In today’s world, speed is of the essence. Information, the new commodity in the world is moving at speeds unimaginable 5 years ago. As such, the student of the 21st century must learn to adapt to these changes. Unfortunately, with the way today’s economy is, students are in a greater bind than their parents a generation ago. It is therefore, necessary for them to take online courses to ease some life pains associated with the current scholastic situation.
The baby boomer generation, as well as their parents, the generations that made our country a powerhouse, had it a bit simpler. Although, college was not for everyone, many attended, allowing the number of Americans with college degrees to rise to about 28%, a five-fold increase since 1940. (Symonds, 2005) Although many had to work through college and sustain themselves one way or another, the familial backbone was behind them to guarantee that they succeed. Today, with more and more people seeking to enter college, and very high competition it is not as simple as it once was.
The rise of a large middle class in the US following World War Two, as well as the GI Bill, allowed for families to help their kids go to college and pay for it. The costs were nearly not as high as they are now and it was seen as their right to get the education they deserved. Hence, many didn’t need to worry about surviving while attending college. Today much has changed, a college education will range from $50,000-$100,000 for four years, depending on where a student goes. This might or might not include: tuition, books, supplies, food, rent, leisure, etc. With the costs of rent, school, books and life in general skyrocketing, topped with lack of well paying jobs, students are forced to work in a service industry that pays menial wages and drains lots of energy. Many students, opt to working full time to support themselves, while at the same time looking for options that will make life a bit easier during their studies.
It is for the above-mentioned reasons, that many students, desire to attend community colleges in the beginning of their studies, save money, and transfer into 4-year institutions. Coupled with work, sometimes a young family, or lack of motivation, many will find refuge in online courses provided by their schools. Having taken one personally, one can say that online courses are great if a person is working full-time with a very hectic schedule, and has problems attending courses regularly. There might also be a transportation problem associated with getting to classes on time, or getting there at all. The online course, therefore, takes a great burden off the person. The problem is that it is not a simple as one might think.
An online course requires dedication and motivation to be successful, just like any other class. One must discipline him or herself in order to stay on top of the work. For some, obviously it might come easier, while harder for others, but in general with so much material to cover, it is always better to set yourself a schedule that will be manageable. (Los Angeles Harbor College, 2005) Unfortunately, with no need to attend classes regularly, many might find that it is better to just look over the material at the last minute, thus giving oneself more free time for leisurely activities. This, however, obviously will not work and needs to be addressed before taking the course.
It is safe to assume that the current situation will not change soon. The days of affordable college for everyone are long gone. It is necessary for many students to balance full-time work, family and school. An online course is a great way to substitute certain parts of the day with studies, it is however, necessary to maintain disciple and dedication to be successful.
Works Cited 2005. 21 February 2011 <http://www.lahc.edu/disted.htm>. Symonds, William C. America The Uneducated. 21 November 2005. 21 February 2011 <http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_47/b3960108.htm>