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Op-ed

Online Education: Reshaping The Way We Think About Schooling

Education plays an important role in everyone’s life, influencing things such as access to certain careers, job opportunities, and economic mobility. As education becomes a greater priority for the United States, new forms of it have emerged. Charter schools and vocational schools are two examples of this, but they are similar to traditional public schools in that people have to be physically present to learn. However, one type of education that has been on the rise completely changes this convention: online school. Online schools not only reap benefits traditional schools aren’t, but are also reshaping the way we think about education.

An online education allows for a very flexible schedule. Time isn’t wasted traveling to a classroom, allowing students to pursue opportunities during non-traditional hours, giving them an advantage over students who have to stick to a traditional schedule. This flexible schedule also allows students to learn at their own pace. This not only removes the pressure of “keeping up” with the class but also helps students develop strong self-discipline and time management skills that can be used outside of school. Having a flexible schedule also ensures that a student has a stronger school/life balance, and can adjust in the case that a tragic event occurs in his or her life.

Students who participate in online education also have access to more subjects. In a traditional school, the number of subjects available depends on the number of teachers and funding. However, with online schooling, students are able to study subjects that they are truly passionate about (depending on the website). This paired with a self-paced environment enables students to flourish in academics, especially because students have access to their course material 24/7. Having the ability to pursue subjects that one is passionate about not only enhances the learning experience, but provides students with a positive view of education as a whole, a view which they will carry into other avenues of life.

2019 Online Education Trends Report

Additionally, online education generally costs less than traditional schooling. Even if online education has similar tuition prices to traditional schooling, other expenditures revolving around education usually cost less. For instance, “there are no commuting costs, and sometimes required course materials, such as textbooks, are available online at no cost.” Student loan debt is a huge problem in the American education system, with “the average U.S. household with student debt [owing] $47,671.” Online education is much more cost-efficient in comparison to traditional education and doesn’t chain students to an insurmountable amount of student debt for the rest of their lives. In a sense, pursuing an online education has a greater potential to give students more financial freedom, allowing them to follow their ambitions without being controlled by their finances.

Online school has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional schooling and it is important not to discredit people who possess online degrees or are enrolled in online school simply because it doesn’t follow the “traditional” standards of education. Regardless of the type of education a person undertakes, what ultimately matters is that students apply their knowledge to help society evolve and progress all while pursuing what they truly enjoy.

Photo: Christina Morillo/Pexels

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