Students praise online education for its convenience and flexibility. 

Studying virtually may not be the traditional way to earn a degree, but high tech learning is growing in popularity.  According to the most recent data from the 2013 Survey of Online Learning Report, 7.1 million of higher education students are taking at least one online course. 

Going the distance 

Online education, also called distance education, typically involves taking a class via the internet, including webcasts, audio or videoconferencing, prerecorded instructional videos or studying materials on websites or DVD. 

“Ensure that you’re getting a quality program that’s going to give you what it claims to give you.” 

One of the biggest misconceptions about online education is the quality of educational programs. “Not all programs are created equal,” says Max Espinoza, Senior Vice President of Education Programs & Policy at Scholarship America, the largest national provider of private scholarships, who urges students to research online programs before enrolling. 

“Ensure that you’re getting a quality program that’s going to give you what it claims to give you,” he says. 

Program benefits 

Online classes are available in a variety of topics including history, architecture and health. 

“Some well respected institutions are offering online education, for example Harvard and MIT and others,” says Espinoza, suggesting students check out the school offering the coursework; find out who has given the program a “the stamp of approval,” and inquire about the success rates of graduates. 

Busy students are motivated by the convenience and flexibility of online classes, which allows them to study the materials on their own schedule.