Over 75% of American schools and universities are offering online classes and degrees. This has become a very popular way for millions of new students each year to begin or continue their education. The number of institutions offering online learning is growing, by about a third, annually. Learning online offers the opportunity to attend class at any time of day and from any location, opening up the possibility for those who work or have other obligations, to attend school. All different learning styles can be addressed as students can assimilate the information in a way that best suits their needs. The convenience of twenty-four hour learning makes the online classroom very attractive. With the Internet, instructors are accessible from all over the world affording a broader learning experience. Using computers for learning presents exposure to the technology that is the cornerstone of today’s business world. Students are also more apt to participate in class discussions from the comfort of their own computer. The anonymity of the cyber classroom also seems to have a positive effect on student connections, where the visual barriers are removed.
Students also appear to have more interaction with instructors because of the lack of restriction around office hours or feeling intimidated. Availability of resources is limitless, broadening the student’s access to materials. The library is never closed. Class discussions are not focussed on one or two students. It is easier to ask questions and have input in an online environment. Students can also get together in chat rooms for meetings and socializing. The flexibility of online learning allows students to be at class alert and ready when they are alert and ready. Lastly, learning online removes the barrier of location. It no longer matters if there is no school in your area or if the one there doesn’t offer that in which you are interested.
The popularity of attending online classes may be because of its availability, openness or excellence. It does not matter what the reason. Learning online has broadened the scope of education and that is a good thing.