Most people realize the value of a good education.  Realistically, however, people are at a disadvantage when they are working and want to go back to school. They have two choices. They can quit work and go back to school or else work all day and try to fit in an education at night.  Since most people cannot afford to quit work to attend school, the second option is more realistic albeit time-consuming.  Fortunately, students have options today of attending school online and there are major benefits with pursuing an online degree.

Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the most popular reasons for attending school online.  Students can login at their convenience and school is open 24 hours a day.  Online classes are located on a Learning Management System (LMS) and after the student is properly registered, he can login and begin his course work.  Assignments, videos, audio, PowerPoint slides, lectures and notes are all accessible on the LMS. The student can also discuss classwork with other students through an online forum.  Professors are available via an email link or from a forum as well.   

Students can access their courses before going to work in the morning, on a lunch break or evenings after the kids are in bed.  Is it snowing outside?  Don’t worry – your online class won’t be cancelled due to inclement weather.  Your course is available at all times from an Internet connection.

Cost

Pursuing an online degree saves the student money.  Since there is no commute to a brick and mortar school, the student will save on fuel costs, tolls and parking.  Since he can access his course work from his own computer, he can eat dinner at home and won’t rack up expenses at the school cafeteria or at a fast food restaurant en route to school.  Students can also use supplies from home as opposed to having to purchase a separate set of school supplies.  Single parents will not have to worry about paying for child care while they are at school.

Text books may be provided online or instructors may have excerpts in a .PDF format for students so they will not have to incur huge textbook costs.  Online tuition costs may also be lower than traditional classroom tuition; however, this varies from school to school.

Space

Some adults find it difficult to go back into a classroom especially where the median age is a lot younger.  Online education changes that and makes it easier for students to learn without sitting in a crowded room. Disruptions from other students and a noisy building are also eliminated.  Students can still collaborate with other students via Skype or the online school forum.

Balance

Students who are pursuing a degree online find that they can have a better work/life balance than if they would have to go into a classroom. They do not have to miss important functions like a school play or parent/teacher conference because of school. Nor do they have to miss an important class to attend a family function.  They do not have to leave work early to go to class and they are accessible to their families by taking courses from home.

Scheduling

Online degree programs often have different schedules than traditional classroom courses which are usually broken down into fall and spring semesters and perhaps courses during the summer.  Online degree programs can be shorter, generally scheduled in five to twelve week increments.  Most schools offer extensions to students who cannot complete the course in the allotted time.  Registration is often flexible as well and students can begin a class at any time during the year as opposed to waiting for the next classroom course to begin.