There are so many varied experiences of online education that it can often lead to misconceptions about online programmes

Here are seven myths that you need to cast from your mind when considering a university course online.

  1. Distance learning
    Online learning is frequently seen as the same thing as distance learning – which is remote, and usually involves being sent reading material produced by the university or college that you are expected complete by yourself. Online learning is thankfully a much more interactive, communal experience. You are part of an online classroom and communicate regularly with your fellow classmates and faculty members.
  2. Cheap
    Online learning is not a cheap and easy option. Programmes like those at the University of Roehampton, London Online have a rigorous application procedure. Competitively priced, you pay for quality and in the end the opportunity to earn a highly sought-after globally recognised qualification.
  3. Poor quality
    Online degrees can hold the same validity and credibility as an equivalent degree awarded to a graduate who studies on campus. UK online degree programmes should comply with the standards monitored by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA); such standards are recognised by the UK government.
  4. Monocultural
    If you think you will be in an online classroom with people who think and talk like you, think again. Universities such as Roehampton Online are committed to expanding access to education – which means wonderful, culturally diverse student groups that can lead to a whole host of networking opportunities both in and out of the classroom.
  5. Low engagement
    Another misconception is that as an online learner, you are either on your own or with thousands of others in a virtual classroom, having to motivate yourself to complete your assignments. This not necessarily the case. At Roehampton Online, faculty members are very present in the classroom, working with you all the time, giving guidance and facilitating discussion and debate.
  6. Very big classes
    Some universities prioritise their research agenda; others prioritise their students. The University of Roehampton is the latter, and as a result has designed an online learning model focused on the student experience. Online classrooms are “discussion-sized”, made up of 30 to 40 students. Groups are smaller for shared activities, and the university prides itself on having small, private, online classrooms.
  7. Easy to complete
    When you enrol on a university programme online or on campus, it is a serious commitment in terms of time, dedication and finance. A good online programme should challenge you in ways you didn’t expect, and inspire you to continue to better yourself by expanding your knowledge in your chosen field.

    Natalie Merriman is studying an MA in Technology and Learning Design at Roehampton Online. Speaking at a recent webinar, she shares her thoughts on how online learning works so well:

    “The faculty members are not there to spoon-feed and tell you exactly what needs to happen; they are there to challenge you and make you think a little bit more in depth than you would have originally. They are 100% there to support you as well. I remember having a bit of a panic about misreading a unit and instantly I got online with my faculty member at the time and he said, ‘Calm down; let’s get this sorted,’ and he just kind of broke it down so all of a sudden it made sense. Even though he was in the Caribbean, it was amazing that I didn’t have to sit there panicking and get myself wound up, because I felt supported the whole way through.”

It’s important, when choosing an online degree programme, that you choose a reputable university that has the student experience as its focus. As an online learner, you should feel supported, challenged and inspired.

Find out more about online masters degree programmes at the University of Roehampton, London Online.

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