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Why should you consider mixing online and campus study in your Bachelor's degree

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 08 May 2019

Gone are the oh-so-primitive university days where everything was once delivered on paper or through oral teachings. 

Ever since the emergence of the first online course in the 1995 (courtesy of Penn State University), higher education schools have continuously evolved their learning systems and curriculums to fit the growing needs of students in the digital age. 

Where learning was once a solely on-campus experience, students of tertiary Australian education now have the option of exclusively online courses, or a combination of both. 

This style of education is known as “blended learning”, and is, in fact, the most popularly desired form of study among university (or soon-to-be-university) students in Australia.  

This research included over a quarter of the student respondents revealing that they were willing to pay extra for such a learning experience. The appeal of having the “best of both worlds” is evident – but what exactly makes blended learning such a massive success among undergraduate students? 

SkillsTalk dive deeper into the advantages of on-campus and online learning, and the benefits of combining both modes of education. 

What are the advantages of online learning?

  1. Rapid expansion.
  2. Ease of access.
  3. Flexibility.

online studying concept

1. Rapid expansion

The upsides to online learning aren’t surprising; with the rapid expansion of Australia’s online education, such valuable resources have been delivered to more students – anytime, anywhere. 

Today, there are over 1,100 online education providers in Australia (Upskilled being one of the country’s leading RTOs), currently generating around $5.4 billion in revenue. 

A 2017 report by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission predicts that this industry is only set to further grow, increasing in revenue by an annual 4.5 percent in the next five years – reaching $6.8 billion in 2022. 

2. Ease of access.

A major factor in the popularity of online learning is the incredible ease of access to course material and resources. Everything can be done from the comfort of your apartment couch: lectures, readings, online communication with peers and professors, and even course examinations.

In a study by Canvas (an open-source, online LMS), 38% of survey respondents stated that such accessibility was “essential” for higher-education learning. 

3. Flexibility.

The generous amount of flexibility that online learning provides allows students the benefit of working at their own pace, on their own schedule. As such, online students can tend to other demanding commitments – including career, social, or familial responsibilities – while still pursuing their passion in tertiary education. 
Of course, you get the additional perk of saving money on transport costs, textbooks, and parking spaces. 

What are the advantages of on-campus study?

  1. Available network of professors and students.
  2. Hands-on guidance and tutoring.
  3. Cultural familiarity.

male student putting hand up in lecture room

1. Available network of professors and students.

While studying online can have its benefits, it’s important to remember the advantages exclusive to physically attending your campus.

One of these is the available network of professors and fellow students, who can provide direct assistance and interaction. Online communication may provide the advantage of being readily accessible, but that doesn’t mean your contacts are constantly online. 

2. Hands-on guidance and tutoring.

What’s more, is that this face-to-face contact allows for hands-on guidance and tutoring – a style of learning that may prove more effective for some.

In an article published by Rasmussen College, they note that while online learning has a leg up on traditional study in terms of flexibility and self-discipline, on-campus education is still best for fostering positive relationships with your instructors and fellow students. 

Receiving their encouragement in person will likely be more motivating than a simple email thread; and active discussion in a traditional classroom environment also provides the opportunity for direct questioning and communication of new concepts and ideas. 

3. Cultural familiarity.

Research has also shown traditional education to be beneficial for students who are new to Australia and its culture. Immediate interaction with classmates and professors can help individuals through the process of cultural familiarity as well improving their English proficiency. 

This is particularly valuable for students who wish to pursue Australian careers where such criteria are necessary. 

Of course, attending a campus also provides you access to better resources and facilities, including labs, studios, and designated study environments. 

What are the advantages of mixing online and campus study?

  1. Dynamic educational experience.
  2. Tailored learning.
  3. Improved student outcomes.

students studying together with notebook and laptop

1. Dynamic educational experience.

Both modes of study have their exclusive benefits – as well as their downsides. Bringing the two together as you pursue your undergraduate degree can provide you with a dynamic, convenient, and accommodating educational experience. 

You truly do get the “best of both worlds” in your university studies; with the opportunity to be physically present among teachers, advisors, and peers, reaping the benefits of face-to-face communication. At the same time, you have the freedom of saving time and money by simply turning to an online platform when suitable. 

TeachThought – an educational website dedicated to the support of the teaching industry – discusses the important benefits of having both on and off-campus study in your undergraduate program.

2. Tailored learning.

The opportunity for this “blended” education helps tailor the learning experience to each student’s way of best absorbing information and completing coursework. Some may thrive better in physical class environments, while others may prefer the convenience of online course materials. 

The result is therefore improved focus among students, an encouragement of self-discipline and autonomy, and the promotion of “ownership” over one’s learning; responsibility for your own academic success. 

Such mindsets are incredibly valuable for the “real world”, training students in their decision-making skills, self-learning, and the ability to be self-driven. 

3. Improved student outcomes.

Improved student outcomes, such as the better performance on exams, papers and projects, were also a common benefit reported by universities – as mentioned in a research study by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. 

Having the freedom of flexibly juggling both styles of education will “enhance the engagement of learners by providing a rich mixture of learning opportunities,” they note.

It’s no wonder, then, that “blended learning” has become a much-desired form of education among most Australian students today. 

Could this mixed mode of study be for you? 

Choosing your style of learning all comes down to your own personal and academic needs. You may find that the traditional, on-campus experience may prove more enjoyable as you pursue your bachelor studies; while those who enjoy the efficiency of accessing online courses will opt for internet-based, distance learning.

However, having both options allows you to supplement the drawbacks of each type of study, while enjoying the exclusive advantages both have to offer. As a result, you gain a far more enriched, flexible educational experience – benefiting your student life, academic progress, and professional network. 

Enquire today to discover your ideal course, and discover our wide range of other flexibly-delivered, online qualifications across Australia’s top industries.
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