Online School vs. Traditional School

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Online School vs. Traditional School
Jessica O’Brien
Strayer University
English 215
Professor: Robin Parks
12/4/11

Online School vs. Traditional School
It seems that technology is growing, improving, and changing at an exponential rate. Technology now affects every part of our lives from the time we get up to the time we go to bed, and even as we sleep. One of the major areas that has been affected by technology is education. At one time, the only option for students to complete their education was in a traditional classroom setting. There has become a major need for non-traditional education because there has been a growth in the amount of non-traditional students that exist in our society. The advancement of technology has recently allowed for education to be completed in an online setting instead of in a traditional classroom setting. Online education is an effective and comparable alternative to a traditional classroom setting, and it can be a great opportunity for a non-traditional student to further his or her education and become one step closer to being a successful, self-sufficient individual.

As I stated previously, online school is a great option for the non-traditional student. What classifies a student as non-traditional? Let’s begin by identifying the traditional American student. The traditional American student attends school full time during traditional morning and daytime hours. That student may or may not have a job, but if he/she does, it is likely a part-time job. That student learns at a regular pace and can keep up in class. That student is usually single with no children, between the ages of 18 and 25, and either lives in a dorm, an apartment, or with his/her parents. It would be great if everyone fell into this category and had the means and opportunity to complete school in a traditional setting. REALISTICALLY, however, many Americans do not fall into one or all of these categories.

With that being said, anyone that does not fit into the categories listed above is usually categorized as “non-traditional.” Adults that are 25 and older with full-time, daytime hour jobs are not usually able to accommodate a traditional university’s class schedule. Adults with dependents, spouses, etc. also find it difficult to keep up with a traditional brick-and-mortar 4-year university’s class schedule. According to a statistical article endorsed by the US Department of Education entitled Learning at a Distance, “Older undergraduates and those with a dependent, a spouse, or full-time employment participated in both distance education classes and degree programs relatively more often than their counterparts.” Another, less common but significant, type of non-traditional student is one that finds it difficult to learn in a traditional classroom setting; this could be due to learning disabilities, health issues, being easily distracted, anxiety, and/or a variety of other reasons.

The great thing is that the types of non-traditional students that are mentioned above do not need to miss out on the opportunity to further their education simply because they do not fall into the cookie-cutter category of the traditional student that attends a brick-and-mortar ground campus within the 4-year university system. There are many accredited online schools to choose from all over the country. According to The Online Education Database (OEDb), National University is ranked number one in the online university category. There are about 65 schools on this list; however, there are many more online universities to choose from even beyond this list.

Although online school is a great option for the non-traditional student, like with any other major issue, there is support AND opposition for the idea. There are some negative concerns that some people have regarding online education, most of which are simply a result of a lack of sufficient knowledge and/or research about the subject....
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