10 Reasons Why Studying Online May NOT Be For You

While Online Education is very valuable for some, you need to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. There are certainly many reasons why studying online might be right for you, such being able to balance life’s many commitments with an education, the opportunity to study while continuing to work, as well as the chance to enrol in an out-of-region institution. However, this type of learning does not suit everyone and enrolling for the wrong reasons could become very frustrating, result in lost money, and end up with academic transcripts that make it difficult to enrol in another programme in the future.

Here are the top 10 reasons why studying online may not be right for you:

  1. You think studying online will be easier

Many assume that an online degree is significantly easier than an on-campus degree taught in a traditional classroom. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In New Zealand all tertiary qualifications, including online qualifications, go through a rigorous national accreditation process and are held to strict standards regarding the academic content and rigor. Any changes to a programme also have to be approved to ensure that the quality of each qualification is maintained.

If you chose to study through Auckland Online, you can be assured that your degree programme has been carefully reviewed and approved through extensive internal University quality assurance processes as well as the national accreditation process.

  1. You think studying online will be cheaper

An online degree is not necessarily cheaper than its on-campus counterparts. While online qualifications do not have the overheads such as a physical classrooms, the course design and development can be costly. While some legitimate online programmes are more affordable than others, some are significantly more expensive compared to brick-and-mortar programmes.

While an online degree may not be cheaper, it should be noted that online students do have the advantage of not needing to pay for travel costs or living costs in the location of the University campus.

All the Auckland Online programmes are the same fees as their on-campus counterparts.

  1. You think studying online will be lonely

It is normal to be nervous if you really enjoy face-to-face interaction and communication and you think that you might be lonely studying online.

If this is a legitimate concern for you, you will be pleased to learn that studying online brings many opportunities to connect and network with others throughout each course. However, it is important that you, as an online student, actively engage with these opportunities to connect with others and create connections with your online peers. Studying an online programme means that you actively need to work together and collaborate with your classmates across various platforms including Canvas, Zoom, Skype, Google Drive and Trello. Whether you are studying online or on-campus, connecting with your peers is vital to the success of all students.

The Auckland Online programmes have been designed to optimise peer-to-peer interaction and you will have a virtual support network and online community in place so you can always connect with other people.

  1. You want to avoid interacting with people

On the other hand, if you assume that you will not need to interact with anyone if you study online rather than face-to-face, you are quite mistaken.

While there is definitely less face-to-face interaction in an online course compared to a traditional classroom, the vast majority of online courses require students to actively work, collaborate and communicate with their peers and the academic staff. This means that you cannot just turn in an assignment and get a grade. Instead, you will need to be an active participant on discussion boards, chat, forums and engage in group work.

As mentioned before, the Auckland Online programmes have been designed to encourage connection, discussion and networking. Do not be afraid to reach out to your classmates on the online forums or chat function on Canvas to ask or answer questions. Developing these kinds of online connections with your peers can help you better understand the course content and establish working relationships and friendships throughout your degree.

  1. You think it will be faster

While many reputable institutions offer accelerated online offerings, if you are offered a postgraduate qualification in just a few weeks or even months, you can be sure that this is not a legitimate qualification.

If you want to attain your qualification as quickly as possible, you need to be prepared to either opt to take on more courses at once, or select a programme that offers courses throughout the entire calendar year and not just the standard academic year. The fastest way to complete a qualification, whether you study online or on-campus, is to enrol full-time.

We understand, however, that not everyone can afford to study full-time. Therefore Auckland Online only offers accelerated part-time programmes, which we are able to do because we have moved to a trimester structure optimising the full calendar year meaning you will be able to complete 90 points per year rather than 60 points per year, while still remaining a part-time student.

  1. You are not motivated

Undertaking any postgraduate qualification requires a significant amount of self-motivation, dedication, focus, organizational and time-management skills. If you are not motivated to study, whether it is online or on-campus, it will be near impossible to complete any educational programme.

Motivation is usually the driving force that keeps you working hard when the course becomes challenging or if you find yourself getting bored. Students lacking in motivation and drive are not likely to complete their programme of study. If you are not motivated to study, it may be better for you to delay pursuing an additional qualification and enrolling when you are feeling more motivated.

If you are enrolled in an online degree and you are not feeling motivated but are not able or willing to withdraw from the programme, do not be discouraged as you can do several things to regain motivation. These include establishing clear goals for yourself and following specific steps to attain them, making an effort to communicate with your peers in the course to discuss course materials, establishing and sticking to a study routine, allowing yourself to take regular breaks, encouraging yourself, and most significantly, focusing on why you wanted to study this degree in the first place.

