10 Myths About Online Courses Demystified by Real Professionals

man working on laptopOver the years, online courses have become a popular option among first time college students and those going back to school to obtain professional degrees. In addition, there are colleges and universities that only offer online degrees. That said, online students come from all walks of life in which they work full or part time, live in a rural area where a traditional campus isn’t convenient, or have to balance multiple obligations, rendering an online degree the only appropriate option for obtaining an education. Despite this upswing, many people still hold reservations about the value of online courses.

1. Settling for Subpar Education

According to Sage Publications, there is a growing consensus among students that online learning can rival or surpass the level of quality and satisfaction found in traditional classes. While the content of online curricula usually covers the same degree of assignments and material, online platforms often expose students to a variety of delivery styles, and require higher levels of participation and interaction with other students. Still not convinced? Sage Publications notes that “a number of studies have indicated that students feel they receive a higher quality of education or learned more in the online format than in their traditional courses.” Due to the accessibility and flexibility of online courses, “some studies comparing students enrolled in the same class in face-to-face relative to online format have found a greater degree of satisfaction with the delivery of online courses.”

2. Online Courses are Easy

Whether you take an online or traditional course, most students can expect to put in two hours of study time for each hour of class time, which includes reading, writing papers, projects and preparing for tests. However, online courses tend to be more demanding, as they require more reading and interaction between course material and classmates. In fact, taking an online course makes you more accountable for your work, since you’re the one who determines your degree of participation. Nonetheless, time management is a crucial component to being successful in college and life, in general. The time management skills you develop as a student will follow you as you continue to further your studies and your career.

3. You Can Procrastinate

In congruence with time management, students enrolled in online courses need to possess independence, motivation, and self-discipline in order to be successful. While students can enjoy the flexibility of online courses, in regards to when an assignment needs to be completed, they still need to be willing and able to make the time for instruction.

4. Online Courses aren’t Structured

One of the main benefits of taking an online course is that you can log-on and complete assignments from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an Internet connection. But some people overlook this luxury and equate it with handing in assignments whenever they please. On the contrary, online courses have rigorous deadlines and are more structured than face-to-face instruction. Simply put, if you don’t keep up, it’s on you.

5. Computer Problems are OK

This myth is equivalent to the “dog ate my homework” lie that almost everyone who has ever attended an educational institution has heard of. Considering you can meet the minimum requirements of any online course by simply logging onto a functional computer with an Internet connection, this excuse is never valid in such circumstances. Furthermore, don’t rely on your mobile device to compensate for the functionality of a computer.

6. No Personal Attention From Teachers

No matter what type of setting you choose to pursue a degree, every student must make a fortified effort to work closely with his or her professor. Since there tends to be more reading and interactive assignments in an online course, professors need to be available to properly guide students; therefore, you can expect your professor to be logging on daily to look out for questions or problems on assignments. Most professors will also make themselves available during “virtual office hours,” where they allocate time on a certain day to answer emails, chat, or hold a webinar.

7. Employers Don’t Accept Credentials Earned Online

As the acquisition of an online degree becomes more commonplace in our society, previous notions about its worth are losing novelty. According to the results of a survey conducted by Excelsior College and the Zogby organization in 2011, “nearly two-thirds of those familiar with online education believe that a degree earned online is as credible as one earned through a traditional campus-based program. Respondents stated the most important factors in determining the credibility of an online degree were the accreditation of the institution awarding the degree and the quality of its graduates.” That said, college is really what you make of it — and if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to succeed — it will be recognized by the university you attend, and subsequently, employers.

8. I Can Go Unnoticed in an Online Course

While you will avoid the awkward being called on in class as your face turns bright red scenario, participation is one of the biggest components in online courses. This helps professors assess whether you understand the information by requiring you to share ideas, opinions, and ask questions with classmates and the instructor. As a result, both the professor and students tend to cover more information with this delivery style.

9. Online Courses Will Teach Me How to Use a Computer

Although online courses expect incoming students to possess basic computer skills, you don’t need to be a tech wizard to excel in an online course. Thankfully, most of the platforms used for such courses tend to be straightforward, but if you ever do run into a problem — there are technical support systems available to assist you with troubleshooting. In addition, if there’s a specific computer program you need to become acquainted with in order to complete the course, your instructor will provide ample instruction and assistance.

10. I Can Do Everything in One Online Session

Just as you shouldn’t cram the night before you a test, you should not attempt to complete all of your work in one online session per week. Since online courses heavily rely on active participation and maximum learning, you will need to log-on at least several times a week to keep up with your classmates and the coursework. Consider adding your online course log-in pages to your “Favorites” or “Bookmarks” to get yourself and your browser acquainted with what’s to come.


Debunking the myths of online education. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Ebersole, J. (2012, August 24). The myths of online learning. Leadership, Retrieved from
Hughes, A. (Producer). (2013). The 10 myths about online education [Web Video]. Retrieved from
Kulla, B. (2013). Seven myths about online learning. Retrieved from
Top 10 myths of online learning. (2013, March 07). Retrieved from
Unpublished raw data, Online Learning, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Dryden, NY, Retrieved from
White, R. (2013). Four myths of online learning. Retrieved from