High School Junior - Wants Online College??

Our daughter is currently an A student and has expressed interest in Elementary Education. She has some anxiety over new things, future college included.

She believes an online degree is the way to go. Both my wife and I are against the notion, feeling that online would not be very highly regarded and would lack valuable in-person experience. Wife and I both have master’s degrees from local public and private four-year universities. Wife’s sister is a teacher, as well, who also agrees with us.

Especially considering that she is wanting an Education degree, would you agree that the online route is probably not the way to go? We plan to set up tours to local colleges in the area (Kansas City) by next spring to get her acquainted with what’s out there and get her questions answered.

Is this a realistic plan? Have online options really changed much over the the past 25 years? We’ve always viewed them as less than ideal, more geared for two-year degrees.

Any input on our predicament? Other things to consider?

Thanks in advance!

Elementary education degree programs typically include field work (where the student does teaching under supervision) and lab work so they cannot be completely online/distance (unless you assume that elementary education in the foreseeable future will be all online/distance).

However, some courses may be suitable to be done in online/distance format, given motivated students and instructors who can do that format well.

Obviously, the concern about COVID-19 has caused many colleges to move many courses to online/distance format, although not necessarily permanently if medical advances eventually reduce the threat that the virus poses.

Talk to Kansas State. They have a 100% online education degree. They beauty is that if she decided later she wanted to go in person the transition would not be hard. It is worth talking to them. S has friends in the in person degree and they love it! I would prefer in person for education but look into this:


Does she elaborate on why online? My son was an online Hs student for health reasons and originally wanted to attend college online even though we as parents felt he should be at college. Going to college really helped his personal growth in my opinion. If she is a jr in Hs her opinion may change. Going on a campus visit could help her envision what it would be like. H and I were on same page about wanting him to be on campus and suggested he could still take a online classes while on campus. Ironically, because of covid-19 situation, he is completely online so we are ok with him staying home instead of going 3 hours away this semester. Now that he has a year in he plans to go back when he has in person classes again.

How is this “100% online” when the curriculum shown on that page includes

as well as other courses described as “lab” or “practicium”?

Online education has improved tremendously in the last decade(s). There is plenty of opportunity to participate in discussions, small group work, attend office hours and receive support. Online classes right now often use Zoom for lecture and then either Canvas or Blackboard. Online classes can link articles, videos and various multi-media resources that can enhance a class.

So online classes are not inferior in terms of educational value, and the actual majority of students who are “non-traditional” are often studying online.

What your daughter would miss is the on-campus experience, though two of mine hated dorm life.

And yes for education there may be required on-campus classes, labs or practicums. You would have to check programs carefully.

Maybe she could start off by doing distribution requirements (gen eds) and intro education classes online. Or can she commute locally? In other words, she could ease into college on campus until it no longer feels “new.”

I found this when I googled: One way to find a reputable online program for a bachelor’s degree in education is to search for schools through an accrediting agency. There are several accreditation organizations for education, though only the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC, www.detc.org) guarantees that the program is online:

So in sum she can probably get her degree online. The larger issue here is her anxiety. I hope that she sees a counselor so that anxiety doesn’t rule her decisions. There are practical reasons to do online courses for those who work or have families. But anxiety about new things can be treated or at least mitigated. Hoping she gets help or gets used to the idea or both. Good luck!

Minerva KGI offers in person residential experience with online classes. Lower tuition too.

There is a British You Tuber called Unjaded Jade who is in her 2nd year with Minerva. She did first year in SF and is now in Berlin. Her videos pretty much explain how it works.

No idea if they offer education though.

@ucbalumnus - This year, it is entirely possible that all of the practica and student teaching activities would indeed be virtual. I’ve seen plenty of discussion of “How do I supervise my student teacher in online classes?” and “How should I handle being a student teacher online this semester?” lately in an education forum that I participate in. In normal years, required classroom observation, practica, and student teaching activities for online students can be arranged in locations that are convenient to where the student is. I did my required classroom observations and teaching internship in two different states in two different parts of the US while completing my MS Ed. online at a university based in a third state. Students in that program were scattered all around the globe and everyone was able to find sites and supervision for required practica that were acceptable to our department.