College from home can be rewarding, and in many cases online classes can be the only way you can continue or return to school. While it provides specific freedoms in terms of time and commuting, it also presents challenges that don't affect regular in-class courses, such as technological problems, distractions and isolation.
A key aspect of online courses is having access to functioning technology. You need to have a computer as well as consistent, uninterrupted Internet access you can use whenever you need it. You are subject to how fast and problem-free your technology is; if your internet connection is interrupted, your computer freezes or you forget a password, you may miss out on an important class or assignment. You also need to be comfortable with learning how to navigate the Internet and your school's software through which you will take the class.
An online course permits more independence, but at the cost of less one-on-one attention from the instructor. Some classes are hybrid courses in which part of the course is online and part is held in person. However, for fully online courses you get no face time with your instructor, which also means not being able to come to them after class to have a discussion or get immediate help. Also, class sizes for online courses tend to be much larger than in-class courses, so the instructor has a larger workload and may not be able to respond to questions and concerns quickly.
The social aspects of school, including making friends, is lost when you study from home. You may feel isolated as you miss out on the opportunity to meet new and diverse people, have fun or educational social interactions, and talk out the classwork through peer discussion. Sometimes students do interact in group assignments through email or even Skype, but the live and personal social dynamic is lost in online courses.
In distance learning, students must be self-motivated, disciplined and manage their time well. Being at home while you study can be very distracting, and it can be hard to prioritize your studies over other tasks and activities. You must be able to overcome day-to-day distractions and responsibilities surrounding you, such as the Internet and television, chores like cooking and cleaning, and taking care of your children's needs.
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