In the early 1950s, a computer fitting in your home was but a dream of a madman. However, times have changed, and now most citizens in first world countries comfortably carry small computers in their back pockets. According to MacRumors, around 85.8 million people owned a smartphone in 2017. Sadly, most people see smartphones merely as a mode of entertainment rather than a gateway to learning.
In the 1960s, the University of Illinois created a system that allowed students to access recorded lectures and course materials. And now, over half a century later, online courses exist all over the world to teach, aid, and supplement student learning. In South Carolina,for example, snow days are being replaced with online work. But besides negating the impact of natural phenomena what other benefits may be reaped from online courses?
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A few decades ago, if you didn’t understand something in school, you would have to get a tutor. If your parents could not afford a tutor, you would have to find a way to teach the subject to yourself. The problem was that the only way for lower income students to teach a topic to themselves was by using a public library.
Times have changed, and online courses are here to teach and enforce subjects every student should know or strive to know.
Online courses can be used in a supplementary way to reinforce topics already being taught in schools. Most people are familiar with the phrase “practice makes perfect;” online courses provide additional practice to students while also offering resources to teach students any subjects they may have difficulty understanding. This is due to the fact that online courses are simply more personal than schools. Students can spend additional time working on subjects they personally do not understand and can also spent less time on subjects they do understand. At the same time, students who require additional assistance with certain topics can contact their instructors for additional help. This, in turn, helps students maximize their studying time by reviewing what the student needs to review rather than reviewing the whole lesson, as is usually done at schools. According to Montgomery College, “Because you have a direct pipeline to the instructor via e-mail, you can get your questions answered directly.” With more accessible resources, teachers, and specialized help, online courses are an excellent resource.
However, online courses can be used for much more than for supplementary use. Many students study at accredited online schools. These students can earn their high school diploma just like students at a physical school, but they can receive personalized help while also learning basic life skills like responsibility and self-accountability. These online schools are very helpful to students who suffer from medical conditions, physical limitations, or diseases that may prevent them from reaching their full potential at a physical school. Schools like Florida Virtual School and Broward Virtual school are fully accredited by AdvancED and can replace physical schooling.
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Online schooling is just as challenging and engaging as traditional schools. At the same time, online schools require students who are more self-reliant, dedicated, and disciplined. Students have to make use of their time management skills in order to succeed in an online course. Students who do not have these skills will be forced to learn them during their time at online school. While timing is more flexible, this does not mean that online students do not work the same amount of time as regular students. The Huffington Post notes, “Many make the mistake of assuming that an online class will be easier than one taken in a traditional classroom. Often, online instructors assign more reading materials than required in a regular classroom to ensure that students are engaged.” Working in an online environment creates students who are more engaged, self-reliant and responsible. This is one of the biggest benefits of online courses.
Online courses have many functions. They can be used to teach students topics that they may be interested in. They can be used to supplement a topic a student is trying to learn. Additionally, they can be used as a main source of learning for students who are unable to attend a physical school. Online schools can help students with physical or mental limitations earn a diploma and they can assist students in focusing on what they, need to study. Students who attend a regular school are also able to seek supplemental learning materials through online courses. Students can prepare for the SAT, the ACT, or even CLEP tests using online courses offered by companies like Khan Academy, Modern states, and edX. We must not forget that online courses can also be accessed by adults who seek to further their knowledge in certain skills. Online courses have a great number of benefits for all student and all adults. Opportunity has arrived on your computer screen and it is time that you consider taking an online course.
Gustavo Hernandez is a high school sophomore with hopes of one day starting a gaming company. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.