Why An Online Education Isn't A Compromise

Why An Online Education Isn't A Compromise
Summary: In past decades, obtaining a degree remotely had a negative connotation. However, presently, perceptions of online education have changed. Here's how online education has become normalized, but not through compromise.

Online Education Is Not A Compromise

In past decades, obtaining a degree remotely had a negative connotation. To many, it conveyed the message that one wasn’t able to get into an in-person program for some reason or other. Today, perceptions have begun to change, and engaging in online education has become a more normalized part of life. Though there are still some strong opinions on both sides out there when comparing online degrees versus traditional degrees, it’s becoming harder and harder for anyone to deny the fact that online learning is a viable option for obtaining a degree.

Understanding why attitudes have begun to shift and how online learning has slowly become normal can give one a more nuanced understanding of the ways that culture and education are evolving. Here is why an online education isn’t a compromise.

5 Reasons A Remote Education Isn't A Compromise

1. COVID-19 Forced A Shift In Online Learning

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions offered some remote options. However, some educators and program directors had no intention of offering online options for every program, severely limiting the number of classes that students could engage in remotely.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, institutions and instructors were forced to give in and start teaching students remotely. This proved that students could receive the same standard of education online as they could in person.

This prompted a change in attitude for both educational institutions and society at large, making online learning seem a viable option for higher education. Accordingly, more programs and institutions have since begun to offer an increased amount of online learning options, further reinforcing the idea that online learning is a viable alternative to in-person courses.

2. The Same Teachers Often Teach Online And In-Person

For some reason, many people have the false idea that the instructors who conduct online classes are second-rate or less qualified than professors who teach in person. This is false, as many instructors who teach in-person classes have also taught online classes. Samantha Cohen, Executive Director of EdD Program and Senior Professorial Lecturer for the School of Education at American University, states that "[t]he reality is that educators who prioritize community, inclusivity, and deeply understanding their learners’ needs are able to succeed in online spaces, just as they are able to succeed within in-person spaces. Regardless of modality, learners thrive most when their learning environments are places where their humanity is valued and they are truly seen as individuals and a collective community" [1].

Given the fact that modalities don’t affect educators’ ability to teach their students, it’s clear that students who engage in online education aren’t sacrificing the quality of their education. In fact, their ability to focus and follow along with classes may actually be enhanced by the fact that they are surrounded by fewer distractions. A decrease in distracting stimuli is one of the many benefits of online education. While both traditional programs and online programs have their own pros and cons, it’s becoming more difficult to ignore the many benefits that online educational programs have to offer.

3. Excelling In Online Education Requires More Responsibility

One of the benefits that traditional education has over online learning is an increased presence of structure. In-person classes typically offer students more support and motivation to complete classwork, as a result of meeting in person.

While those who need more structure may find that traditional education suits them better, students who excel in online learning programs display that they have increased levels of responsibility and autonomy. For hiring managers looking to onboard self-motivated employees who can produce high-quality work consistently, graduates of online programs are a great place to start looking.

The increased amount of self-determination needed to complete an online educational program shows that online education isn’t a compromise. In actuality, it shows that students are likely to work harder and put forth more effort in order to obtain a degree through this medium.

4. Online Graduates Are Just As Capable As Traditional Graduates

One of the most compelling arguments against the idea that online education is a compromise is the fact that online graduates are just as capable as their traditional graduate counterparts. Students take similar classes and pick up similar skills in both online and in-person programs.

If online programs are producing graduates who are just as effective in their professional careers, it makes sense that online education is a viable choice for anyone. Given that the increase in online options is a relatively recent phenomenon, it may take some time for this fact to truly sink in for the public at large.

In spite of this, many online graduates are actively proving online education naysayers wrong. As more years pass and more online graduates enter the workforce, attitudes will continue to shift until online education is viewed as a perfectly normal educational option, if not more estimable than traditional programs.

5. Online Education Makes Education More Accessible

Online education offers a slew of benefits ranging from lower costs to more flexibility. What many of these benefits have in common is the fact that they make education more accessible to a wider array of people.

As the world becomes more expensive and many students are forced to work while working toward obtaining a degree, lower costs and increased amounts of flexible scheduling make online education an attractive option. For those who have the wherewithal to support themselves while engaging in a college program, it’s clear that online education isn’t forcing them to compromise.

In fact, online education is having the opposite effect on the lives of scores of students. Online education programs offer students opportunities that they may not have otherwise had. The fact that online education is having a beneficial effect on society is yet another reason that shows it is far from being a compromise.

Online Education Is The Future

As remote options become more normalized in different realms of society such as the workplace, it is also becoming more accepted in the realm of education. Whereas obtaining a degree remotely used to be looked down upon, today, almost everyone knows someone who has engaged in a remote class.

This shift in attitudes reflects the fact that online education is proving itself to be a viable and effective alternative to traditional education, rather than a compromise. As time goes on, it is more than likely that online education will be a normal part of everyone’s educational career and negative attitudes toward the process will disappear entirely.


[1] School of Education, American University