4 Reasons Online Learning DESTROYS On-campus Learning in 2017

I don’t really care what TV, government, your parents, and “society” have told you about going to college.  Let’s be real about it; it can be quite a gamble.

Between the actual tuition costs, living expenses, and opportunity costs that are associated with 4, 5, 6….or more years of higher education, in 2017 there is little guarantee of the payoffs that we’ve all been “promised”.

Although I still endorse college for those who are serious about it, have a plan in mind about how they want to approach it, and who are realistic about how much money they should spending on a college degree, I can’t agree with much of what is going on on college campuses throughout the country in modern times  As such, I encourage anyone looking to study or work at a higher education institution to think long and hard about everything that must be contended with, in some manner or another, on a traditional campus.

My reasons for avoiding campus and going online (both online learning and online teaching):

Legislation Legalizing Campus Carry

Truth be told, I don’t have a major problem with guns and I respect and value Second Amendment rights.  However, thinking back to a lot of the knuckleheads I knew while studying and working on a college campus, particularly 18-year-old kids coming to class drunk (which may have been me a time or two), I wouldn’t want to be sitting in class with any of them on a normal day, yet alone the day when they’re packing heat.

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Even college football stadiums are ALMOST allowing firearms (SEC stadiums, at that!)  The annual “Iron Bowl” game between Alabama and Auburn will never be more… exciting!

Again, I am not “anti-gun” at all, but you’re much less likely to be smoked by a trigger-happy sophomore from the comfort of your home office than you are while sitting in World Civilization 212 at State U.

Attacks on Free Speech

Although I wasn’t around during the 1960’s, I know that it was period of intense social strife and change.  Much of the action took place on college campuses with many students and activists fighting passionately for, among other things, freedom of speech on college campuses.

Oh how things change.

In less than 50 years, some of the campuses and communities that fought the most passionately for campus free speech are now doing everything in their power to limit or even end freedom of speech.  Because of this, you’re more likely to be reported to the Dean of Students for your provocative essay on Socrates than you are to be lauded for your unique and refreshingly new and diverse arguments.

Sure, your online university may possess similar limitations, but the everyday influence that these restrictions have (talking in informal settings, going to non-university offered lectures, etc.) will be far less invasive.

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Paying for things you don’t need

I can’t say that I was ever interested in hanging out in the student union or attending synchronized swimming competitions.

Regardless, I was charged fees, just like all of my fellow students, in order to support these areas.

Of course, we all pay for things in an involuntary manner (taxes) that we oftentimes don’t use for the sake of others.  But is the new $60 million dollar addition to the student fitness center really necessary?  How about the $45k per-year salary for the new assistant to the assistant records handler trainee administrator in the Office of Students Against Greek Life Department?

Tuition continues to climb ever higher…and it isn’t because universities are hiring more full-time professors.

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With rather limited administrative staffs, services, and brick and mortar campuses to maintain, the overhead costs/fees for an online education look a lot better.

Party Culture

Ok, this one is a bit of a cop-out and I know that I am being a bit hypocritical by mentioning this angle.  I definitely had my fair share of fun throughout my college days.

However, looking back, I think about the money and time wasted on alcohol, drunken hazes, and sleeping past noon.  I think about the classes that seem so interesting in hindsight that I didn’t appreciate because of my preference for doing as little as possible to pass and to simply make it to that next party.  I think about how my life could have been much different had I not possessed much better-than-average time management skills that enabled me to party and still make it through with a decent GPA.

Sure, some campuses have more of a party reputation than others, but that temptation is always there lurking.  Plus, there is just something different about the campus party scene than more “standard” nights out.  By removing yourself from that scene, you can have fun on your own time and will likely make better work-study-party balancing decisions.  Your wallet, liver, and future self will appreciate it!

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Ultimately, there are a lot of good reasons for enrolling and attending college in a traditional, on-campus environment.  However, in 2017, these reasons are are starting to diminish and you shouldn’t compromise your financial status, personal liberties, and even safety just to sit an an overpriced and overcrowded classroom.  Online learning (and online teaching) IS the future for serious students.

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