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8 students spill the tea on their online learning programs

Students tell all on the benefits they've seen from online learning programs

Colleges and universities are paying more attention to their online learning programs, and for good reason: The idea of the “traditional” straight-from-high-school student has been eclipsed by a growing group of students who are working adults balancing family and personal obligations. Often, online learning is the preferred program for these students.

Online learning programs have a lot of benefits, but at the end of the day, each student has to decide which program and which learning approach suits their individual needs.

Some of the best evidence of online learning programs’ success comes from students themselves.

College ranking site features testimonials from students enrolled in a variety of online learning programs across the country. Two themes emerged as the team reviewed testimonials from more than 1,000 students: flexibility and the quality of education, including academic rigor and access to professors and classmates.

Here’s a look at some of the students’ testimonials:


1. “Being a high school assistant principal requires devoting many nights and weekends to school functions. With an online program, I can complete my work and interact with my peers at any time as I am not confined to a few hours once a week. Also, my conversations with my peers extend over days and allow both my fellow students and me to interact in authentic and meaningful dialogue. We are able to analyze and evaluate our thoughts before posting them on discussion boards. Sometimes people are not comfortable speaking in front of others or take time to think through their answers; an online platform solves both of these issues. So far, my interactions with my peers have been rich and insightful while also allowing for multiple perspectives.”
Nicole, F., EdD in Leadership and Innovation, Arizona State University

2. “I enjoy the flexibility online classes offer. While they are not self-paced in theory, I am able to spend more or less time on a topic within the outlined time frame based on my needs.”
Hilary, L., BS in Health Sciences – Physical Therapy Assisting, Northern Arizona University

3. “An online program allows me the flexibility to study from anywhere there is an Internet connection. I currently travel between Pennsylvania and Ohio to visit family. A traditional degree program would limit when I could travel.”
Fermi S., Penn State University

4. “I am able to stay home more with my family. I have been able to listen to lectures and presentations at hours that do not conflict with family time. … I have attended class in the car, in the airport, at the beach and even on a cruise ship!”
Rachael B., East Carolina University

Quality of Academics and Access

5. “The amazing professors at Liberty University have made the entire experience extremely positive. They are eager to help with our studies, and it truly feels like they want us to succeed. The students also give feedback on our assignments through discussion boards, and I feel as though I have grown through hearing what my peers have to say about my work. I have also been able to use my work to start building my design portfolio, which allows me to start applying for design jobs as I study.”
Lydia, M., BFA in Graphic Design, Liberty University Online

6. “In my online college experience I have been pleasantly surprised at the diverse student body and the variety of academic and practical real-world experience that they bring to the program. In my opinion, that adds tremendously to the academic experience as there exists a sharing of knowledge and expertise that enhances the overall value of the program.”
Roderick, K., MEng – Construction Engineering Management, University of Alabama, Birmingham

7. “Another positive of online courses is I have found them to be more rigorous. I have been challenged to become a knowledge seeker rather than a receiver of knowledge as in traditional classrooms.”
Cheryl S., Grand Canyon University

8. “At first, I was wary of online professors and how they would stack up compared to in-person professors. To my surprise…some of the same professors that were in-person also taught online. This means that you know you are getting top-quality teaching at a pace you enjoy…”
Kyle B., University of Florida

The site also ranks the 50 best accredited online colleges and universities of 2019. The top 10, according to the site, are:
1. Penn State World Campus
2. University of Florida Distance Learning
3. UMass Online
4. Northeastern University
5. Indiana University–IU Online
6. Arizona State University–ASU Online
7. University of Minnesota–Twin Cities
8. University of Arizona
9. Oregon State University–OSU Ecampus
10. Drexel University–Drexel Online

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Laura Ascione

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