What Dads Need to Know About Online College

photo by elvert barnes

It’s a different world out there today.

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Some dads who went to traditional colleges might have a hard time understanding and accepting their son or daughter’s decision to stay at home and learn over the Internet.

But online learning has many advantages. Online training usually costs less than traditional schooling, and in many cases, students receive the same quality education for much less upfront tuition. Through this process, online learners can save a lot of money each semester on room and board, driving expenses and various facility costs. Online courses are a good value, too, with various grants, gifts and scholar advances available to help battle the costs for credit-worthy students.

That should be good news to budget-conscious dads. However, a more modern dilemma for good dads today just might be the overall social perception of online college. They might perceive that an online education won’t include the social education that they enjoyed in college — they may have a point there.

Even a decade ago, an educator writing in the US Distance Learning Association Journal worried that online learners might suffer from the lack of knowledge sharing and classroom interactivity. And, in a nutshell, the author got it right. One of the obstacles for students growing their knowledge levels via online learning is the brain-share among other students and class lectures. With online learning, the notes are there, the interactivity online is somewhat there, but does it compare to the traditional college experience? That’s a situation that seems to be evolving as the online education industry itself evolves.

Online Degrees From Big Schools

Some dads might feel that the school prestige factor gets lost with online learning. Parents who aspire for their children to attend a well-known school might have reservations about online education work. That’s an issue that’s slowly changing however, as more of the big U.S. universities are offering accredited courses online.

Many of the best business schools in the country have begun offering online accounting degrees and MBA programs online. Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business will enlist its first online class this August. Among other well-known online MBA programs include those at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business; Babson College’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and others. Each week, another business school appears to launch an additional digital MBA program. At numerous schools, like Indiana and Arizona State, online MBA classes are more numerous than on-campus classes.

The entire state of digital education is a rapidly growing industry. Knewton.com, an adaptive learning company, produced a fascinating infographic that summarizes the digital education landscape, including:

  • Digital education is helping to disrupt the traditional methods of learning.
  • More technology-centric solutions can be tailored for specific courses.
  • More digital textbooks will be created during the coming few years than traditional print textbooks.

Financing Online Education

Learning college-level material and receiving college credit at lower costs is a big benefit for some families. If the thought of paying for college, even online colleges, is still intimidating, there are many places to help finance an online education. Here are a few options for families looking for financial aid.

Federal Student Aid Scholarship Listings & Information — Scholarships don’t need to be paid back and the official government site has all the information a student needs to learn what is available.

State Government scholarships and Grants — Many U.S. states offer scholarships and grants to resident students, so if your child intends to stay in your home with you, he or she may qualify for these funds via the state grant agency.

U.S. Department of Labor’s Scholarship Search — This search engine allows students to find loans, scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities. The engine also allows the user to narrow results as well to specific subjects and majors and more.

Scholarships and Grants from Colleges — Many colleges offer scholarships and grants with their own money. If the student has a particular college in mind, searching their financial aid webpage could prove to be helpful.

Convenience and Accommodation

Selecting an online school has many advantages over regular classes at physical colleges. Students who attend online courses will study more from home (or their most convenient Wi-Fi connection). Students can study for a few hours before the family dinner, for instance. Online classes are intended to fit into the student’s existing life, rather than becoming the entire focus. Many online students, for example, work full-time or part-time jobs while studying. It’s one of the major advantages for students; and for parents, any extra income is often welcome.

The chance to make up missed credits is alluring for older students, too. Many people enrolled at online schools have been in the workforce for a long time and may be searching for a new career path. Online schools give students the option of partial or full-time studying, flexible schedules, ease of use and more efficiency. Due dates are still part of the online education process, however. These practicalities of new learning can help foster spirited conversations about course work between students and their family members.

Family Times

Another benefit of the child learning online while still living at home is an extra hand around the house. Online students stay close to the family nest, and they also get protection and support around them in the first crucial year of post high-school education.

In the early, formidable years of college life, it helps to have a parental role model present to help the child along with new choices. Not only does it dissuade the student from making poor decisions or using rushed judgment, having a parent around can help to create school-work connections as well.

Online education is another example of the way technology is changing our modern lives. Dads need to stay on top of our rapidly changing culture in all its forms, in order to maintain current relationships with kids.
photo: Elvert Barnes / flickr

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About Katherine Bartlett

Katherine Bartlett is a published author and blogger who runs Our Whiskey Lullaby blog, where she shares her parental and communication insights. She's keen on reading historical fiction novels, listening to Frank Sinatra and has written for Warner Bros on their social media campaigns.

Comments

  1. Great list of information. Online schools can be a great option for many people, thanks for spreading all of that information.

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