The Internet has revolutionized the college experience for students today. Millions of students take online courses every semester, and Internet-based courses in higher education is becoming more and more commonplace as technology progresses. This development is constantly growing, developing, and changing, and with these advancements come many pros. However, as with most technologies, there are a few downsides. Take a look at both the positive and negative ways that the Internet could influence the future of higher education as technology grows more advanced.

Cheaper Tuition vs. Professors Losing Jobs

The biggest advantage to advancements in Internet courses is that it is generally cheaper for students, allowing them to save money on their tuition overall. Since many of the materials in on online classes are digital, students can avoid expensive textbooks, and other fees associated with taking a physical class on campus.

On the other hand, as Internet courses grow in popularity, some professors stand to lose their jobs. Yes, proctors and teachers are still needed for online classes, but due to the nature of these courses one single teacher can handle more classes than usual. Therefore, not as many professors are needed. While some schools wouldn’t be effected, this could be a real problem if universities turn to mostly online classes further in the future.

Wider Access to Education vs. Less Valuable Degrees?

The beauty of the Internet is that it has made many things widely available to the public, especially when it comes to knowledge and learning. As technology progresses, people around the globe will have increased access to college courses and have the opportunity to earn a degree. This will enable many to get better jobs, provide for themselves, and enjoy financial stability after completing online courses.

One problems with increasing the use of the Internet and having strictly online degrees is that some question the value of online courses. Some employers and professionals think that online classes are “easier” than traditional classes due to stereotypes and biases. While the standards may change as online classes change and adapt, the heightened popularity of online degrees could create discrepancies in the value of different types of degrees.

Students have More Freedom vs. No Face To Face Interaction

One of the biggest benefits of online classes is that students have more freedom and flexibility when it comes to taking classes and completing work. Since technology is taking the world by storm, students will find it comforting that they can access all courses on their smartphones and laptops. The Internet is making it easier for students to work part time or even full time while earning their degree—a huge plus for many individuals.

Unfortunately, students who take online courses are missing traditional face to face interaction with fellow students in their school. If at some future date, higher education is all done online, students won’t have a traditional “college experience.” Not only will they miss out on social interactions, but students won’t enjoy the benefits of meeting face to face with a professor and peers, and the beneficial class discussions that often take place on campus.

Catching Up Whenever You Want vs. No Real-Time, In-Person Help

The Internet is making it easy for students to access class material, even after “class” is over. Video training is a common form of teaching, and so if a student forgets something or needs to re-watch a session, they could replay it again and again. Many students are able to answer their own questions because they can access a lecture, all the class materials, and extra helps whenever they need it. In traditional classes, it can be tough to catch up if you miss class, didn’t take good enough notes, or got confused on a specific topic.

Unfortunately, taking an Internet course often means that you don’t have someone in front of you that you can ask questions in real-time, or in person. If you have a question, you will probably have to email the instructor, which delays the learning process.

Everybody Saves Money vs. Lower Economic Development

Surprisingly, many people would save money if all courses were Internet-based at some point in the future. The teachers and students could save money on daily gas, transportation, food if they didn’t have to leave the house every day. Schools could spend less on classrooms, furniture, and other logistical costs.

On the other hand, online classes could cause college-towns to take a hit if they have less students living on or near the campus. Of course, companies that are located near these Universities can lose out on customers, and the campus won’t make much money if tuition is cheaper and less students come to the physical campus.

The growth of Internet education is exciting for many, and we still stand to see many changes in the future. However, many fear that there will come a day when we have become so advanced (or too lazy) that most of our schooling will be done via the Internet. While this day might be a long ways off, it is still impossible to deny the huge impact the Internet has on current students today, as well as students of the future. The information for this article was provided by the professionals at Norwich University who provide an online master’s degree in civil engineering.

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How the Internet Could Change the Future of Higher Education (Both Negatively and Positively)