Why Online Teaching Degrees Can Work for (Almost) Anyone
by All Star Staff
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Online teaching degrees continue to grow in popularity because they simply make sense. Both students and employers have recognized that the Internet is a powerful way to share information. Online classes can be just as effective in shaping minds and inspiring future leaders as those delivered in brick-and-mortar classrooms.
Still, online education isn’t for everyone. This article offers a quick overview of the advantages that might inspire you to choose online education, as well as the drawbacks you need to understand before deciding which option is for you.
Advantages of Online Degrees
Online degree programs allow you to complete real college courses through a combination of video lectures, written course materials, virtual interaction with professors, discussions in online forums, and assignments that you complete on your own.
Here’s a summary of the unique advantages of online teaching degrees:
- Study from home. With online teaching degrees, you can pursue your dreams from the comfort of your own home—or anywhere with an Internet connection. This is a huge advantage for many busy people, and it’s especially powerful if you live in a rural area. With the power of technology, you don’t have to live near a college or university to get a great education.
- Set your own schedule. Most requirements for online teaching degrees can be completed on your own time. That means you can work full-time while you go to school, which is perfect if you’re trying to switch careers. Online education is also a flexible option for stay-at-home parents or caregivers.
- Finish faster. If you are willing and able to make education one of your top priorities, online teaching degrees can be completed faster than traditional degree programs. Online courses typically last only five or six weeks, and you can take more than one at a time. Therefore, with some exceptions due to prerequisite requirements, you can often complete your degree at your own pace.
- Cut costs. The costs of online teaching degrees vary widely. Some are less expensive than traditional college classes. Others cost the same or more. But as you compare costs, don’t underestimate the money you can save simply by taking your classes remotely. Depending your circumstances, you may save thousands in commuting costs, college room and board, childcare costs, and/or eldercare costs – not to mention the huge potential savings if studying online allows you to complete your degree in less time.
Challenges of Online Degrees
If the advantages listed above are meaningful for you, the challenges of online teaching degrees probably won’t seem very significant, but they are still important to note.
- Need for self-motivation. Since most class requirements must be completed on your own time, you need a measure of self-discipline. You also need to be proactive about reaching out to your professors if you have questions or need extra assistance. Even more than in the traditional college environment, an online education is ultimately your responsibility.
- Student teaching requirements. Real-world experience in a classroom is required for most teaching degrees and certifications. That means you probably won’t be able to complete your entire degree online. You will need to arrange for the student teaching requirement at a school near you. Your online faculty advisor can help you coordinate this placement and monitor your student teaching experience.
- Web-based communities. Online teaching degrees usually don’t provide opportunities to form face-to-face relationships with other students. Instead, interaction between students occurs via online forums, email lists and other technology. This means that you may need to work a little harder to benefit from the kind of in-depth discussion and group work that naturally occurs in a traditional classroom setting.