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How to Get an Online Bachelor’s Degree Through edX
It’s no surprise that more and more students are seeking out online bachelor’s degrees. With the advances in online education technology and the changes due to COVID-19, it’s never been a better time to earn your degree from the comfort of your living room. edX has become one of the leading options for offering online bachelor’s degrees.
In this article, we’ll go over what edX has to offer and guide you through the pros and cons of earning your degree online. Let’s get into it!
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What is edX?
edX is an online educational platform that offers a variety of courses to students around the world. You can earn degrees, certificates, licenses, or just pursue your hobbies using the website. They do not design courses themselves, but rather serve as a medium between educators and students.
You can use the site to do many of the same things you’d do in the classroom; watch lectures, read passages, take notes, participate in activities, submit assignments, and watch videos. The idea of the platform is to get as close as possible to the in-person classroom experience, with the comfort and flexibility of learning remotely.
Related: All you need to know about undergraduate degrees
Degrees offered through edX
edX has partnered with a wide range of universities to offer a varied selection of degrees. Here are a few examples of degrees you can earn through edX:
- Bachelor of Social Work through Simmons University
- Bachelor of Science, Public Health through Simmons University
- Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Business Analytics through University of London
- Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration through Morehouse University
Those are only a few of the many options on edX’s website. Many of these programs offer varying lengths, allowing you to take them more intensively over only a few years, or go even longer than a traditional four-year degree but with more easily-paced courses.
The quality and prestige of each program will vary by the school that offers it; remember that edX only provides a platform and not the actual educational material. So, be sure to research each option thoroughly before enrolling.
Pros of earning your bachelor’s online
It’s not for nothing that so many students are pursuing online bachelor’s degrees. Online instruction offers a wide host of benefits. Here are some of the best reasons to pursue your bachelor’s online.
Colleges spend far less on online students than they do on in-person students. Luckily, some of those savings are passed on to the students. As they won’t have to pay for in-person facilities for you and you won’t have to pay for room and board, you’ll typically see much lower tuition in online programs.
On top of the money saved in tuition, online courses can save you money by allowing you to keep working other jobs. It’s much easier to balance work and school when you are an online student, which we will get into in the next pro!
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Flexibility and accommodation
It’s much easier to accommodate online courses to your schedule than it is to accommodate in-person courses. You can take online courses from anywhere in the world with a good internet collection, and what’s more, you can often view lectures at any hour of the day. There is less scheduled time to be in class, and more activities are designed to be time-flexible for students.
Of course, the amount of time flexibility may vary by program; some will have more virtual group activities and live lectures, whereas others may be almost entirely at-your-own pace.
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Growing reputation and prestige
In the past, online bachelor’s programs have not always enjoyed the best reputation. Early examples of the system were often poorly planned and did not adequately prepare their students to find work in their fields. However, after all colleges were forced to go online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the online model has become more normalized. We are now seeing far more people attend these schools, and accredited universities with reputations of their own are offering degrees fully online.
Assuming this trajectory continues, we can only expect online degrees to grow in prestige and reputation.
Cons of earning your bachelor’s online
Needless to say, earning a bachelor’s degree online is not a perfect substitute for an in-person education, and it has its own set of disadvantages. Here are a few disadvantages to consider before making your final choice.
Reduced sense of community
Although academics are a very valuable part of college education, they are not the entire experience. Students also attend college to make friends, form a network, and learn about themselves and their passions. Although online courses may be able to foster some sense of community, it is not the same as an in-person education.
So, if you choose to study online, you should be aware that you will probably not have the same college experience that many of your friends do who attend in-person school.
Lack of amenities designed for students
College campuses are unique in that they are spaces specifically designed to help students learn. They include an abundance of study spaces, academic resources, and common gathering spaces for discussion. In attending online college, you’ll be foregoing these benefits. If you’re a very self-motivated person who’s able to make any space accommodating for learning, this won’t be too big a loss. But for the easily distracted student, this could be a drawback.
Harder to stay engaged
Although many steps have been made to optimize online learning, we cannot deny that it is no perfect substitute for sitting in a classroom and watching a lecture or participating in a discussion. Especially if you are easily distracted or averse to long stretches of time on the computer, online courses may prove a challenge for you.
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Alternatives to edX
edX is one of the premier names in the online bachelor’s degree field, but it is not the only one. Coursera is another popular alternative that partners with universities to offer online bachelor’s programs. Interested students should also look directly on the websites of schools who offer online programs. These include Arizona State University, Oregon State University, and a great array of other universities across the country.
Frequently asked questions
Can I use federal financial aid to earn a degree through edX?
As long as the institution who is offering your courses is accredited and authorized to disperse federal funds, you can use the same sorts of federal financial aid as you would for an in-person university. So, if you are an undergraduate, you can utilize the Pell Grant. You can also take out Direct Loans, Perkins Loans, and PLUS Loans.
Is an online bachelor’s as prestigious as an in-person bachelor’s?
It’s hard to say with certainty whether these two degrees will be treated equally by prospective employers or grad school admissions officers. However, it is certain that online degrees are more prestigious now than they once were. The more prestigious the school that offers the degree, the more prestige it will carry. Earning an online degree from a prestigious institution will certainly help you land future opportunities with your degree.