Online schooling still has a discussion element to it, often in a forum or discussion board. On-campus students have to choose a stance or formulate a thought in class quickly, and sometimes speak before they’ve fully examined everything. In an online environment, students can spend as much time as they want thinking about and honing their own ideas. This can lead to greater conﬁdence and more elegant discussions.
Many students in classroom environments aren’t comfortable speaking in public. In an online environment, it can be much easier to share thoughts with others. With 74 percent of people suffering from speech anxiety, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, online education tends to foster better class participation.
It’s easy for minds to wander during a lecture. University of California psychologist Jonathan Schooler found that students lose focus about 5 times in a 45-minute class session. In many online programs, however, students can review words from professors instantly, either by rewinding the audio or video or by reading the transcript that accompanies the lecture.
This is the most appealing beneﬁt of online education for students with many duties to balance. Since everything is available online, accessing class materials and submitting work is very convenient. Exactly when and where this takes place is up to student, as long as assignment due dates are met.
With an estimated 93 percent of communication being non-verbal, online students don’t have to worry about body language interfering with their message. While body language can be effective sometimes, academics are more about ideas, and online education eliminates physical judgments that can cloud rational discussion.
Many degree programs today incorporate some sort of group project or teamwork. Working with others on-campus or locally means coordinating speciﬁc days and times so everyone can attend. Distance learning programs, however, foster virtual communication and allow students to work with team members via email, chat rooms and other easy-to-use methods.
On-campus students may have to endure in-person lectures that last hours. While not all online programs are built the same, many use PowerPoint presentations and other media that students can digest in pieces. In other words, a student can experience the ﬁrst half of a lesson one day, and the second half the next day. This can be especially helpful for those who don’t enjoy sitting in one place for too long.
Traditional students are often limited to courses and teachers close to home. The online student can take a French course from a teacher in France and a travel-writing course from a writer who’s actually out travelling, without having to leave home.