Are you considering furthering your education but turned off by the thought of sitting in a traditional classroom? What if you could earn your degree in the comfort of your own home or office, would you consider it?
A few years ago, I wanted to finish my Bachelor’s degree but my job was too demanding to have a routine college schedule. After high school, I earned my Associate degree and life just got in my way of continuing. I had heard about online degrees but was quite skeptical about how they worked. I didn’t want to just pay for my degree, I actually wanted to learn and feel proud of my accomplishment. I began my research and after having my transcripts transferred and reviewed, I signed up with University of Phoenix (UOP) in 2004. I graduated with honors in 2006 with my Bachelor’s in Business Management.
Based on my experience, here are the pro’s and con’s I experienced at UOP:
- Courses are only 5 weeks long.
- Flexibility! Students are in control of their schedule and can opt to take as much time off as necessary between courses.
- Accelerated schedule. It can take up to 4 years to earn a degree from a traditional college; however, at UOP students can overlap courses to finishing much sooner.
- Online degrees from properly accredited institutions are considered to be on the same level as degrees from regular colleges. Do your research before enrolling and steer clear of non-accredited institutions! UOP is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.
- Students are able to use their real world experiences to better understand the learning concepts.
- Students gain hands on experience working in virtual team environments.
- Students develop exceptional time management and communication skills.
- Written communication skills improve drastically due to the hundreds of papers students write.
- Students are given access to an online library consisting of thousands of resources.
- No costs commuting to/from school.
- Since the courses are so short, there is no time for slacking. The 5 weeks worth of reading, writing and participation is intense and doesn’t leave much spare time.
- UOP has a high turnover rate. In my 2 years of experience, I had at least 15 different student advisors.
- UOP believes in the use of learning teams. This was frustrating since some team members didn’t pull their share of the weight or would quit the class without communicating. There were many nights I was left stranded to complete projects.
- Students are required to write papers in order to prove they understand the learning concepts. If you do not enjoy writing, online courses are not for you.
- UOP had a fair share of technical challenges that impacted the virtual classroom.
- Sometimes instructors do not respond promptly to questions asked by students.
- Online courses are significantly more expensive than traditional classroom courses.
- I opted to graduate in my home city instead of flying to Phoenix. It was exciting to walk across the stage, but strange to experience it with complete strangers.
Many more schools have adopted the concept of online learning; however, if I ever return for my MBA it will definitely be in the classroom setting.
What is your experience with online classrooms? Would you recommend it to others?