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On-campus or Online Courses: 2021 Choice

On-campus or Online Courses 2021: If you are a junior specialist, it is always important to keep up with the latest discoveries in your professional field and acquire new skills. As a result, it is sometimes required to enroll in a college or university course, which often takes a lot of energy, time, and money.

However, modern technologies offer another way to gain the required knowledge, skills-set, or qualification. These days, it is possible to learn online in the comfort of your home with the help of online courses for all budgets. Let’s analyze the pros and cons of the two possible ways to gain new qualifications: conventional and technology-driven.

Online Courses: Advantages

On-campus or Online Courses

A few decades ago, online courses were considered a real rarity, while offline university courses were the only possible way to obtain new skills and knowledge. However, the tables have drastically turned. These days it is possible to learn any topic or subject with the help of technology-driven low-cost online courses offered by world-leading universities.

Here is the list of the main advantages you get if choosing online courses:

Costs Reduction

As a rule, online courses cost less compared to the offline offers of the same university. This cost reduction is possible due to several reasons. First, the university does not need to pay extra money for classroom maintenance: buying classroom materials, keeping the place clean, and other necessary expenses. Second, a student cuts his expenses since there is no need to make a morning/evening commute or relocate to another country.

As it is known, these expenses can be quite considerable (public transport fees or fuel, parking, and car maintenance costs), let alone the amount of money a student should spend if he or she wants to study abroad. All these expenses do not affect an online student’s expenditure.

Geographic Flexibility

As was mentioned, online courses make it possible to study in prominent universities or colleges without being physically present in the country of their location. Students tend to pay attention to the proximity of the chosen colleges while selecting the appropriate program. Nevertheless, many top colleges and universities are not located within students’ reach.

Learning in these top universities requires relocating to attend the lectures and seminars. However, not all students can be ready for that due to financial issues, family, or a job in their current city. Online courses do not require any moving, time, and living expenses. It should be also noted that some degrees are not responsible in potential students’ local universities. Therefore, online education provides students with a high level of geographic flexibility.

Flexible Schedule

In online education, students have more freedom. Online courses do not require sticking to a strict fixed schedule. Instead, an online student can choose the optimal time when they want to study. As a result, the flexible schedule that online courses offer leads to the opportunity to juggle career advancement and studies at courses.

Therefore, online courses can be an excellent choice for those who want to get more qualified, gain more experience, boost their performance and expertise in the chosen field where they have already started working.

Indeed, having other commitments would not interfere with the learning process to the extent that it usually interferes with the offline mode of studying. Also, the online course would be good for women who are currently on maternity leave and. for some reason, want to change their profession.

Networking Opportunities

Online education is a great way to meet peers and professors from all around the world. This often leads to expanding one’s horizons and obtaining new opportunities for building a high-quality professional network. As a result, students can keep all important contacts to collaborate with other professionals later in their professional life.

At the same time, online studying makes students more sensitive to other cultures since they have to work in a multi-cultural environment.


Each course involves using a lot of paper and electronic materials. Studying at offline courses often means a bulk of papers where it is incredibly difficult to find the required information. In online education, the situation is quite the opposite.

The information used in an online course is stored in the online database to ensure a quick search. The same goes for the project and live discussions and emails. This option especially comes in handy while researching a final or milestone project.

Career Advancement

For many students with a permanent job, the significant advantage of online education is the possibility to combine both studying and career. Students can easily work during the daytime and then advance their learning process during weekends, holidays, or evenings. Furthermore, this combination might drastically boost the learner’s performance and effectiveness at work due to a great opportunity to try out the acquired skills and knowledge right away.

Also, workers who gain the required degree or qualification may receive the desired raise or be promoted to a higher position.


In the time of the 2020 pandemic, it is better to say at home. Although universities, colleges try hard to create safe conditions for teachers and students, it is quite possible to catch Covid-19 while attending lectures. Online courses keep you safe since there is no need to leave home.

Online courses: Disadvantages

Despite the convenience and flexibility of online education, it has both advantages and disadvantages. The cons of taking an online course can be connected to such factors as procrastination and the lack of face-to-face communication and instant help.

Lack of face-to-face communication

Online courses do not include any face-to-face communication, which makes it difficult to establish a connection with peers and teachers. Moreover, the lack of live communication increases the possibility of being misunderstood while clarifying some aspects, especially if the online course is provided by foreign universities or colleges.

In addition to that, it is hard to spend so much time in front of the screen to accomplish all the required assignments, watch or read the lectures, and write emails.

Requires more time and efforts

Although online education provides students with a flexible schedule, online education often requires spending more time and effort to acquire new skills and information. At first glance, this fact might seem a bit paradoxical. Nevertheless, we indeed spend more time on reading and typing than on listening and expressing our ideas orally.

