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The Changing Dynamic of Online Education


The Future Of School Is More Online Every Day. Here's A Few Reasons Why.

Guest writer Sarah Less Casey submitted this guest post that reminds us of the pivotal role online education is poised to play.

American institutions of higher education of all types – from small private colleges and large public community colleges to major universities like MIT and Yale – are now offering online academic courses or full programs. The same trend is occurring overseas as well.

While tossing a Frisbee in the quad or waking up in a strange dorm room, unsure of how you got there or why you are wearing a moose head, may never go completely out of style, there is definitely a changing dynamic regarding the way society feels about learning that takes place outside of brick and mortar institutions.

Online Schools Are Gaining Credibility

It may feel as if the Internet has been a part of our lives forever, but the fact is that it’s a still very young phenomenon. When continuing education opportunities via the World Wide Web began popping up in the mid 90s, these programs were looked at in much the same manner that online dating was seen at the time: A last resort for those who couldn’t find what they need in the “real world”.

Over the past decade, people have become increasingly comfortable with the role of technology in education, appreciating how it helps to make online education convenient, offering educational opportunities for those whose life situations may not have otherwise allowed them to continue their learning. Much like its online dating counterpart, online schools began churning out success stories, and by association with these successes, started gaining respect. Through these successes, online classes for college have become commonplace.

Now, a majority of colleges and universities offer online schooling of some sort. From subjects you would expect to see in this environment, like online computer programming courses, to subjects that you might think couldn't really work, like those requiring labs that can now be done virtually – the types of courses available on onlinejust keep expanding. Classes resulting in certifications, all the way up to advanced degrees can be completed from one’s Internet connected computer. The proliferation of high profile educational institutions offering accreditation online has legitimized the entire online learning community.

The Convenience of Online Schooling Cannot be Beat

The convenience of attending classes online is enough on its own to move the education industry strongly towards an online heavy bias. The ability to complete a degree from the comfort of one’s own home, while juggling kids, work schedules, etc. is a life-changer for a lot of people.

Aside from the personal issues that make attending classes online attractive, there are the factors such as the lack of worrying about weather conditions, particularly for students in areas prone to tough winters. A single snowstorm can back up classes for several days, completely screwing up the schedules of both students and instructors. Generally, a student doesn’t have to worry about getting stuck in a snow bank walking from his or her kitchen to the computer room.

The Overhead for Online Schooling is Much Lower

From the perspective of the learning institution, the financial benefits to having a large portion of students completing their studies online are very lucrative. A curriculum that can be made available in a digital format, with a limited amount of necessary direct interaction with staff, makes for a much more reasonably priced education for the school.

Finding the perfect balance of students attending classes in person vs. those who are learning through the Internet is something colleges and universities will be trying to perfect for the coming years. However, simple economics strongly suggest that this mix will favor a much increased number of online students, which, in turn, should result in incentives to spur this growth. In short, it is quite possible that attending classes online could become even more financially appealing for the prospective student in the coming years.

The Degrees Offered Online are Expansive and Will Become Even More Broad

It is possible to achieve a number of degrees through online study. It is even possible to receive education and training for an online MBA, through sites such as onlineMBA.com. This ability to achieve higher degrees through online study will continue to attract more and more students to the Internet as their means of achieving a degree.

For those who have been unable to complete high school, one can now get a high school diploma through online study. This opportunity leads nicely into the idea of continuing one’s education through studies via the Internet.

All the indicators are there: Online schooling is definitely set for a meteoric rise.

Break out the Frisbees in the living room.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
The Evolving Role of Mobile Computing in Education
Emerging Education Technologies: Approaches To Staying Informed
Immersive Technologies and the Future of Education


  1. Your arguments are spot on regarding the rise of online education. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Remember, back in the day, when online dating had a bad reputation? Well, look at it today. Now, sites like EHarmony are some of the most visited websites online. One can only surmise that this is what will happen with online education – from k-12 all the way through doctorates!

    Time to get a new computer.


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