Online Universities

By: Hannah T, Shelby H, Ashley X, and Saleh H


College is necessary for anyone who aspires to have a respectable career. A person with a masters degree will make twice as much as a person with only a high school diploma (Kena). Some situations do not allow people to receive this high level of education. In the technological age, it is now a possibility for a student to acquire a college degree on the internet, for free. This controversial method of learning has grown rapidly within the past few years. 11 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment is exclusively taking distance courses" (Kena). Online universities are beneficial because they offer education to students who cannot afford it or cannot physically go to class. It also allows students to interact with their own learning. However, it is possible that this learning method will deprive students of a true college experience, personal interaction, and be of lower quality.



According to "The Condition of Education 2014", 21 percent of America's children are living in poverty. This does not include the middle class, who are also struggling to provide for their children in some situations. The majority of Americans do not have 40,000+ dollars, or the cost of a college education, on hand. Online colleges are a great alternative. They allow students to be in touch with some of the best instructors from the top universities at no cost.


While it is virtually impossible for a professor to interact with thousands of students in person, just one online instructor could reach out to as many as 1,000 people (Dolan). Anyone with access to a computer has access to college. Numerous students live under circumstances that do not provide them with the abilities to simply get in the car and drive to class. With online education, college comes with an 100% acceptance rate and a personal schedule that fits into each person's hectic life.


According to Roanne Angiello, "students who took all or part of their classes online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction". This has to do with the fact that every single student must participate one hundred percent of the time. No one is there to hog every single question, and at the same time, it is impossible to slack. The teacher cares about each individual and will immediately be able to tell if he or she is retaining the information.



In the article, “Me and My Computer”, students complained about feeling more isolated while participating in an online course rather than in a traditional classroom setting. They also reported feeling highly frustrated, anxious and confused versus the students in the traditional classroom setting. Also, online students claimed they had reduced feelings of belonging in class as wells as the discussions and participation associated with a typical classroom.

Minimal Student & Teacher Interaction

According to the article “Conceptualization and Measurement of Perceived Risk of Online Education,” although students may easily communicate with anyone across the world in the online class setting, this is also seen as a strong disadvantage because it becomes more difficult for the students and professors to develop a personal relationship. distant relationship with their In, the traditional classroom setting, students and professors can easily hold a one-on-one meeting.

No true college experience

One major disadvantage to online courses for college is the fact that they are online and not in the traditional collegiate environment. In the video "Will Online Courses Replace Classrooms?", published by PBS, a Professor explains that of the 150,000 students who took the course, only about 5% actually passed. Now this could very well be the result of a lack of incentive due to the classes being free, therefore having no financial repercussions as an effect of failure. Another disadvantage experienced from the world of online college education is the loss of the college experience itself. With a traditional college setting students are placed in a new physical environment. This change teaches them real world independence that an in home online course cannot. In support of this, the article "Comparing Student Achievement in Online and Face-to-Face Classes" states this about the performance of undergraduate students in: "There were no differences found between student work from the online section and the face-to-face sections." (Dell, Low, Wilker). In this case, if there is no difference in performance for online vs traditional learning with undergraduates then the traditional college route would prove more beneficial to students.


As the world continues to make new and innovative advancements in technology everything keeps moving forward and its about time education got on board. For the past 250 years education remains generally unchanged. Particularly college education is in need of change. Millions of students pay 100's of thousands of dollars to attend a lecture every day. Online education provides free college level courses, immediate feedback, interactive learning, and flexible schedules to make higher education accessible to all. Some argue that minimal student-teacher interaction, isolation, and lack of a true college experience make the switch to online education a bad idea, but the magnitude of the benefits far outweighs that of the disadvantages and online education appears to be the right decision.


Al-Asfour, Ahmed. "Conceptualization and Measurement of Perceived Risk of Online Education." Tribal College. N.p., Spring 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

Angiello, Roanne. "Study Looks at Online Learning Vs. Traditional Instruction." Education Digest Oct. 2010: 1-4. ERIC. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.

Bryant, Julie. "Understanding the Priorities of Nontraditional College Students." NoelLevitz Blog Higher Education Enrollment Student Retention and Student Success RSS. Noel-Levitz, 5 Sept. 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Comparing Student Achievement in Online and Face-to-Face Classes.

Dell, Cindy Ann; Low, Christy; Wilker, Jeanine F. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching6.1 (Mar 2010): 30.

Dolan, Vera L. "Massive Online Obsessive Compulsion: What Are They Saying Out There about the Latest Phenomenon in HIgher Education?" International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning Apr. 2014: 268-81. Wilson OmniFile Full Text Mega Edition. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.

Jaggars, Shanna S. "Performance Gaps Between Online and Face-to-Face Courses: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas." Journal of Higher Education. Vol. 85 Issue 5, P633-659. 27p., Sept.-Oct. 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

McKeown, Karen D., and Foundation Heritage. "Can Online Learning Reproduce The Full College Experience? Center For Policy Innovation Discussion Paper. Number 3." Heritage Foundation (2012): ERIC. Web. 16 Nov. 2014

Parker, Kim, et al. "The Digital Revolution And Higher Education: College Presidents, Public Differ On Value Of Online Learning." Pew Internet & American Life Project (2011): ERIC. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

"PBS LearningMedia." Will Online Courses Replace Classrooms? Ed. PBS News Hour. PBS News Hour, 27 Aug. 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Reilly, Janet R. "Me and My Computer." Nursing Education Perspectives. 33.2, Mar.-Apr. 2012. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.