The Pros + Cons of Online College | What Is Studying Online Like?

Welcome welcome back my friends, and hello if you’re new! I’m Abi, and I have just completed my studies online and have graduated with a Certificate IV (Four) in Photography and Photo Imaging. It was one heck of a ride, and I decided to write this post a good while back in October 2017 when this journey started.
I had decided on this course shortly after moving to Australia in August 2017 when I was looking for something new to do – whether that be getting a job, finding volunteer work, or going back to school and studying; I was after anything.

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This course was marketed really well to me, and I want you to bear that in mind. I was convinced I was going to have constant help and support from various people who knew their stuff and were going to help me get through this course. Constantly. 
This course contained seven modules, with fourteen assessments. At first this seemed alright, so I nodded and went along with it. The first assessment I remember being absolute hell and I couldn’t wrap my head around what I was being asked for.
The tutor who was in charge of that assessment was so endlessly helpful and did all she could to assist me through it and she was amazing!

Leading on from that, let me talk you through the Pros and Cons of studying online:

PROS
1. There is always someone to talk to!
Within the first month or so, I had no idea there was a Facebook group dedicated to the course that I could join to talk to people who were on the same modules as me! This was such a relief because I honestly thought I was on my own.

2. You become independent
It was an interesting journey noticing how independent I became. Over those 18 months I had to become independent in my choices of images, and when it came down to

3. You learn how to manage time better
I was debating whether this one would come under the independent bracket, but I honestly think it’s great on its own. When I began this course I procrastinated for the longest amounts of times and would never actually put any thought into what I was doing or strategic planning until about my third module. It was interesting to see the notes form, and the notebooks fill up with all of these ideas that I just kept on coming up with.

4. You learn SO much throughout the modules
Throughout this course I was finding out about different types of photography I hadn’t even thought about, and all of the different career options I had once I completed the course! Having the peace of mind that there are so many options if you don’t have the ability to go self employed was just wonderful.

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CONS
1. You will never get a face to face relationship with your tutors
This is something I found quite hard to deal with. I’m usually one who is confident when it comes to speaking face to face and then on the likes of video chat, but with online college I was constantly speaking over either email, or the phone. The only “relationship” you could say I had was with the words they wrote and their profile photos on Facebook and the learning portal.

2. It does get stressful!
Leading on from the first point – when you don’t get to speak face to face multiple times a day and you can only rely on emails and scheduled phone calls, it becomes stressful and frustrating that you aren’t receiving the help you want or need straight away. Something else I want to point out that contributed to me becoming stressful is how sometimes there would be a big gap between me sending an email or submitting an assessment, and there being a minimum of a ten day wait until your assessment or email get seen. It meant I lost different amounts of time because I was completely stalled and I had asked all of the other people in the group who also didn’t know what the question meant or what we were being asked for, which meant my year course turned into an 18 month long period.

3. Like your tutors, you don’t get a face to face relationship with friends you make
I have friends from this course from 10 minutes down the road, to being a 12 hour drive away in a different state, to being the other side of the country! It’s a little crappy, but being able to message them everyday with your questions and then offering them help means that you still have someone there who can reply instantly, or within a couple of hours.

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So there it is. 7 Modules completed and 14 assignments down and I have completed a Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging with Open Colleges. Have you ever thought of studying online? Let me know!
Abi x

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