Myth-buster: Five Myths of Pursuing an Online Education
Online education is on the rise with a record 33 percent of active higher education students across the nation enrolled in online programs in 2012. Online formats give students the opportunity to study at their preferred brick-and-mortar university regardless of their proximity to the school’s campus location. They offer flexibility in time management, speed to completion and a customized learning experience. All of these benefits align with the growing popularity among professionals, yet there are still myths that can make prospective students hesitant.
To dispel these myths, two Loyola University New Orleans online program professors—Bethany Brown, Ph.D., and Jane Savage R.N., Ph.D., CNE, LCCE, FACCE explain the common myths associated with online education.
1. MYTH: Online degrees are not as valuable as a degree earned on a physical campus.
Bethany Brown, Ph.D.: “The online version of any degree, especially the programs we offer at Loyola University New Orleans, are just as valuable as any degree program on campus. We keep the same faculty, the same coursework and the same rigor in each course—the only change is the format in which you take it.”
Jane Savage R.N., Ph.D., CNE, LCCE, FACCE: “I couldn’t agree with Bethany more. It speaks volumes that in addition to our academics being nationally recognized as an institution, our online programs are being singled out for their excellence as well. The online format is simply a wonderful convenience feature that offers access to those unable to attend a physical classroom due to barriers like a busy schedule or geographic location.”
2. MYTH: The courses are shorter, so curriculum must be getting skipped over.
Jane Savage R.N., Ph.D., CNE, LCCE, FACCE: “Online courses often range from 8 to 11 weeks depending on the course of study chosen. While an online course is certainly more flexible, the course load requirements are the same as any course offered on campus. No curriculum is skipped over, and if anything, presents a new opportunity for students to further the value of the delivered curriculum from being in an online environment. That is, by communicating in a digital space unconstrained by a specific lecture time, the discussions held by students have much more thought behind them since they have the time and flexibility to research and apply new knowledge before posting.”
3. MYTH: Online faculty is unavailable and difficult to reach.
Jane Savage R.N., Ph.D., CNE, LCCE, FACCE: “Loyola’s distance programs, first offered in 1996, are among the most developed and innovative options available. I am proud of our faculty’s dedication and regular communication with both campus and online students, and that comes from each faculty member being committed to not just the program, but the student as an individual.”
Bethany Brown, Ph.D.: “Many of our faculty has been known to respond to e-mails at all hours of the night, complementing a Personal Support Center that is available for all of our online students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week should they have any technical issues. At Loyola, we believe having an accessible faculty is important to student success, regardless of the format of the classroom.
4. MYTH: There will be no structure to keep students on track.
Bethany Brown, Ph.D.: “Online courses, while designed with the flexibility to fit into your current schedule, still have deadlines. At the beginning of each course, students receive a syllabus outlining the same course content, assignments, project and deadlines that you will be measured by, just as you would in a course taken in a physical setting.”
5. MYTH: It will be difficult to communicate with classmates.
Bethany Brown, Ph.D.: “Most online courses, including the programs at Loyola University New Orleans, have a discussion component that mirrors debates and conversations that take place in a classroom. These discussion boards also have a secret benefit you cannot normally develop in a physical setting, and that is of written communication. From a professional standpoint, the online communication factor is an added bonus for students that comes naturally as they progress throughout the program and is directly applicable to their current careers. Good communication, especially digitally, is critical for professional advancement.”
Online Access – Anytime, Anywhere
Loyola’s online graduate nursing programs give working professionals the opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience while continuing to work in their field. There are no on-campus requirements, and all courses are available online 24/7. All online courses are taught by the same renowned professors that teach on campus.