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College & Career Training in Alaska

Over the past few years, I have seen more and more advertising about online classes and education.  It shouldn’t be surprising as more and more students find online education more appealing.  There is more to it than staying in our pajamas all day or any other stereotype people can think of.  Let’s look at some quick pros and cons to online education:

The Pros:

Flexibility- A majority of online programs will allow you to do it on your own time.  If you are working full time or running a household, you get to choose when you study and be at your own pace.  You may be able to work on your coursework for just a couple of minutes or spend an entire day on it – it’s completely up to you.  I know a few people as well as myself who took an online course rather than the every Friday at 8am option.

Class Variety- Online education has endless amounts of classes to choose from.  You are not limited by what the local college or university provides.  Want to take a class that is specific to a geographic region? Not a problem.  Want to take a foreign language?  Not a problem.  You literally have hundreds, if not thousands of classes that you get to choose from.  Here is just one of many lists of free courses you can take.

Access- Thankfully with online classes, you can access it from any location with internet.  If you travel for work, you get to take your classes with you.  If you live in a community with no college or university, you can still take classes without having to move.  Military service people and their families may have to move every couple of years, so online classes might be a better option.

The Cons:

Lacking Discipline- If you suffer from a lack of motivation or discipline, it may be a challenge to take an online course and completing it to the best of your abilities.  Taking a course that is physically on campus may provide the structure you need to continue your education.  You may also benefit from the reminders of upcoming exams or papers that your professor or classmates give you.

Technology- Online courses are online; you need a computer, internet, and maybe different software to complete it.  If you need to either buy or upgrade your technology, it may be expensive.  High-speed internet may be required for your class, and it may be too expensive or not an option where you live.  If you are not tech-savvy, you may find it frustrating when the technology doesn’t work.

Transferring Credits- Every college or university is accredited through a governing body that certifies their programs and degrees.  However, not all schools are accredited by the same ones, and if you try to transfer credits between two different schools with different accrediting bodies, your classes may not transfer.  If you have a goal to go to a specific school later in life and just want to take a few classes before then, contact your desired school about transferring credits before you pay for a class whose credits might not transfer.  A useful website that a few schools use is Transferology, but if your school doesn’t use it, you can search on their website with key terms like “transfer credit equivalency” or “transfer credit evaluation.”

In closing, I would say that there were a lot of perks and downers to my online courses while completing my undergraduate studies while physically living on campus.  It’s not right for everyone, so I would recommend starting off slow with one course to see if it’s right for you.  Then you will know whether to continue online or go back to the physical classroom.   

If you have any questions about online classes, please come by the ACPE Success Center located at the Dimond Center Mall.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 1 (800) 441-2962, option #4.

About the Author

Tyler Eggen

Tyler Eggen

Tyler is Alaskan born and educated, with over a decade of experience in higher education & student affairs.  When he is not serving the next generation of postsecondary education students, he enjoys spending time outdoors while hunting and fishing.

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