Residential programs are infinitely more interactive than online programs. Students mingle with one another during non-classroom time too. But do we now have a choice?  

The pandemic situation with the novel coronavirus has ensured that the world conducts all businesses and interactions online.

Schools, colleges, and universities have had to toe the line too. Although some institutions are on the verge of opening classroom sessions, most of them have settled for teaching virtually for now. 

Is the virtual classroom experience different from that of the physical classroom? 

The institution may impart classes vide video lessons and web-based sessions. The latter can be as interactive as classroom lectures, but the former does not permit the platform for student-teacher interactions. How else are the two modes of learning different?

The courseware

Is the online classroom syllabus different from the physical classroom syllabus? 

It need not be. The college can plan the same lessons for the online class as the physical ones. But is this the case everywhere? Some institutions may have to trim the courseware either to simplify the efforts of the institute or the tutor, given limited resources, or to reduce internet usage – companies selling web time price the web sessions by the usage duration.

How difficult or easy is the online lesson?

Universities are bound to confer the same degree to their students, whether they teach in the physical classroom or online. The courseware and the faculty are the same for either. There is no reason to believe that lessons would be easier than the physical ones unless the university had chosen to trim the syllabus. 

How flexible is the online program?

Online programs offer flexibility by way of timings and activities. Students can view video lessons at their convenience. They can take live classes from their homes or offices. 

How interactive can the program be?

While the classroom sessions are interactive, the online sessions can also elicit responses, although they may not be as responsive as the physical classes.

To some extent, the interactions between the teacher and the students depend on the nature of the lesson, the student’s inquisitiveness, or the tutor’s rapport with the students.

Some students may choose to remain passive in any class while others can be responsive in any mode. Some topics may elicit more responses than others. Some professors may invite student responses while others may not make students feel comfortable in seeking more clarity in lessons. 

What are the credentials of an online degree viz-a-viz a residential degree?

Universities recognize both online and physical degrees. Since the mode of teaching is the only difference, keeping the same courseware and attendance for either one, there is little difference in earning the degree via physical or online programs. 

Who can take online programs?

Anyone who qualifies to take a physical degree is eligible to take an online program. Formerly, executives who could not leave their jobs would enroll for online programs.

Since we now play safe with distances, the world is looking at online programs until the pandemic situation eases, and institutions are ready to conduct physical classes. 

For now, the classmates you encounter in the online program may be a fresher who has just completed his under graduation or an executive with a few years of work experience. 

Is it a good time to take an online degree?

The present is as good a time as any to take an online degree. Most universities have begun their classroom sessions in the virtual mode, and this scenario is likely to continue for a long time. The method of learning need not impact the decision to enroll in a program.

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