Assessing the flexibility of online learning

My professor was clear from day one that we would need weeks – not days – to complete the final for our online personal finance class, U.S. News reports.

It’s not hard to see why, as the capstone project was a hefty one: a 10-year financial plan outlining our career outlook, retirement goals and investment objectives, among other targets.

I promised myself I would heed the message and actually start the project ahead of time. But then came a work conference at Disney World. Then, Thanksgiving. More days slipped away and I woke up Sunday with only one day to finish the entire project.

Many cite flexibility as the number one factor that draws students to online learning. In my course, for example, students had the freedom to turn most work in at the end of the semester.

While the flexible schedule helps students juggling work, school and family commitments, I found it to be both a curse and a blessing.

The unconventional schedule helped me enjoy turkey, family and “Pirates of the Caribbean” without the threat of immediate deadlines, for example. But it also enabled my procrastination and led to some really long days toward the end of the course.

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