Advances in technology and the availability of the internet in many locations has given students more flexibility in how they can take college courses. There's a huge difference between an online education program from a remote college and blended learning through online classes from a local community college. Some high schools are even finding that there are huge advantages for students who participate in blended learning. Here are some things to consider when evaluating your options.
Resource: The 50 Best Online Community Colleges
With blended learning, you'll be able to attend classroom sessions to take advantage of the personal interaction with your teacher. In a virtual class, you'll never be required to enter a classroom. This means that you're able to check on your assignments, communicate with teachers and interact with other students any time of the day or night. When you're a working professional continuing your education, this kind of flexibility is extremely valuable.
How Much Discipline is Needed?
When you have a blended education at a community college, you have the teacher reminding you of the fact that projects and assignments are due within a certain time frame. Online classes require that you to be extremely disciplined. You don't have the teacher reminding you every week about upcoming assignment due dates. You do have the ability to see your assignments virtually, but you're missing out on the reminders and organization of attending weekly classes on a campus.
What if You Need More Social Interaction?
In a purely virtual class, you have access to forums and message boards where you can interact with the teacher and the other students. It's not the same as attending classes in person, getting to know your teacher and interacting with other students in the class. Some students enjoy meeting fellow students and believe it helps the learning process. They're able to ask questions in person, which can facilitate their learning.
Convenience and the Working Student
Students who have a family and a full-time job find it difficult to attend college in person. Classes during the day are impossible for a student who works a 9 to 5 job. If they attend classes at night, they could spend up to 4 hours in the classroom, which is incredibly exhausting. It can be impossible with family obligations too.
How Do You Learn?
The choice between blended education at a community college and purely virtual learning will depend on how you learn. If you need face-to-face interaction with your instructor, a blended classroom will be a good choice. You can do most of your work on the internet while having the teacher there for questions and concerns.
If you're able to keep yourself organized and learn without the help of a physical connection with your instructors and other students, purely virtual courses make sense.
Before choosing online or blended classes, you'll need to assess your learning methods to find what will work for you. Consider whether you have time to attend classes on campus too. If you are holding down a full-time job and have family obligations, it's unlikely that you'll have the time or energy to head to a campus.