Are Online College Courses Easier Than Their Brick and Mortar Counterparts?

Online education has exploded in recent years, with more and more students choosing this method of school every year. Some do it for the convenience factor, but some students have the misconception that online learning is somehow easier than traditional classroom learning.  Most people who think online education is easy either do not understand much about taking courses online or they have heard a bad story from someone. Even college professors have some hesitation or fear about online education. It is usually ignorance that is the cause for these attitudes. Online education is still new to society as a whole, and many people will not believe that it is the same as traditional college learning. Others will have had a bad experience themselves or have had a friend that had a bad experience. This does not mean that online education is easier or not worth the time, it simply means that there are a few bad apples that need to be avoided.

Why online education is just as difficult

In a short period of time, the last 10-15 years, software and computer speeds have grown by leaps and bounds. Today, you can view college lectures online the way you watch television. In many cases, these lectures are the same ones that are viewed by students in a traditional classroom. Many traditional colleges have embraced online education and have combined many offline courses with online courses. The same instructor is teaching both groups of people at the same time. In other situations, the teaching is separate with recorded lectures, but the instruction is the same. The difficulty level in taking the class online is the same.

How to spot the online courses to avoid

An online school needs to have accreditation, and it must also come from an organization that provides accreditation to many schools with strong reputations. There are online courses that seemingly spring up overnight. They may claim to have accreditation but are never specific about the organization they have received accreditation from. Those that do specify need to have the accreditation body checked to determine their legitimacy. Avoid being taken in by testimonial letters and comments from former students. There is no way to verify if these students were real; the comments can easily be fabricated.

An online school may be good, and the courses both instructional and robust, but these courses need to be recognized by offline universities as good enough to be transferred. Although not every college will allow courses from certain online courses to be transferred, at least a few top colleges should recognize the bulk of the courses as those that can be transferred.


Online education is new and growing rapidly.  This has been a boon to those wanting to further their education but have a tough time fitting their schedule into a traditional college program. For others, the issue is one of transportation and mobility. Still others are able to find the classes they are looking for in a place far from home. As beneficial as online education has been, it has attracted some shady operators, or poorly run education programs. Remember to take the necessary precautions, and you can get the same quality education online as offline.