Online schools offer many advantages over traditional “brick-and-mortar” educational institutions (“brick-and-mortarboard”?). While the first attempts at online education were somewhat dubiously regarded, there have been remarkable advances by both existing schools who have adopted online technology as well as laudable educational organizations designed with the Internet in mind from the ground-up (so to speak).
The concept of “distance learning” did not originate with the Internet, but the heightened availability of online educational resources and communication options created an ideal environment.
Convenience is a major factor — one can take classes nearly any time, from any place. Computers constantly become smaller, more powerful, more portable, and lower-priced; more and better wireless connections mean that you can get an Internet connection from nearly anywhere. All of the major and minor requirements and necessities that go along with taking classes (from standing in lines at registration to finding a parking space outside the lecture building) may now be regarded as optional. You may now take a class at 3am in your pajamas, or while enjoying a lovely day at the park — or, for a more pragmatic illustration, in the precious shrinking period between putting the kids to bed and getting up for your morning commute.
Cost is another pragmatic consideration. Education is expensive, even leaving out all of the related expenses such as transportation, clothing, and housing. Tuition and materials alone can be drastically reduced with an online education, and financial aid is now becoming more and more available to students of online schools. As a rough estimate, a bachelors’ degree from a respected online school will generally cost you one fourth of the money that you’d pay for a comparable brick-and-mortar school.
Of course, there is a wide spectrum of quality between online schools. Undoubtedly, the majority of online schools are more or less equal to the majority of brick-and-mortar institutions — which is to say, more concerned with profit and appearances than providing a quality education. And a fair number of online schools are markedly inferior to even the run-of-the-mill examples of “real world” educational institutions. However, most online schools can offer more flexible options for your education, and some can even boast of standards that the majority of “brick-and-mortar” schools struggle to achieve.
Given all of the advantages we find between a brick and mortar location and an online version of the same thing cost may be the most important. As you may realize one of the biggest issues with furthering education is financial. There are a lot of people who simply can not afford to get an education beyond high school. With an online school you are able to significantly lower the rates you pay to attend the same quality establishment.