The online learning model is mostly based on reading diverse texts, the exchange of type messages, and emails. Even those students who are fast at typing can say the same thing much faster. As for reading, all students tend to go back to those moments in the given text that they cannot understand.

Furthermore, online students often have to do a lot of self-study and quick researches to keeping up with the program. Constant rereading, typing, and self-study make online education more time-consuming compared to on-campus studying.

The level of teaching

As a rule, online courses offer the assistance of branded professors with high expertise. However, these teachers tend to put more hard work and effort into their lectures conducted online. It is not easy to find a reason why we have such a tendency in this aspect.

Perhaps, this tendency can be explained by the fact that professors are more in contact with their offline students. Another possible reason is that most of the materials are already covered in pre-made videos, texts, and audio lectures. In this case, the only thing that is left for a professor is to answer students’ questions and queries.

Motivation problems

The presence of other people helps to maintain a healthy learning environment both for teachers and students. On-campus studying ensures a competitive spirit among learners, helping them to stay motivated and keep up with other students’ progress.

Moreover, students can easily skip days or weeks of online studying in a row. Later on, procrastination results in an absolute inability to pass the final test or complete coursework.

Time-management skills and self-discipline

As we can see, inline education requires students to be incredibly self-motivated, self-disciplined, and have good time-management skills. In all other cases, a student starts to procrastinate, skip learning, and struggle with the amount of work before the quickly approaching deadline.

Having a computer as the only companion in the process of studying is quite a difficulty. Therefore, before taking an online course it is necessary to make sure that you are self-disciplined enough to manage such freedom.

Technical issues

As they say, everything can happen. Therefore, you may spend some time trying to resolve technical glitches or problems with your Internet connection.

University courses: Advantages

On-campus courses

As for the traditional mode of study, students may enjoy such advantages as teachers’ constant support and guidance, a real-time learning environment, more inspiring face-to-face communication.

Real-time classrooms: face-to-face communication, motivation, guidance.

The attendance of real-time classrooms has several advantages. The presence of more inspiring face-to-face interactions enables a quick exchange of ideas and opinions, team spirit thanks to being among other students, professors’ immediate help, and so forth. As a result, students become more motivated to learn and share their ideas with other students while collaboration on different projects.

A conventional classroom enables a professor to quickly check if students get the point in the right way. As for students, they can immediately clarify all doubtful or vague points without any delay. In online education, lectures are usually prerecorded, which makes immediate clarification impossible.

There are more possibilities for students to build strong and long-lasting professional relationships or friendships with other students in on-campus classes. Online courses indeed allow communicating with many different people from all around the world. However, this mode of studying does not create good conditions for friendship cultivation.

In online education, no classroom discussion creates only a one-sided understanding of the topic. As for the on-campus mode, all students are encouraged to ask a question, share their doubts or opinions. Altogether, these discussions and debates broaden students’ understanding of the material. Furthermore, professors often tell subject-related stories and recommend books, documentary films, and other materials. As a result, students tend to learn more than just basic course knowledge.

Schedule and Discipline

In on-campus studying, students have a constant non-flexible schedule. This constant schedule makes the learning process more systematic and disciplined. Offline students tend to procrastinate less and have fewer distractions.

University Courses: Disadvantages

The main disadvantages of on-campus courses include extremely high costs, time wasted on commutes, and lack of freedom.

High cost

On-campus courses always have higher tuition fees compared to online courses. If a student has to study abroad, they have to spend extra money on travel expenses and accommodation.

Lack of independence and freedom

Certain people get demotivated if there is someone who tells them when and how to do something. Offline studying makes students dependent on a teacher almost in every aspect of studying. As for online learning, students tend to rely more on additional research and materials that are always at hand.

Everyday commute

Studying in university or college involves spending a considerable amount of time on morning and evening commutes. Of course, this time can be spent on something useful, e.g., reading or listening to audiobooks. Nevertheless, it should be noted that online courses do not involve any need to spend time getting from your residence to the chosen university or college. Online courses make it possible to learn something anywhere where the Internet connection is present.

As can be seen, online courses have a lot of advantages. The main one is that this model helps students to be safe during the pandemic. Therefore, online courses can be an optimal choice for students who want to start gaining a new qualification in 2020.

Adrian Walter

Adrian Walter is a writer with expertise in such fields as education, history, Eastern philosophy, and literature. Adrian is especially skillful in fiction storytelling and academic writing (he is a freelancer at In his spare time, Adrian loves to play darts and golf, swim, learning foreign languages.  

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