If you decide to study one of the Auckland Online programmes and find yourself losing motivation, you can contact your Auckland Online Student Support Advisor and discuss some of the options you have to regain your motivation. In more extreme circumstances you can also discuss taking a break from studying or withdrawing from the programme.

  1. You have poor time management skills

One of the most valuable skills you need to be an online student is excellent time management. If you manage your time well it will be significantly easier for you to reach your goals. Everyone has 24 hours in a day, so it is not a question of how much time you have available to you, but how well you manage your time.

Excellent time management is particularly essential for online students as you will be juggling multiple life commitments and responsibilities such as family, work and hobbies as well as your education. Without the physical presence of classmates to support you, or set times where you need to attend classes on campus, effective time management is crucial to help you stay focused.

For those of you who do not think you have sufficient time management skills but still want to pursue an online qualification, there is good news! Effective time management is a skill that can be learned by anyone, but it takes commitment and continuous dedicated practice. Here are some tips that may help you stay ahead of your coursework:

    1. Plan ahead: Set aside frequent and sufficient times throughout the week when you will study and when you will work on your assignments.
    2. Avoid multitasking: To optimise your productivity, focus on just one task at a time.
    3. Set up your own study space: Make sure that you have access to high-speed internet, sufficient lighting, a comfortable work space and all the required materials such as textbooks and industry specific software.
    4. Block out distractions: Stay focused and avoid Social Media and surfing the internet, when you need to concentrate.
    5. Reward yourself: Celebrate your accomplishments and treat yourself after a job well done.

If you are interested in studying with Auckland Online but are unsure of your time management skills, you will be able to discuss this with your Student Support Advisor who will be able to help you make a plan that will keep you on track.

  1. You are a professional procrastinator

Studying online requires a significant amount of independent work and study, which can become a recipe for disaster if you are a professional procrastinator. If you are prone to procrastinating, setting deadlines for yourself may not work as it is easy ignore these because you know that they are arbitrary. It is also easy for chronic procrastinators to justify not participating in certain course activities from time to time due to time constraints, but these add up quickly and can have a detrimental effect on your overall learning and course grade.

Procrastinating during an online course can also be problematic because of the small possibility that there may be technical difficulties. If you wait until the last minute to submit an assignment and if something goes wrong, you could lose valuable marks submitting the assignment late. If you leave your assignments until the last minute, you will also not have the time to ask the lecturer any questions and receive a response prior to submission. Therefore, if you want to study online, aim to start your assignments early on and actively participate in the course activities, that way you will get the most out of the course and have sufficient time to ask questions and get clarifications on assignments.

If you would like to study with Auckland Online and you know that you might fall into procrastination habits, please address this with your Student Support Advisor to discuss some options on how to manage this.

  1. You think it will not help your career

There are many reasons people pursue a postgraduate qualification. You may wish to advance your career, you may want to change career path all together, or you may be planning to progress to PhD / Doctoral study.

Outside of direct career advancement, there are substantial holistic benefits to completing a postgraduate qualification. Completing a postgraduate qualification shows employers that you have a number of transferable skills such as a desire to learn and improve yourself, the ability to work independently, experience working in teams, are responsible for your own learning and have the capacity to clearly articulate your thoughts and ideas. Even if you want to pursue a qualification in a subject area that is not directly related to your current employment, it still holds significant value for you and your current or future employers.

If you are interested in postgraduate study for career advancement, or for a career change, make sure you review the programme and course carefully and assess whether or not this degree will provide you with the outcome you are seeking. If you are planning to progress onto doctoral study, make sure you enrol in a programme that allows progression to PhD, and review the University’s requirements for PhD study so that you are aware of the expectations.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of studying a Masters qualification, please see Top 4 reasons to study a Masters Qualification. If you would like more specific advice and context around career advancement and benefits of the Auckland Online programmes, please contact an Auckland Online Student Advisor today!

  1. You have too many other commitments

If you are not able or willing to commit to a full postgraduate online qualification, there are plenty of other shorter courses available that range from continuing education courses right through to microcredentials and micro-degrees. Short courses can still provide you with academic and professional development and are an excellent first step towards considering a fully online postgraduate qualification as it gives you an opportunity to see whether studying online is right for you or not.

Auckland Online currently only offers online Masters degrees, but watch this space!