Online education broadens access to learning


Through the many advantages of accessible, affordable online education, communities and families can rise above the poverty line locally and globally. Online education can accommodate the time constraints and financial means of modern-day students. Despite these benefits, a distrust of the effectiveness in technology persists, as many worry about losing the connections made in a traditional classroom. However, this apprehension about online learning should not discourage potential students from pursuing a quality education through the means of the Internet.
In order for students to harness the individualization, malleable timing, and low costs that online education offers, there must be more promotion in the media of the unique opportunities that online learning provides.
Globally, access to the Internet continues to rise, according to Anyone who can use a device with internet capabilities, such as a smartphone or laptop, can take online courses and unlock the potential that this platform of learning offers. Yet, many free or low-cost online education programs do not reach their full potential audience.

Reports have shown a positive trend in the number of households that have access to tools that connect to the Internet (ICT’s). Courtesy of

Pew Research Center conducted a study, which showed that up to 80 percent of adults are unaware of services such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), according to 
MOOCs is one of many programs that provide career-oriented training and subject degrees to anyone with access to a smartphone or computer. The completion of a full course results in an Open Badge, which recognizes that the student has mastered a specific skill. Taking online courses can even give someone college course credits as a substitution for traditional college.
Institutions, like Southern New Hampshire University, combine MOOCs with traditional campus learning. This creates an advanced educational curriculum that understands the needs of the modern student.
At Sacred Heart Greenwich, students have the option to take classes through SophieConnect . This online school connects students with instructors in the Sacred Heart network who teach the subject through the Internet. SophieConnect spans across 14 Sacred Heart schools in North America and offers a variety of online courses. The program is currently used by over 100 students, according to
Senior Ayna Ramseur-Moore takes Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science through SophieConnect.  Courses, such as online AP Computer Science, provide more opportunities for students who are interested in subjects not taught in his or her school.
Due to the flexible nature of online courses, students are able to design individual curriculums that fit into their schedules. If an adult works multiple jobs to support him or herself and family, the ability to progress through a topic at an individualized pace is extremely helpful.
Additionally, online classes are more economical than the courses most colleges or universities offer. On average, a year of online school can cost about $21,100, while a traditional school is about $42,768, according to
Some advantages of Online Education include flexibility, accessibility, global knowledge, and low costs.
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Mobility, cost, and convenience are also crucial components in bringing education to regions like sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeastern and Western Asia. In such countries, the culture reserves formal secondary education solely for wealthy families primarily in urban cities.  
There are, however, drawbacks to online education. The traditional classroom setting fosters one-on-one connections between students and teachers, which online education cannot completely emulate. Furthermore, some have difficulty managing increased personal responsibility.
Hands-on activities and scientific experiments done in physical classrooms are invaluable educational experiences that oftentimes are lost while taking an online course. Recent advances in software increase interactive elements within the course and combat these limitations.
“The course is surprisingly interactive,” Ayna said. “We’ve had live conferences, we have blogs and discussion boards on blackboard with other people on Sophie Connect, and we use CodeHS, [an interactive coding platform].”
The next step in advancing online education is banishing the stigma attached to it. The Internet as a learning tool has the power to change the lives of students globally. It provides a powerful alternative for students in poverty, who often navigate busy lives with tight schedules, and this new access to learning can give people living in developing countries innumerable opportunities.
-Nina Rosenblum, Opinions and Podcast Editor