As the internet closes in on 100% saturation levels in certain parts of the world, the concept of cyber school is growing. Cyber schools exists in the K-12 range and for every level of college/university education as well. Classes occur online and some degrees are even offered without ever needing to be in a physical classroom. In this modern age, there are certainly advantages to this type of school, but there are some disadvantages that must be weighed as well.
On the subject of cyber schools, here are some of the key points that should be considered before deciding one is right for you.
What Are the Pros of Cyber School?
1. It allows for people to work on their own time.
Even if group work is assigned through a cyber school class, students are able to work more on their own schedule than forcing their life around school. This means parents can still work during the day and earn a living or kids who struggle to sit through a traditional class can make school better work for them.
2. It is cost effective.
Cyber schools are generally much cheaper than traditional schools because fewer resources are required. Although students still have the costs of textbooks and other school supplies, there are no transportation costs or room and board requirements. School can happen at home and this cuts down on the costs of student loans very dramatically.
3. Students still receive personal interactions.
One-on-one learning opportunities still happen through cyber school. In the past, this happened through personalized emails and instant messages between professor/teacher and student. Today, with broadband speeds being installed in a number of homes, video calls can happen with regularity so that face-to-face instruction may occur when needed.
4. Degrees count the same in the employer market.
Employers don’t care whether you sat through 3 hours of class per day in a classroom or studied in the middle of the night after your kids went to bed. A degree from a cyber school is worth just as much as a degree that is traditionally earned. This gives people options today when it comes to advancement needs at work or the chance to break into a new field of employment.
What Are the Cons of Cyber School?
1. There are rarely any personal interactions.
Cyber schools may offer the same educational experiences as traditional schools, but there is one thing missing: the social aspect of school. People don’t get together after class and they don’t have study groups that help opinions build upon each other. There may be group sessions and instant messaging, but typing and talking are ultimately two separate tasks that create two separate impressions on people.
2. A person’s spelling and grammar become important.
Because people are judged not based on sight, but on how they communicate with others through cyber school, grammar and spelling become the foundation of a first impression. Someone using SMS text abbreviations in their messages or the presence of frequent misspelled words can make it seem like that person is unintelligent to those who read the messages. In a regular conversation, there is no need for these components and so the first impressions people have may be very different.
3. People can slide through on group assignments.
Although participation levels are tracked in cyber school, a group session online can allow some students to slide through an assignment and get a good grade without doing much, or any, work. This puts a greater burden on the other students involved in the project, creates dissent within the class, and ultimately lowers morale. A professor or teacher who is constantly monitoring interactions can prevent some of this, but not every offender will be caught.
4. It requires internet resources.
Although internet saturation is high in the US, this isn’t true throughout the entire world. Some regions have less than 50% saturation. This means that cyber schools are not available to everyone at this point in time, even if someone is qualified to be enrolled. A lack of internet resources naturally limits opportunities. Even if someone has the internet connected to their home, a DNS error, modem ping, or other tech issue could make it impossible to connect to the school’s platform.
The pros and cons of cyber school show that a quality education can still be received. As long as the disadvantages are accounted for, many can use the benefits of cyber school to achieve their personal goals and dreams in life.