Wearing pajamas to school is a definite plus. So is being able to get up for any reason, leave the classroom for an indefinite period of time, and come back to my desk whenever I please. Whether it’s in the wee small hours of the morning, the middle of the afternoon, or late into the evening, my English Composition class is only a few clicks away. With my handy laptop and a wireless Internet connection, I can study and submit assignments anytime, anywhere within the walls of my humble abode. Better than cable on demand, online learning allows me the flexibility to be in my two favorite places at once - home and school - during this hectic phase of my life. Need a flexible class schedule? Try an online school.
Twenty years ago as a college freshman, I could never have imagined how the growth of the Internet would change the educational landscape forever. Use of the personal computer was just emerging in the late 80’s. At the time, using a word processor felt so sophisticated. Compared to the time consuming and frustrating work of typing multiple drafts on a flawed and lowly typewriter, I could effortlessly edit my document before sending it to a dot matrix printer. Now, the capability to instantly share data files and access grades, post messages on the class discussion boards, and communicate with my professor electronically makes the advances of those early days seem so passé.
There are moments when online learning can be a two-edged sword, however. The orderly confines of a physical classroom would be a welcome retreat from my arguing children or the mounting pile of dirty dishes in my sink. I wouldn’t be distracted by the loads of dirty laundry or ringing doorbells. But then again, no one minds if I bring the crying baby to my online class. I don’t have to apologize for leaving in the middle of a lecture to pick up a child from school. I don’t have to ask permission to miss class so I can go to lunch with a friend. I like having the flexibility to structure my own time. In fact, I think I’ll get some studying in right now--after I change this diaper.