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Is online university study worth it?

A lot has changed in the past 18 months. The pandemic has altered a lot of our daily routines, and not always in a negative way – you may find you are exercising, reading or relaxing more than you did previously.

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With these new habits in mind, you may be looking at other big decisions in life in a new light. One of which, as we’ll explore, may be undertaking further study.

Previously, you might never have even considered any alternatives to the traditional university experience of on-campus learning. But online university courses are becoming more commonplace, and offer their own set of unique benefits – some of which we’ll explore below.

History

Online courses are not a new phenomenon. For years, universities around the world (including Birmingham City University) have been designing courses specifically for online delivery.

Going even further back, offline “distance learning” courses have been around for decades, with off-campus study helping thousands of students to start or enhance their career paths. Since then, the experience has become increasingly interactive as new technologies have emerged to support remote learning.

Online ordinary

The old adage of “you can do anything on computers these days” gets truer by the day! Even before lockdown, you might have regularly shopped, planned and unwound via the internet. Now, the laptop has become the hub of modern life, allowing us to socialise with family and friends, carry on working from home, and supplant otherwise everyday experiences like grocery shopping.

So why should university be any different? Most on-campus courses have a substantial online component already, and an online course just expands on that. You’ll still be having seminars with lecturers, still be working on group projects, and still be graduating alongside everyone else.

It will, of course, mean less in-person interaction than campus-based university life, but you’ve quite likely been socialising with friends for the past 18 months via a laptop screen, so you might already have proven it’s still possible to make new friends and connect with your classmates online!

Same reward

It always bears repeating that, despite any misconceptions you might be aware of, online degrees are exactly as valuable in the eyes of employers as on-campus degrees. The stigma that online degrees are somehow less worthwhile, or “easier”, than those taught in-person, simply isn’t true – they are exactly as demanding, and equally as rewarding.

All degrees have to go through a validation process, which can also include validation from any awarding bodies related to the course, in order to meet strict internal and external regulations. In fact, where a course is offered both online and on-campus, in most cases you will find that course content is identical across both versions. What’s more, online study opens up many more options to you. It could allow you to attend, and graduate from, a university far away from any of those available to you if you were to attend in person - since some online degrees allow you to study from almost anywhere in the world!

Cost

Finally, cost is always a factor when considering which course to study. Online study can help to manage the costs of studying, and to avoid some of the costs associated with studying in-person such as travel and accommodation. Plus, the added benefit of having more flexible study hours could make it easier for you to carry on with any job you already have, helping you to finance your studies.

Got any questions about online master’s study with us? Read our FAQ.