Research Project: The Switch to Asynchronous Learning

            Recently, college students got a glimpse of online school due to the pandemic. The trend of asynchronous online school has already been growing in recent years but came to an unexpected climax throughout the 2020-2021 school year. Of course, due to the pandemic, learning online was not necessarily a choice for a lot of students. It is important to talk about this topic because going forward, more students will choose asynchronous online college considering the many benefits including reduced cost and more flexibility.  

            A major benefit of online college is the reduced total cost. Not only is tuition cheaper, but also take into account the immense cost of living, food, textbooks, transportation, etc. College is costly and not everyone can manage to pay for it. Recent statistics from the US Federal Reserve show that there are “44.7 million Americans with student loan debt” (Student Loan Hero). Online college provides students with the opportunity to receive a degree and education without having to spend a substantial amount that leads to student debt. Many students rule out online school because they suppose they won’t receive a valuable education, but in reality, according to the article Is Attending College Online Cheaper Than Traditional College written by staff members on Best Value Schools website, there’s “really no correlation between the costs of a degree and quality of education (Best Value Schools).” The quality of education depends on the student’s determination and how much work they’re willing to put in. 

            According to US News, the availability of financial aid for online college varies. This could potentially be a drawback for some, but luckily Emma Kerr, author of the article What You’ll Pay for an Online Bachelor’s Degree,” emphasizes how online colleges have been “adding institutional aid in recent years, even creating scholarships specifically for online students” (Kerr). According to U.S. News and World Report, an online bachelor’s degree from a private college costs $488 per online credit hour, while also charging $1,240 per credit for on-campus (two and a half times as much). The most inexpensive route would be to take classes at an exclusively online program. Brandon Swenson wrote the article “Online College Tuition Comparisions: Online vs. In-Person” back in November to contrast the tuition costs for different learning styles. Schools solely offering online courses have fewer expenses because, as Swenson says, they require fewer buildings to operate, and do not employ nearly as many staff members that traditional colleges rely on” (Swenson). These less expensive tuition costs result in saving thousands of dollars. Although the amount of money you save depends on what college you are enrolled in, online college is still cheaper than traditional facetoface learning. 

           A significant perk of asynchronous online college is the additional flexibility. Recent studies from the US Department of Converse show that approximately 80% of parttime college students are employed. Carrying a workload on top of classes leaves students with limited time to complete assignments and to study. The article “What the Shift to Virtual Learning Could Mean for the Future of Higher Ed” written by Vijay Govindarajan and Anup Srivatsa goes in depth about how online college could affect not only students, but colleges as well. Online college allows students to learn and work “at their own pace and place” (Govindarajan and Srivastava). Each and every student has their own unique capacities and  asynchronous online classes allow students to construct their learning around what works best for them. For example, some students work better later in the day and with an asynchronous online schoolthey can do their work when it best suits them. This flexibility ultimately leads to preserving information better and creating greater results.  

 

Link for the statistics of employed students: 

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/pdf/coe_ssa.pdf 

 

            Traditional faceto-face college classes often move at a fast pace, leading students to quickly shift into new topics before fully comprehending the previous ones. This adds levels of stress to students and according to U.S. News, people ages 18 through 23 reported education as their most significant source of stress” (Kerr). During the article “Stress in College Students: What to Know,” Kerr goes on to renounce the effects of stress by saying how heightened chronic stress can become unhealthy and lead to serious long-term health and social consequences” (Kerr). Online college permits students to grasp concepts at their own pace, which provides the student with a more fully comprehensive understanding of a topic. Allowing students to work at their own pace essentially leaves students with an enhanced understanding, less stress (aka healthier), and improved grades.  

            Due to the pandemic, students everywhere have received a taste of what online school, specifically college, feels likeMoving forward, the number of students enrolled in asynchronous online college will increase due to the benefits in both cost and flexibility. Online college primarily benefits students with busy schedules and students who are not willing to spend a vast amount of money. Some students prefer remote learning while others do not. It is not for everyone. Although many students are eager to return face to face after the pandemic, many students have also found a liking for remote learning. Students got a sample of what online school is like this past 2020-2021 school year. They were “forced” into an online learning style because of the pandemic, but this introduced many to a new learning style that better fits their needs and a style that they prefer.  

 

 

  

Works Cited 

Govindarajan, V., & Srivastava, A. (2021, February 01). What the shift to virtual learning could mean for the future of higher ed. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2020/03/what-the-shift-to-virtual-learning-could-mean-for-the-future-of-higher-ed# 

Is attending college online cheaper than traditional college? (2021, April 09). Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.bestvalueschools.com/faq/is-attending-college-online-cheaper-than-attending-a-traditional-college/ 

Kerr, E. (2020, January 14). What you’ll pay for an online bachelor’s degree. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.usnews.com/higher-education/online-education/articles/what-youll-pay-for-an-online-bachelors-degree 

Kerr, E. (2020, October 26). Stress in college students: What to know. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/stress-in-college-students-what-to-know 

Swenson, B. (2020, November 19). Online college tuition comparison: Online vs. in-person. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.grantham.edu/blog/online-college-tuition-comparison-online-vs-in-person/ 

U.S. student loan debt statistics for 2021. (2021, January 27). Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics/#:~:text=The%20most%20recent%20data%20indicate,delinquent%20or%20are%20in%20default. 

 

 

 

 

 

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