Although there can be some downsides to taking online courses, there are many positives that online courses have to offer. The world is transitioning to a screen oriented, digital era where the majority of what we do is done virtually. Online courses have increased in demand as more people have filled their days with other priorities.

According to the Online Education Database, there are three million students in the U.S. currently enrolled in fully online degree programs and six million students enrolled in at least one online course as part of their degree program.

If you are looking for alternatives to obtain a degree off-campus, here are six real benefits to taking online courses:


Online courses offer students the ability to build their own unique schedule best suited for you. With online classes, there is flexibility that isn’t available when taking a class in person. Online classes are convenient because the majority are not scheduled at a specific time, but instead have assignments, projects and tests due by a specific time and day. Access to these assignments is also available 24 hours a day, allowing you to work on your courses from home at any time of the day.

Progress in Your Field/Career

One of the greater benefits to online courses is the ability to obtain your degree while working full-time. This goes hand in hand with creating a flexible academic schedule that works with your professional schedule. Although it is possible to take in-person courses and go to school, online courses can be taken at your own pace and still allow you to advance in your career. There are also many options available for you to take specific courses that will help you stand out to employers. The desire to continue learning is encouraged and gaining knowledge through online courses can help with the advancement in your career.

Learn Technical Skills

Even if you are not working towards a degree, the opportunity to take shorter, simpler courses are available to expand your knowledge in a particular area. An example of this would be someone working in the medical field who desires to know more about medical billing coding. Medical billing and coding online courses are designed to teach you all about the profession and prepare you for that field. This is an advancement in career, knowledge and something tangible to add to your resume. Other technical skills are available in online courses such as computer literacy, project management, business writing and even language skills.

Greater Class Discussions

During an online course, there are often many opportunities to create classroom discussion. The teachers frequently post questions or topics for the class to comment, post and share in an online forum setting. These discussions have the opportunity to be more enhanced than an in-person classroom setting by allowing every student the opportunity to share their thoughts. Through these discussions, many people can learn from the different insights and it is a great way to learn from peer-to-peer constructive criticism.

Lower Costs

Choosing to take online courses provides you the option to forgo many expenses that you would incur from attending an in-person course.  Some of these expenses would include commuting, room and board and other additional university fees for equipment, TA, etc. Another reason that these courses may cost less than face-to-face courses is due to the fact that the university would have fewer expenses to incur themselves. It is important to remember to do your research though and make sure the cost of the degree doesn’t correlate with the quality of education.


Online courses allow a lot of flexibility and creation of your own schedule, but there are still tasks and assignments that need to be done. This means that to maintain a structured schedule and be an active learner, you need to create a habit of better self-discipline. To be able to maintain your tasks and time, you are forced to develop self-discipline in order to be actively involved in the class and keep up with your grades.

Online courses provide an opportunity for every individual to study what they want, at their own pace, wherever they prefer. It requires an effort from the student to make time and get things done, but the opportunities are endless in an online environment.


by: Devin Caldwell