Have you gone searching the Internet for one piece of information, only to find yourself intrigued by another piece of information? Then, following that link you found yourself curious about something that led you to yet another website? People call that “getting distracted.” I call it curiosity.
It’s truly miraculous, this world, this universe of knowledge at our fingertips. How did we ever manage formal education before the Internet? I have vague memories of hours spent in library stacks, perusing the content of a dozen books for one usable nugget of information. Now, a url, a few words, a click of a button and the research of untold lifetimes is our fingertips.
The revolution has been digitized. Nowhere is that more obvious than in education. Research is virtually instantaneous, and it is possible to obtain an entire university education online. I am partial to online programs for advanced nursing education, for the following reasons.
A look at the main page of MastersinNursing.com reveals a list of 550+ accredited universities, all offering a masters degree in nursing. Once, you were limited to the programs available in your area, and limited again to the specialties they offered. If you wanted something else, you had to commute, or move. Attending an online program removes this requirement, allowing you to choose your specialty with no concern for geographical limitations.
Online classes are more productive
When it’s time for class, you boot up your computer. Class is in session. That’s it! Look at the effort that goes into just arriving at a physical class: you get dressed, you gather your supplies, you drive to the university, you deal with parking, you physically sit in class for an hour or more, you walk back to your vehicle and you drive home. You could have spent all that time comfortably studying at home. You will hear people say that online classes take more time. No, with online classes you have more time to spend.
Forget “office hours” – professors are always an email (or phone call) away
Professors of online programs make it a point to be available. Whether it be email, text , a classroom “board”, or “pager” systems built into online learning systems like “Blackboard” or “D2L”, communication is paramount in online learning; responses to questions and concerns are prompt. My experience is that professors encourage and appreciate communicating with online students.
Your classmates are your biggest assets (and cheerleaders!)
You may be sitting home alone in front of the computer, but take it from me, an online classroom is the definition of “social media”. Your classmates are from diverse backgrounds, work environments, generations and locations. and you are the beneficiary of their knowledge, experience and expertise as you share information in lively classroom discussions. Everyone participates. Sometimes it will seem that you learn the most from your classmates. Nurses teaching nurses. It’s a great thing to experience!
I’ve gone the online route and I can’t imagine ever going back to the classic classroom style.