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What Are the Disadvantages of Online Schooling?

By K T Solis
Updated May 16, 2024
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Attending an online school is a practical way to learn a new skill or earn a degree to improve a person's job prospects. Online schools allow students to learn from their own homes. Students do not have to worry about lengthy commutes to a college campus or finding a babysitter to look after their children when they have to go to class. On the other hand, online schooling has disadvantages as well. Since online schooling requires students to function as independent learners, some people would do better in a more traditional brick and mortar school.

One disadvantage of online schooling is the fact that not everyone is capable of working independently. In a traditional brick and mortar classroom, a student interacts with both the professor and fellow students. The student listens to lectures, asks the professor questions, and benefits from the questions asked by other students as well. There are also things that can be taught more efficiently in a face to face setting, like writing especially in young kids. Learning to write requires actual physical guidance while a child's dexterity isn't as good yet, so they're better off learning it in person.

When a person takes online classes at home, he must be able to focus on learning the material without the benefit of verbal interaction with others in the class. All of his learning will take place through written lecture notes, textbooks, and message boards. If a student needs face-to-face interaction with the professor in order to successfully learn an academic subject, he will not do well with online schooling.

Students who have trouble maintaining a strict schedule struggle with online schooling. Although this is normal, parents should find ways to mitigate any losses in purely online classes. You don't have to monitor your kid all the time, but you can make sure that certain foolproof rules are in place so they don't waste too much time on less important things. Some people cannot manage their time effectively on their own. They need to have daily accountability with a professor. When enrolled in an online course, students are responsible for completing reading assignments and other homework, without the frequent reminders of professors regarding due dates and deadlines. A person who attends a brick and mortar school must be prepared to answer questions asked by the professor; therefore, he must keep up with the assigned reading. In contrast, an online student can often procrastinate, postponing reading assignments and homework since most classroom discussions are conducted through an impersonal message board.

Online schooling has another disadvantage for those who have unreliable internet access. In order to participate in online classroom discussions or email assignments to the professor, a student needs a home computer equipped with the internet. High-speed internet service may be too costly for some would-be students. Some students may only have dial-up internet, making it difficult for them to access large files, participate in class chat rooms, and perform other important classroom assignments involving technology.

Students who have difficulty reading may also find that online schooling is not ideal for their situations. Since online courses involve the reading of email, lecture notes, and messages posted on the classroom message board, being a competent reader is imperative when participating in online schooling. An online student needs to be able to digest difficult subject matter just by doing a great deal of reading, since they do not have the luxury of sitting inside a classroom listening to the professor lecture. If a student is not prepared to perform a large amount of independent reading, he should seriously consider enrolling in a traditional school instead of one that offers online courses. They may also consider hiring someone like a college math tutor who can teach efficiently without the need to be in the same room. These professionals understand the easiest way to make sure your kids aren't overwhelmed during lessons, and how best to teach them despite the distance.

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Discussion Comments
By comfyshoes — On Jan 20, 2011

Subway11- There are a lot of online schooling courses pertaining to elementary education and high school.

Most of these schools offer a placement test along with a full course load of academic subjects. The tuition is reasonable with most charging between $1,500-2,500 for elementary and $3,000 or slightly more for high school.

Many of these schools also offer advanced placement courses that eventually provide college credit for students that successfully pass the course.

By subway11 — On Jan 19, 2011

Oasis11- Another problem with online schools is the question of accreditation.

Find out if a school is accredited or not because this is the most important consideration when looking for an online school.

This is a very profitable market and many institutions crop up all the time that are really not accredited will not lead you to receiving a legitimate degree. You don’t want to waste your time with a school that is not accredited.

You should ask the school and check with the U.S. Dept of Education in order to see what accreditation they are supposed to have. The best online schools are traditional schools that have extended their educational programming to include online degrees and courses.

These top online schools allow you to apply like if you were a traditional student and have the same standards. You diploma will state that you are a graduate of the university it will not differentiate between online status and traditional educational status.

By oasis11 — On Jan 18, 2011

Online schooling programs offer a lot of flexibility but along with the flexibility comes even more responsibility.

Some people make the mistake of underestimating the amount of work required for an online course. They often feel that online schooling courses are easier, but in fact they are not.

An online schooling college offers the same amount of work that a traditional school does so you really have to consider the rule of thumb that for every three credit hours you will probably have about 10 hours of weekly homework.

If you multiply this by additional classes you can see how an online degree can be difficult to manage if you don’t devote enough time.

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