February 24, 2018

Traditional Versus Online Teaching Degrees

Are you wondering if online teaching degrees hold up when compared to traditional teaching degrees? Have you considered an online teaching degree, but are concerned about the legitimacy of such programs?

Pros and Cons of Traditional Teaching Degrees

If you pursue a traditional teaching degree, you will attend classes in person at a college or university. You will learn from professors in class and then perform student teaching through a student teaching internship.

The pros of getting a traditional teaching degree are:

  • You will interact with a professor in person
  • You will have access to in-person office hours
  • You can attend in-person study groups with other students
  • You’ll get to know other students in person
  • Traditional colleges and universities are usually established and well recognized

The cons of getting a traditional teaching degree are:

  • You will have to commute or live on campus
  • You will probably have to pay more than if you got an online degree
  • You may have to buy physical textbooks (although you might use online resources as well)

Pros and Cons of Online Teaching Degrees

If you pursue an online teaching degree, you will take the same classes as you would when pursuing a traditional teaching degree, but all of your classes will be delivered online. Your professor may teach through the following mediums:

  • Webinars
  • Webcasts
  • Online text books
  • Online lesson plans
  • Online forums
  • Skype/video chats
  • Email
  • Instant messaging

The pros of getting an online teaching degree are:

  • You will have more flexibility in your schedule
  • You won’t have to commute
  • You will (most likely) pay less than if you were to attend a traditional college or university
  • You won’t have to buy as many physical textbooks (or any, in some cases)
  • You will be able to take tests, submit work and learn from home, on your schedule
  • You will be able to work full time at another position while completing your online teaching degree
  • You will have access to online support 24/7 from fellow students, teachers and support staff who interact through forums, email and instant messaging

The cons of getting an online teaching degree are:

  • You may feel isolated since you won’t meet your professors or classmates in person
  • You might have trouble remaining disciplined with class work if you lack motivation
  • You will still need to complete a student teaching internship for on-the-job training, and you will have to initiate to make sure this gets set up through the online college’s connections
  • You will have to take more responsibility for your education since your support will be remote and not there to hold your hand through the process

Why Online Teaching Degrees are Gaining Popularity

Online teaching degrees are rapidly gaining popularity for several reasons. First of all, they are typically much cheaper than a traditional college experience. With college expenses increasing so quickly, college students are realizing they need to save money where they can.

Secondly, most traditional colleges are offering online classes, which helps to legitimize online colleges. Even MIT offers online courses now! Why pay double, triple or even quadruple the price for the same online courses (that are just put out by a traditional college)? Students and employers alike are recognizing that colleges are evolving to an online presence.

Third, online classes provide much-needed flexibility. College students today can’t afford college without working. They can’t afford to live on campus anymore. Many parents cannot help their kids financially, and more and more adults are returning to college for a second career and need to work full time while going to school. Online colleges offer an option that allows students to save on commute time and costs and to work around busy work schedules so students can afford a college degree.

Finally, more and more employers are realizing that online colleges are turning out well-educated, qualified graduates. Schools in particular recognize your student teaching internship as the most important piece of your education, and in general, will not care if your degree came from a traditional or online college. They’ll look at your student teaching reviews and referrals and the fact that you have your degree as the only proof they need that you are qualified to teach.

Choosing Between Traditional and Online Teaching Degrees

When deciding between a traditional or online teaching degree, you’ll need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much does college expense matter for my situation?
  • Do I need in-person instruction and guidance, or am I self motivated?
  • How much flexibility do I need?
  • How much do I value the “name brand” of the college I attend? Am I focused on getting the best education for the best price, or am I set on saying I attended this particular name brand college?

The answers to these questions will help you decide which is best for you: a traditional or an online teaching degree.


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