10 Online Education Myths – Busted!

Posted September 23, 2013, by CareerFAQs

More people are choosing online education as a mode of study for its convenience and flexibility. Having said this, there are still a bunch of myths floating around about studying online. Here are the top 10 myths – busted!

1. You need to be tech-savvy

You would have to be using some seriously out-dated technology not to reap the benefits of online education. A computer that works and a decent Internet connection is really all you need to get started.

Given that the majority, if not all, on-campus courses incorporate some form of technology, or have online hubs and electronic submission for assignments, you actually don’t need any more technology than your on-campus counterparts. These days, pretty much all students are online. 

2. The teaching is second-rate

You’d be surprised how many teachers who facilitate online courses are also running on-campus courses. In some cases, it’s the same lecturer who is just running the course in both internal and external mode.

As for the courses that are 100% online, you won’t be missing out here either. As long as you choose an accredited course, you can rest assured that your teachers will be top rate.

3. It’s easier to get accepted into an online course

Yes, while there’s no student capacity for online courses, the prerequisites are often the same and online courses shouldn’t be seen as an ‘easier’ pathway. It’s an unfortunate myth that online courses are only for those who weren’t able to get into university. And this is absolutely not true.

The most important consideration is always going to be choosing the course that suits you best and the method of study that fits your life.

If you are working full-time or live too far away from a higher education provider and cannot relocate, online education is the ideal study option.

4. You don’t have the same access to resources 

The truth is that these days, with so much course content being placed online, even on-campus students are choosing not to attend class. I know students who only attend classes where they mark attendance so they can fit in work and other studies.

You can access a range of industry journals and reference material online, not to mention the information provided by your course coordinator. If you are studying a uni course online, you can even order textbooks from the Co-op Bookshop website and have them delivered to your door – and still get your student discount!

5. There’s no social interaction

Online education is not an isolating form of study. Many courses have forums where students can discuss topics and help each other out. Some students who live in the same area might even choose to meet up in person for a study session. Studying online also gives you the flexibility to start working in your chosen industry while you study, so you are already interacting with people in your field.

Just like face-to-face learning though, it’s up to you to reach out and make an effort to get involved with your virtual peers.

6. Online courses aren’t accredited 

You’ve been considering taking virtual classes but keep thinking..

“Are online courses actually credible?”

The idea that all online courses are less legitimate or have second-rate teaching compared to an on-campus course is a myth. 

Of course, you need to do your homework before enrolling in a course and make sure it’s offering the right credentials. While it’s pretty safe to assume that an online course offered by Australian universities are accredited, you should still double-check.

Many private educators have taken steps to gain accreditation for their courses too, however, if you’re considering taking an online course from a lesser-known online school or college, definitely don’t skip your due diligence. 

7. They’re easier than a traditional course

Wrong. Don’t expect to do less work in an online class. 

While there are some fast online courses that can be completed quite quickly to bridge a single skill gap, most online courses still demand as much time and attention as classroom lessons.

They require just as much reading, homework and writing as a traditional course – and sometimes more, to compensate for the lack of face-to-face contact. 

If you underestimate the workload of an online course, you’ll risk falling behind. Generally, you’ll need to be more self-motivated and hone your time management skills if you want to excel in your online course  

8. You’ll only need to login to your course once a week

Thinking you can cram in work and only log on once a week or fortnight is a big mistake. It’s a myth that online courses are more ‘cram-able’ than face to face classes. It’s no secret most people learn best by taking in smaller chunks of material and having time to reflect on the information before learning more. 

Pacing yourself in an online course is just as important as a traditional university course. Also, the best online courses and instructors will require regular participation of students in online discussions to ensure no-one falls behind. Joining in regularly means you’ll gain a sense of connectivity with the other students that can make online learning more enjoyable.

9. It’s easier to cheat on assessments for an online course

Cheating in a virtual assessment was once much easier than it is today – if fact an underground industry of professional cheating services, known as contract cheating, boomed thanks to the number of students getting ‘help’ in their exams. In recent years though, online courses in Australia have really stepped up the security and identification methods to crack down on cheating.

Under a university’s misconduct policies – which encompasses online courses – ‘contract cheating’ has hefty consequences for university students which could include expulsion, revoking course credits, or a permanent record of cheating.

10. You can submit assessments at anytime

While you can definitely work from anywhere at any time (3 am study session, anyone?) an online course still follows a schedule with due dates for assessments and often weekly deadlines. To successfully complete your course and receive your accreditation, you need to submit work according to the deadlines, just as you would in a traditional course. 

With technology ever-increasing, so do the online offerings from Australia’s course providers. There’s an option for every industry including online courses for careers that pay well. Why not take advantage and choose a mode of study that fits in with your life, instead of changing your life to fit in with your study?

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