Are you one of the millions of online learners who pursue a college degree online today?

According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, more than a quarter of college students take at least one online class per semester, and a significant number of students are exclusively enrolled in distance learning programs.

In recognition of Thanksgiving, here are 5 things online learners should be thankful for:

1. Technology

These days, it's easy to forget about how fortunate we are to have the technology that's at our disposal. That's because things like the Internet, computers, and even smartphones and tablets have been around for a number of years already and are so ingrained in our day-to-day lives.

College students who complete their coursework online should be thankful for the technological innovations that make pursuing higher education digitally an accessible and viable option today. Online course portals often include:

  • Live streaming or archived video lectures
  • Interactive discussion boards
  • Libraries of digital reading materials
  • Easy access to contacting your instructor and fellow students
  • Exams and quizzes you can take right at your fingertips

While some online courses require the use of a computer for full access to them, some can be accessed via a smartphone or tablet. This makes checking in on your course and submitting assignments even easier.

2. Flexibility

A big reason college students flock to online classes is because of the flexibility these courses offer compared to traditional gatherings held on campus. You don't have to report to a lecture hall at a designated time a few days per week. Instead, you can choose to work on your coursework when it's convenient for your busy schedule.

Plus, you can decide what the best learning environment is for your specific needs. Perhaps you prefer going to the library to do your homework. Maybe being around the buzz of other college students at Starbucks gives you that extra energy for success. Or, maybe you're perfectly content working on a desktop computer in your bedroom.

3. Knowledgeable instructors

College professors come in all walks of life. Some are quite young and are just starting out, while others have a few decades of teaching experience on their resumes. Either way, a college professor is typically extremely knowledgeable about a particular subject or field. Always appreciate this, and take advantage by picking your instructors' brains on the areas that interest you the most so that you can maximize your learning experience.

In addition, many professors who teach online courses are also current practitioners within their respective fields. This is because teaching online gives them the flexibility to continue working at another job. For instance, a criminal justice professor may also work in a law enforcement agency. Having the ability to interact with instructors who are also out in the field is an excellent perk that only enhances the curriculum and what students take away from each course they complete.

4. Fellow students

Be grateful for your fellow classmates in each online class you take. More than likely, they're enrolled for similar reasons as you are, so get to know them through the online discussion boards, collaborative group projects, and personal e-mail interactions. In many cases, you can learn so much more from your fellow students than anything else within a course.

5. Opportunity to pursue higher education

It might not sound like that big of a deal, but remember that you're lucky to have the opportunity to pursue a postsecondary degree in the first place. Many individuals in the U.S. and around the world simply do not even have this opportunity and freedom. The same goes for having the ability to choose which degree concentration you wish to attain and from which school you want to earn it.

Saint Leo's Online Programs

If you're interested in getting an online degree or certificate, visit Saint Leo Online to learn about our large selection of convenient options.