Online post-secondary education has been around for over a decade, but there are pervading myths that still seep into our perceptions about online education. Instead of seeing online education as a flexible alternative to traditional education, a lot of naysayers view it as a shortcut, a cheat, or as lazy. Here are the top 7 myths we’ve heard about online ed.
Myth #1: Online Students live in their mom’s basement
This is probably the most popular myth surrounding online education, that because you are studying online, you must be living in the dark, well-kept basement of your parent’s house. And while we admit that life circumstances are never what we want them to be, the majority of students who utilize online education are independent professionals. Do some of them live with parents still? Maybe. But with different economic situations at play, who’s to judge?
Myth #2: Online education is for lazy people
The other most-popular myth associated with online education is that students must be lazy because they aren’t attending an in-person class three times a week. In reality, many of online students work day jobs or are parents and can’t find class schedules that work for them. Online education offers flexibility to these individuals, giving them a way to advance their career while still providing for themselves.
Myth #3 Online students must be anti-social
Oh boy. We aren’t even sure what gives people the idea that online students must be anti-social, but we do know that it is based on some pretty faulty assumptions, the first of which is that education must be all about socialization. It’s not. Education is, and should be, about learning and advancing. Our rebuttal to that is there isn’t a whole lot of socializing in a lecture-based classroom, and not everyone wants to attend a Frat party.
Myth #4 Online courses are difficult
Without a teacher taking daily attendance and lecturing students, we can see how some might believe this myth. And we’ll admit taking online classes is no picnic, but neither is learning in the classroom. Sometimes online education is actually easier because students can complete it at their own pace, and at any time of the day. And some students are self-learners, which makes it easier for them to learn outside of a classroom. This isn’t to say that it will be a piece of cake, but if students schedule their time and prioritize competing interests, it shouldn’t be too hard.
Myth #5 Online education is easy
If the last myth weren’t enough, there are people who believe that online courses and programs are the easy way out. Although online education does offer a more flexible schedule for those working full-time, online education requires dedication and consistency. If you can stay on top of your assignments and be diligent, then online courses might be right for you.
Myth #6 Online certificates/degrees are not a “real” education
Somehow people think that an in-person class holds more legitimacy than an online course. This myth probably comes from our perception of education in the first place. Since at least the 1800’s, education has been available formally: in a school house, a college, or a university. Just because online education isn’t traditional doesn’t mean it isn’t legitimate. There are plenty of accreditations that online career training companies and online colleges can have that prove their legitimacy.
Myth #7 Online education won’t be taken seriously by employers
Some people erroneously believe that a certificate or degree from a brick-and-mortar school is worth more than an online one. But the truth is that not many employers care where your education comes from—but they do care that you have a certificate or degree, and they do care about the experience you have.
Myth #8 Online students are not getting the “experience” of college.
It’s almost laughable that people are more concerned about you getting the “experience” that comes with college, and not necessarily the education itself. It’s true that college does provide an experience of growth for students, meeting new people, navigating their education on their own, learning how to live with roommates, and making decisions. But for many non-traditional students, they’ve already lived through this experience with jobs or family.