Online Education Verses Brick and Mortar

This seems to be a big topic out there these days but I thought I would give my two cents.  The debate is largely rather or not online education can overthrow the brick and mortar traditional school.  From what I have read it seems like many people believe that online education is the future and soon no one will be going to a regular university.  I think that may be true but not in the near future.

Education may be changing but not that fast.  If you think about it, how long has online education already been out there?  I know it must be at least 10 to 15 years.  If that is the case why hasn’t everyone moved to on-line?  Let’s view the benefits of online education:

  1. You don’t have to go to a physical place therefore you don’t need to get up and get ready or even put on clothes.  Or this means that you can have a regular full time job and study at your own pace.
  2. Should be cheaper.  Generally online education is a bit cheaper due to the fact that less facility maintenance is required.
  3. Study at your own pace.  Most schools require you to keep up with the class.  Generally tests are all taken at the same time for all students.  But the online option often will give you the leisure of taking tests whenever you want.  This can mean finishing faster or slower depending on your desire

I am sure there are plenty more benefits but most will be a variation of the above. 

What is a University Education really for?

I think that the online education is great but I think that this comparison is bogus because they do not serve the same market.  A first time bachelor’s degree is almost never done online.  Why do you think this is?  Well if you look at the potential market then you will mostly see high-school students.  And those students are eager to get out of their house or home town and go out and explore the world and meet new people.  Obviously they don’t want to stay in dad’s basement and go to school online.

Here is what I believe are reasons why people want to physically go to university:

  1. Make friends.  I think that most people really want to go make friends.  It’s true that you can do this online but it’s not as rewarding.  All the parties and the social hang outs are much more effective in person.  This is desired and will always need to be fulfilled.
  2. Join Organizations.  University fraternities and sororities have their bad sides, but their core function to bring people together is really only properly done in person.
  3. Getting away from parents.  College students really need to learn to live on their own and with other peers instead of staying home with mom and dad.
  4. Meet professors and other professionals.  Meeting these teachers in person creates a more realistic relationship and allows for more successful completion of education.
  5. Watch others.  I think that it’s important for students to learn from each other.  Learn fashion learn social skills and learn how to make a good physical impression.  This can only be done if you physically go to school.

So this may not have been a tradition verses type post but I believe the point has been made that there are great reasons to study online and there are also great reasons to go to school.  But I don’t think either one will triumph over the other any time soon.