By: Sara Loft
Did you know that in 1873, educator Ana Eliot Ticknor launched the first correspondence program in Boston, Massachusetts? Her vision of recognizing the need to make education available to a wider audience is more evident today than ever before. The internet has made access to higher education more available by many universities here in Western New York and throughout the United States. In 1989, the University of Phoenix became the first institution to launch an online education program that offered up to a Master’s degree level.
I’ll never forget my first moment registering for my classes for my first semester at college. Here I dreamt of being in big classes with a professor and their huge marker board discussing a lecture. I certainly had a few of those. However, when I went to college, I didn’t realize they had online courses available. It was exciting to see I could go online and learn at home like I did in the classroom! The professor would create a digital classroom (under a portal program) for the entire class, submit documents needed for a class lesson, and we would use our school email address to submit our assigned work. I thought it was totally cool!
Fellow students and I were interactive with the professor within the digital classroom (the portal) because that’s how we were rated for our participation and attendance.
According to a study at the University of the Potomac, 70% of students agree that online classes are better than traditional classroom settings. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., both students and faculty weren’t allowed to enter the classrooms. Because of the Internet and leading software programs such as Microsoft and Adobe, we were able to accept the transition gracefully without falling behind in our fields of study. According to Campus Technology Magazine, a Digital Learning Pulse Survey, conducted by Bay View Analytics found that 73 percent of students prefer some courses to be fully online post-pandemic. Online learning courses allow you to learn at your own pace within the semester instead of a course’s specific in-person timeline.
Remember, online learning is optional. It is a nice option to consider in your academic life. For example, if there is a snowstorm causing travel bans your online class is most likely still available to serve your educational needs. If an online class doesn’t work out for you, you may be able to withdraw from the class without affecting too much of your GPA. Today, there are many options to choose from - all online or a mix of online and in-person. Finding what’s right for you will give you the best chance to fulfill your dreams for the future!