With continual, rampant advances in communication technologies, more and more colleges and universities across the United States are offering degrees online. Some prospective students are hesitant to get on the Internet educational bandwagon for fear that they won’t be gaining as much of an education as they would in a lecture hall. However, there are numerous advantages to online education and proponents might go so far as to say that students can gain an even more comprehensive form of schooling.
Firstly, probably the most obvious advantage is flexibility. Pursuing a degree online allows you to study at a time and place convenient to your current lifestyle; if you wish to work full time, have family commitments or if curve balls thrown your way, your studies do not have to be interrupted. “[The online learning portal is] where you will access course information, communicate with your instructor and fellow learners, take quizzes, post assignments, and view grades, all from the convenience of your home or office,” shares Boston University about its online degree programs. BU adds that up-to-date books and print materials are delivered to students before each course begins.
Secondly, online learning emphasizes participation. Florida Tech University Online says, “Each online course is carefully designed to maximize your interaction with fellow students and instructors alike”. Often students are more comfortable participating on discussion boards, chat rooms and in small virtual groups rather than in a crowded classroom.
Thirdly, online degree programs can help students gain more independence when it comes to learning and working. So many of us are used to the grade school regime where classes and assignment schedules are strictly outlined for us and where we don’t need to rely solely on ourselves to stay organized or manage time. “Online courses do require some extra initiative from students,” states Everest College. “You need to develop the ability to be organized, motivated and self-directed. As you do so, you’ll polish these and other skills that are essential in today’s job market”.
Finally, online learning opens up the door to some very exciting educational opportunities. For example, the Kaplan University School of Criminal Justice offers multimedia experiences, such as continuous contact with teachers, podcasts and videos from actual crime scenes. Robert Kopczynski, Kaplan’s Criminal Justice Academic Chair, shares that some of their instructors have been in Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan and other countries abroad training police departments while at the same time teaching their students online. This approach allows students to gain a direct perspective of global issues and procedures pertaining to criminal justice as part of their education. The program is well respected by top criminal justice agencies as students have gone on to work for a variety of employers, from the FBI to U.S. Customs.
For information on legal and criminal justice online programs, visit our schools by state page.