It is 2014 and there is still much resistance to the progress of distance learning. Yes, student debt is exorbitant, but that beast has been feeding on student bank accounts since before any of the recent controversy. Consider this: today we have options to listen to vinyl records and digital downloads; to read volumes of novels and gigabytes of e-lit; pen and paper, keyboard and screen. New technology has made things more convenient and more fast-paced. Daily life may feel less physical, but social media has created more interaction and connectivity between people. Distance learning is no different: It’s convenient and fast-paced, perhaps less physical, but still keeps you interactive and connected.

And yet…and yet there’s still this resistance to accepting that it is a mode of education that can be more than just supplemental to an on campus experience: distance learning is more than beneficial, as our world becomes more cyber-based, more global, more connected. Would I be writing about this on the Internet if it weren’t true?

Without further ado, here are just a handful of myths about online education.

  1. The courses are easier. Online courses are held to the same standards as classroom courses. Many schools adhere to strict time schedules, that although are flexible and convenient, you still need to turn in tests or papers by specific dates. Besides, why do you even want to attend school if not to be challenged?

  2. It is easier to cheat. Technology is constantly advancing. So too is secure technology regarding online studying. Think your friend can take a test for you? Think again! Your school may request access to your computer’s camera to make sure you are the one taking the test. Likewise, there may be security questions that pop up in the middle of the test to verify your identity. Even if you attain that degree, it won’t be worth much if you can’t proved you earned it in your career.

  3. It won’t be time consuming. As mentioned earlier, distance learning can provide flexibility and convenience for someone who may not have the time or ability to attend school on a traditional campus. But that only means that you have to be even more self-disciplined to get the job done. No “my dog ate my computer” excuses. Proper time management is key. Get. It. Done.

  4. Online universities are “for profit” and just want my money. This isn’t true in all cases. While some universities out there may exhibit aggressive marketing tactics to snare unsuspecting students, there are plenty of great, non-profit, and fully accredited online universities out there. It’s important to do the research ahead of time, devise of list of accredited universities, and find out what school is the right fit for you and your future career.
  5. Courses are nothing more than digital textbooks. This may be true for some of your courses, but there can be some really dull, by-the-book classes on campus as well. Online videos and graphics can make the online learning process much more interactive. Another reason to do your research before you pick your school.

  6. There is no interaction with other student’s or professors. Many online universities offer online forums for students to interact with classmates and professors. If you’re a shy person, studying online could be more advantageous, since you will be in the comfort of your own home, instead of in (most likely) an unfamiliar and uncomfortable environment. Not to mention all your new Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Check out some of our previous posts about online forums for students, and how to be professional on social media.

  7. The faculty is not as adept. Arguably, the faculty can be even more adept than being in the classroom. If you feel more relaxed and focus studying online, it makes sense a professor could feel more focused teaching online. Schools often have stricter class limits to online classes, which makes the need for a great professor even higher.

  8. I’ll go crazy staring at a computer all day! As you shouldn’t expect to stare at a text book all day on campus, neither should you consider staring at a computer all day with distance learning. Many courses will suggest ways to supplement the online material with offline activities. Read other books, attend different events, interact with your community. There are as various different ways to make the on- and off-line worlds collide as there are pathways to a degree. Here are more tips on how to get involved offline.

  9. The degree is less legitimate. As mentioned already, the degree isn’t any easier to obtain, and an accredited university is an accredited university. So why would the degree be any different? Think about it: does your future employer want someone who knows their way around a computer and can work with a cyber team? Definitely! It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to think that many of your coworkers or your boss may have gotten their degrees online as well.

Remember: there is no one right way to get a degree. If there was, everyone would go to Harvard and the world would be a super boring place because everyone would know everything already. But it’s not, and the world continues to be interesting. In the not-so-distant future, a list like this will be obsolete, but your degree won’t be! Find out what school and what program works best for you and make that dream of attaining a degree come true.