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Studying Online V On Campus – We break down the pros and cons of each

Posted February 28, 2019, by Jenny

When studying, one of the biggest choices you have to make is whether you want to go to classes each week and study on-campus, take your classes remotely off-campus, or a combination of both.

The great debate of online vs. on campus will be one of those great historic battles, but in our eyes it’s simple, it comes down to whatever suits YOU!

Studying On Campus

Choosing to study on campus means you’ll be going to uni, college or TAFE for the required contact hours specified for the course and learning in a classroom environment. Classes could be made up of lectures, tutorials, laboratory work, group work and other practical activities. Depending on the course you are enrolled in, the number of hours you spend attending classes will vary – it may be a total of 12 hours per week, or it could be 30! Often instructors will mark attendance and this can be counted toward your final grade.

Pros

  • Get social! One of the key benefits or main perks of studying on campus is the social scene that comes along with it. Have the opportunity to meet new and like-minded people from different backgrounds, not to mention the AWESOME social calendar.
  • Bounce ideas around - Sure online chat forums can be great, but there’s something about being able to attend class and have intelligent discussions with your peers in real time.
  • Pick the brains of your teachers - Being able to interact with your peers is important and great, but another real perk is that you get to chat with teachers, ask questions in real time and build a rapport with them.
  • Top-notch facilities - Depending on your campus and its location, chances are you’ll have access to some pretty cool stuff. From state-of-the-art libraries and computers, to cool cafes, breakout areas, nearby bars and more. Learning on campus is more than just about what goes on in the classroom.
  • Extra-curricular activities - The extracurricular activities available on campus are not only great for boosting your social calendar but will give you the opportunity to get more involved through volunteer work which is a great feature on any resume.

Cons

  • You can’t miss a class - Campus-based courses require that you attend a certain number of classes every week, so if you’ve got a busy schedule and miss one too many sessions it could impact your final mark.
  • Location - Consider how long it’ll take you to get to class. Our most precious resource is time and if it’s going to take too long to get to and from then you might want to have a good think about how feasible it is.
  • $$$ - Sure it’s great to have a buzzing social scene and enjoying your fancy facilities, cafes and more, but it’ll cost you. Not only will you have to pay for travel to and from campus (parking permits, petrol, bus/train fares etc), once there, chances are you’ll be dipping into your pocket and enjoying all the perks around you.

Studying Online

The Internet has revolutionised how we now access and distribute information and that includes how we study! Also known as distance learning, online courses offer students the opportunity to remotely and independently, with full access to course materials online.

Online learning can be made up of a range of course delivery modes, including printed study materials, reading lists, audio discs and DVDs, online conferences and online tutorials. You are still required to read all the textbooks, complete the course in the required time and turn in assessments before the deadlines. You will also need regular access to the Internet with a good connection, as online communication is an essential part of off-campus study.

Pros

  • Flexibility - One of the great things about distance study is that it gives you a lot of flexibility and allows you to fit study around your life, rather than your life around study. You can do your study at whatever time suits you and from pretty much anywhere with a good Internet connection. Ideal for people who work full-time, live far from campus, have a family or other commitments.
  • Accessible - You no longer have to be on campus to get the same valuable education. So students with mobility limitations, experiencing an illness or who have a medical condition, and those who live in rural areas or don’t have access to transport can work from wherever they want.
  • Go at your own pace - With online study, you have 24/7 access to study materials and can choose the speed and intensity that is right for you.
  • Student services – You’ll still have access to student support services! Yep, at the click of a button, you can ask a question and even connect with other students.
  • Save money – A con for on-campus study means a pro for online. Studying online means you’ll save on costs for parking, public transport, petrol, general entertainment (think of all you could do in a two-hour break between classes) and, for some people, childcare.

Cons

  • Staying motivated - One of the hardest things about online study is that you need to be self-motivated and have the ability to work independently. You will also need to be highly organised and be able to set yourself a schedule and stick to it.
  • It can feel lonely – Yes, you are able to replicate a classroom discussion in an online forum, however, if you’re one who enjoys face-to-face interaction and bouncing ideas off others then online study can feel a bit isolated and difficult at times.
  • Be patient – If you have a question you can’t simply pop your hand up and get the answer right away. If you’re stuck on something then you’ll need to be patient and wait for a response from your teacher – this is something you’ll need to factor into your study schedule.
  • Tech issues – The one essential tool you need to study online is a good Internet connection, so if yours is known to play up then it can spell trouble for your studies.

Still can’t decide if on campus or online works best for you? Why not enjoy the best of both worlds with blended learning!!

What is blended learning you ask? In a nutshell, blended learning (you may have heard it referred to as “mixed-mode learning” or “hybrid learning”) is the halfway point between conventional on-campus learning and online study.  Students have the opportunity to get on-campus and enjoy traditional classroom teaching, as we asll the chance to log-on online for part of the course and experience the convenience of distance learning. For example, you might attend certain tutorials or workshops on campus, but have all lectures and other course materials delivered online. Alternatively, the majority of your learning might be conducted online, with the occasional work placement or practical face-to-face session mixed in to give you valuable hands-on experience.

This is an awesome option for those looking for flexibility, just be sure to check if blended learning is available for your course.

Other study modes that may be available to you include:

Classroom

Classroom learning is much like blended learning, combining elements of face-to-face teaching with online components. Basically with classroom learning the institution has no set campus location and sessions are usually run out of education centres. Often there are also online learning components so you may be required to head to class just a few times throughout the course.

Workplace

Workplace learning well is learning in your workplace. Yep, a facilitator will come to you and train you and your colleagues, guiding you through course material and helping you get qualified sooner.

Not all institutions or courses have multiple study mode options, so before you begin your search be sure to know which mode best suits your schedule and learning style.

For more great study tips download a FREE copy of our Study for Success eBook.

Jenny

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