For thousands of years—over 90 percent of human history—the only way that it was possible to learn through a professional teacher was to be there in person whenever he was scheduled to teach. Only a small portion of the people in any community could attend classes in this way and of course, they had to be able to pay tuition.
Now things have changed. The introduction of the World Wide Web has made it possible for people to take classes from people they have not actually seen—watching the lectures take place through online videos and taking the test there too. Let us look more deeply into some of its advantages.
The advantages of taking classes online
Taking classes over the Internet is superior to taking them on campus in many ways. The most obvious is that having transportation, with the expenses that it incurs, is no longer a problem—you can watch the video lectures from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to the advent of tablets and smartphones, you can also watch them from wherever you are! Likewise you do not have to worry about having to pay the cost of room and board—another big savings.
Video courses have another benefit that real-time course do not have. If you find that you cannot take notes fast enough to keep up with the pace of the lecturer’s speech, you can always pause the video while you finish your writing. You can also back it up in order to get something that you may have missed the first time around. In this way you can get more of what you have heard and make the most of your online experience. Besides, you can always pause the lecture if you need to take a break. In short you are free to set your own hours and proceed at your own pace—something you cannot do on campus.
In many, if not the majority, of cases you can take courses from a university online without having to pay a cent! You can thus save a great deal of money in three areas—tuition, transportation and room & board.
Of course many people prefer to attend classes in person. They feel that they need to be there in order to form a personal relationship with the professors and ask any questions that they might have. Above all, they find that computers and the Internet are really no substitute for flesh-and-blood human beings. You should decide which format you are most comfortable with.
The steps to take
If you are interested in taking courses online from a university, you will first need to decide which institution you want to attend. You then want to find out if that institution offers any part of its curriculum online and if so, does that include classes that you are interested in taking?
One website where you can go to find out about an online study plan is collegeatlas.org—“a World of Higher Learning,” as they advertise themselves. Once there, click on “Online Colleges” on the far right of the bar at the top of the page. Here you can do a search for the desired institute by specifying the ZIP code, the subject you want to study (you can choose from one of two lists, generic and specific) and the degree you are aiming to get. A list of such schools will then come up and you can request that they send information about their online courses to your address.
This website also publishes a list of their editor’s picks for the top ten online colleges of the year—for 2011 their number one is Nova Southeastern University, with campuses in several cities in Florida.
It is important to check to make sure just what the requirements are. For example, I took distance learning courses at Spertus Institute of Judaica through videos sent by them, but I also had to go up to the campus and take classes at least once a year.
A series of online classes could be the gateway to an exciting and rewarding career which you could not have otherwise achieved!