Wiliam Mwangi

Online courses learning has never been more accessible than it is today. While pursuing an online degree is advantageous in many aspects over normal degrees, there are certain pitfalls that you should seek to avoid when enrolling for online learning.

For as long as the internet has been in existence, online learning has been a reality of modern education. In responding to increased work demands, rising education costs and greater clamor for family time, institutions offering online degrees have proliferated at an explosive pace over the last two decades. In this article we will explore some of the advantages of online degrees, and some telltale signs that you are choosing a legitimate online college.

Why choose an online degree?

Studying for an online degree comes with some advantages over campus-based schooling. Online learning enables the learner to access learning materials and submit assignments from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. This flexibility allows the student to fit their work and family life obligations with their coursework smoothly. Working from the comfort of your house, office or local coffee shop, online learning eliminates the hassle of rushing to and from class and carrying bulky reading materials. Among the most important aspects of online learning is price. Conventional mortar and brick courses tend to be higher priced than online learning. In addition, you have to account for logistics such as commuting and housing required for on-campus schooling. Online learning only needs you to have a reliable internet connection and laptop. Provided the school does not overprice registration and database access, Online learning may increase the quality of education that a learner gets. Rather than relying on face to face interactions with the lecturer, a student learning online can access and rehash instructional materials such as videos, readings and exercises at any time. This increases content grasp and helps you to learn at your own pace. Additionally, an online degree may present a better opportunity for career advancement because it does not disrupt your work hours as much as an on-campus does.

Some questions to ponder when choosing an online degree

How legitimate is the institution?

Many online colleges purport to offer online degrees, but either lack the certification or resources to provide a quality degree. If you choose a school without doing your due diligence, you might be stuck with an unusable degree or run straight into a scam. It is always prudent to contact the college accreditation authority to make sure the school is accredited. Make a point to visit the institutions offices and grounds if possible. This will tell you a lot about their resources and reputation.

Most reputed universities offer online degrees along with their on-campus degrees. Choosing to enroll in a program offered by a prestigious institution like Harvard or UCLA is a foolproof way to ensure a quality online education. Along this line, many fraudulent institutions tend to adopt names that insinuate cooperation with prestigious colleges; you should be on the lookout for this. Online colleges commonly entice people to register by showing an easy path to graduation. If the description of the course sounds too good to be true, you might want to reconsider. For example, claiming to offer a degree in six months should be taken as a red flag.

Does online learning fit the course you want?

Online learning does not suit all types of courses, particularly where a lot of practical learning is required. Some practice-heavy courses such as engineering and health require extensive interaction with expensive equipment which are typically only available in campus laboratories. Online courses are ill-equipped to give learners the requisite exposure unless they encompass some form of residential activity. Campus acts as a networking environment for professionals, and a well-designed online course provides students with an interactive platform in which to engage with fellow students and lecturers. This can be done through discussion forums and group projects among others.

How flexible is the course?

Some courses require you to log in and take activities during specified hours as part of your degree fulfillment. If you are tied up with other activities such as work, you might find it hard to balance your schedule. You ideally want to go for a course that allows you to complete your weekly activities at your own convenience.

Are there any hidden costs?

As part of your due diligence exercise, you should ensure that all the quoted prices for the different items are included in the course. It is not uncommon for some unscrupulous colleges to bring up additional costs once you have made an initial payment. Additionally, if prices are added midway through the course, the financial burden may leave you unable to finish your course.


1. https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2015/06/09/7-warning-signs-an-online-degree-is-a-scam
2. https://www.lifestyledaily.com/?id=L16&artid=219&preview=1
3. https://hub.birmingham.ac.uk/news/things-to-consider
4. https://www.campusexplorer.com/college-advice-tips/82460AAD/Ten-Things-to-Consider-When-Choosing-an-Online-School/
5. https://elearningindustry.com/5-advantages-of-online-learning-education-without-leaving-home
6. http://online.illinois.edu/articles/online-learning/item/2017/06/05/5-benefits-of-studying-online-(vs.-face-to-face-classroom)
7. https://www.bestvalueschools.com/lists/5-benefits-of-earning-a-degree-online/

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