has to devote to their education. At a traditional college students attend classes on campus on a set schedule. He or she has to figure in time to attend class, study, do assignments, and possibly commute to and from campus. In some situations the commute can double the time a person spends on his or her schooling. A traditional college is broken into semesters like high school. A full time student will take multiple classes in blocks of around four and a half months. A traditional student takes time off for Christmas Break and Spring Break. A three month summer break is optional. Many people who work full time jobs and have a family choose an online university because it offers scheduling flexibility. If you need to do your class work at 6:00 AM one day and 11:00 PM the next, he or she can do that. A student can do their class work around employment or family obligations as needed. There is no commute to a campus. Students will still need time to study and complete assignments, as well as reading for the class and participation. The online format offers fewer classes in a shorter term. Two classes every nine weeks is the general format. When choosing between a traditional education and an online program, a student needs to look at how he or she learns. Do you learn best by reading, listening, or doing? Auditory learning is where a person can listen to a lecture, then comprehend and remember the key points of the lecture. Kinesthetic learning is hands-on. Students learn by doing a task, such as rebuilding an engine. Visual learning is learning by reading. Kinesthetic learners are more suited for a more traditional college. Visual learners are ideal for an online education. Auditory learners are suited for either program, but may have to make adjustments. An auditory learner enrolled in an online program may need to make use of the Read Aloud feature included in the Adobe PDF Reader program to read their text book assignments aloud for better understanding. A person’s choice of career is also a factor in the decision to attend a campus or an online college. You will be better served attending a traditional school if you are choosing a trade skill such as mechanics or electrician. Careers in business, accounting or other “paper based” jobs are ideally suited to an online program. Some careers may require you to attend both an online university and a campus. One such career would be nursing. A student studying nursing can learn the book part online, but at some point he or she will have to get some hands on experience. Social interactions also differ between the two types of education. On a campus, students attend a class, with instructors and classmates. This fosters more collaboration on projects. Many times students are not required to actively participate in class room discussions. In the online setting students are required to participate in the discussions, even though he or she does not see classmates face to face. Students can learn from your fellow class mates as well as the instructor and materials. Generally the students that perform best doing online classes are those who are able to work and learn independently. Instructors are there to help students in both types of education. In a traditional setting the instructor lectures on the topic, assigns reading and may facilitate a discussion during the class. However to speak to a professor outside of the class you usually have to make an appointment. An instructor in an online educational format also assigns the reading materials, but they always facilitate a discussion and generally participate to move the discussions along. If you have questions, you can ask anytime via e-mail or message board. The instructor will respond as soon as possible. Another consideration for a potential student is the extent of computer literacy possessed by the person. While you do not need extensive computer experience to participate in an online program, you will need at least basic computer and Internet skills. Many online programs offer tutorials on how to use the programs they require, such as Microsoft Word. Many traditional colleges require a student to take basic computer classes if the student did not take the course in high school. Choosing to continue your education is a big decision. There are many factors to be considered in choosing between a traditional education and an online education. Both programs offer students a quality education. Take into account your financial needs, scheduling needs, learning style, and career choice. Each individual had to decide for themselves which program meets their personal needs.


J. Carron

United States Department of Education Steve Lohr-NY Times

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