Are you deciding between online college classes or on-campus classes but don’t know if one is easier than the other?
You might be considering online education since you have to balance other responsibilities such as work or family. But being that on-campus education is the norm, you might not be well informed about online classes and if there is a difference in the difficulty level.
In Gradehacker we specialize in helping college students with their coursework and exams. Since we have experience with online education firsthand, we’re going to share the difference between online and traditional education. In order to help you understand the difficulty level of both.
Self Motivation in Classes
Online Classes: Self Motivation to Maintain Learning Pace and Avoid Distractions
Online classes require more self-motivation than traditional classes. Suppose you decide to become an online student. In that case, you will need self-motivation to complete learning material and assignments on your own time. You won’t have an in-class professor who reminds you that the essay you haven’t started is due next week. It will be your responsibility to learn at the required pace and finish tasks on time.
Online classes can be completed anywhere, even in the comfort of your own bed! This means that you will need a determined attitude to manage your time well and avoid distractions that can arise from learning through technology or learning at home.
On-campus Classes: Self Motivation When Studying
On-campus classes also require self-motivation, but this is needed for studying and completing assignments. You won’t have to be self-motivated in remembering to attend class and making sure you are following the learning pace. In lectures, your professor will go over class materials and talk about the assignments you have to complete.
The Verdict: Online Classes Require More Self Motivation
Online Classes: For an Asynchronous Online Course, Prepare to Read!
An online course can be asynchronous or synchronous. An asynchronous online course doesn’t involve scheduled meetings. You can complete work whenever you’re able to, but you still have assignment deadlines. When it is synchronous, it involves set meetings where a professor teaches subjects through an online video conferencing platform.
Online classes will involve the same academic assignments as on-campus classes. These assignments include reading, writing essays, etc. In asynchronous online classes, the reading workload tends to be higher than traditional classes, as reading will be the primary learning method. Another part of the workload of an online student is participating in discussion boards.
On-campus Classes: You’ll be Working on Assignments Outside of Class
If you’re an on-campus student, your workload will involve assignments to be completed outside of class. These assignments can include presentations, essays, reading, etc. Your actual learning won’t be a part of that workload as your professor is in charge of teaching you the necessary subjects.
The Verdict: Online Asynchronous Courses Have A Higher Workload
Both online and on-campus education must be approved through an accreditation agency. An accreditation agency ensures that an educational program fulfills the educational outcomes it promises you.
This means that students in online and on-campus classes are graded with the same standards. So, if you plan to become an online student, don’t expect the professor to grade your work less strictly or expect less from you.
The Verdict: Neither Type of Education is Less Demanding
Online Classes: You Can Work on Them Anywhere Anytime
Many online courses tend to release learning material for the week, which students can complete in their own time. Online classes can be seen at any time and anywhere as long as you have wifi! As it offers time flexibility, it is an option that is accessible for students who have busy time schedules.
On-campus Classes: Pre-Set Lecture Times and Location
With on-campus education, you are assigned set lecture times that you cannot choose. On-campus classes must be seen at a specific time and a specific location (university campus). This reduces its accessibility for those who have to focus on more than college.
The Verdict: Online Classes Are More Accessible
Cost of Education
Online Classes: No Housing or Commute Costs
On-campus Classes: On-Campus Facilities and Commute Costs
On-campus education involves a higher total cost. This is because it involves the added costs of university facilities, university housing or commuting, and a university meal plan.
The Verdict: Online Class Costs are Reduced
Student Mental Health
Online Classes: No Comparing Your Grades to Your Classmate
Online education doesn’t involve as much of a competitive nature between students. As an online student, your focus is on learning and getting your work done. You won’t feel as much pressure as in a classroom setting where you compare your grades to those of other students.
On-campus Classes: Competitive Environment
On-campus education involves a competitive environment. Just picture finishing a math exam and comparing answers with fellow students just to feel inadequate since you got completely different answers.
The Verdict: On-Campus Education Has a More Competitive Nature
Which Type of College Education is Best For Me?
The difference between online and traditional education is the learning format, not the difficulty level. If you had in-person classes in high school and appreciated the guidance teachers offered, you might find an online education hard. Actually, a national research study found that 78% of 1000 students surveyed thought traditional classes were easier than online classes.
So you might be asking yourself which one suits me best?
An online program will suit you if you:
An in-person on-campus program will suit you if you:
We hope you now understand the difference between these two styles of college education. Online and in-person classes coexist so that students can pick the option that best suits their time availability and learning preference.
If you are just starting out on your college journey and haven’t yet bought your college textbooks, be sure to check our articles on 7 Top Websites to Find Free College Textbooks in 2020.
We know that many choose an online education due to being at a later stage in life where they have a more demanding time schedule due to family or work. In case you are considering college at a later stage in life, read our article on 5 Reasons Why You Are Not Too Old for College.