From authenticity to employability, don't let these myths about online education stop you from studying a degree.
Online education is becoming more commonplace. As students interrogate the tuition costs of traditional university and explore how to mix education with other commitments, the flexibility of online education sees it growing in popularity.
Yet, while the interest in online education is rising, myths and misconceptions about it also grow. In this article, we’ll look at ten common myths and see what we can do to dispel them.
1. The quality of an online degree is lower
While academic standards may vary from university to university, reputable online universities go through rigorous certification processes to ensure they meet the Government’s required academic standards.
Some online courses may actually be of a higher standard. As all course texts and lectures are digital, it gives tutors the ability to instantly change materials as new research or developments happen.
At Arden, we work closely with employers, business leaders and professional bodies to ensure our courses develop workplace-ready graduates.
2. Online courses are not accredited
Reputable online universities often have courses with accreditation.
As well as this, all UK universities that offer degrees must have Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP). This gives higher education providers the right to award bachelor’s degrees with honours and other taught higher education qualifications. Any university you apply to should clearly state whether they hold TDAP.
Many Arden University courses are accredited by professional bodies, which means you can be sure your qualification is meeting industry standards, and will be valued by employers.
3. You don't have any contact with your tutors
Although your degree will be studied online, you can have as much or as little contact with your tutors as you require.
Online degrees may be set up in many different ways – but they are commonly taught through online, pre-recorded lectures that students can watch whenever suits them, pausing and re-watching sections as required, along with online study materials that students can work through at their own pace.
These are then supported with online conversations with tutors and fellow students, as well as one-to-one guidance and feedback on assignments.
4. Cheating is common
As with all types of further education, cheating can occur. There are websites where students can get their coursework written for a price – but these are accessible from both online and ‘bricks and mortar’ institutions.
Online professors use tools such as plagiarism software to spot where students have copied, lifted from texts or had their assignments written for them.
5. Employers don't like online degrees
This depends on the individual. You may meet some employers who have an outdated view of online learning. However, in our experience, employers welcome employees with relevant qualifications and an eagerness to develop, no matter whether that be from studying online or otherwise.
Many employers are becoming aware of the advantages online learning offers. Employees can study while remaining in work; employers therefore retain their in-house talent whilst upskilling them. Many employers will now pay, or at least part-pay, for employees to study online alongside their work.
6. An online degree is the easy option
It’s not easier to gain an online degree. Courses at reputable online institutions are as challenging as those at traditional universities and present their own set of challenges.
Unlike a traditional university setting, online students may be required to plan and manage their own workload. In addition, online students are more likely to have additional commitments, such as work or family, which they need to plan their university work around.
7. You're lonely if you study online
Distance Learning used to be a lonely experience. However, as technology has advanced and as more people are choosing the flexibility of online study, this has changed.
With degree forums, discussion groups, Skype chats, WhatsApp groups and more, you can participate as much or as little as you'd like and may find yourself making friends from around the world!
8. You have to teach yourself
Just because you study remotely, doesn’t mean you have to teach yourself. Online tutors will be there to guide and teach you throughout the duration of your course - the only difference is, there won't be any face-to-face interaction.
Tutors at online universities are responsible for engaging with and teaching their students, just as in any other traditional university setting.
9. You have to be a tech whizz
Technology has changed the way we interact with everything in the world and this includes education. A virtual classroom will use many of the technologies you may already be using at college, work or home.
Arden's online learning platform, ilearn, is user-friendly and easy to navigate - plus there are support teams to answer any questions you may have.
10. You have to find your own resources
Just like with any other course, resources are supplied by your university and tutors. And just like any other university, you may be given a reading list of books to buy to supplement your course.
Online universities provide online material in the shape of digital texts, online journals, videos resources and online lectures, all accessible from the comfort of your own home.
If any of these concerns have been deterring you from taking an online degree, then it might be time to reconsider whether online study could be for you.