Dear Readers: Today’s post is authored by our special guest Kathy Porter.  I think it is pertinent to the innovation of education that we take a look at online and distance learning.  Kathy does a great job of identifying if this option is truly a good fit for YOU.  Looking for a great online option for professional development?  Check out our self-paced Online Classes!  Enjoy!

Online learning wasn’t an option for your parents or grandparents.

When they finished high school and aspired to further their education, they applied to the college of their choice and then they packed up their lives and moved as close as they could to campus. But today, if you Google “online colleges”, you’ll bring up over 15 million options.

The higher-education choices for arts educators of today are endless. You can choose to attend the college of your choice in person, or you can choose an online course. It really depends on what you define as your ideal “learning experience”.

If you choose a brick and mortar learning institute, you may get to experience many of the social aspects of school that online learners miss out on, such as the social aspects associated with playing on college teams and living on campus. However, if you have other obligations such as a full time teaching job or young children, an e-learning format might give you an opportunity for professional development that you might not otherwise have.

So how do you determine if the online college or university route is for you?

If worried about availability of professional development courses available online or the level of education offered by online institutions: don’t!  Online universities such as Phoenix, Kaplan or Drexel offer the same majors that traditional college campuses offer and they offer them with first class reputations to back it up.

If you have family obligations, then online professional development might be for you! Many married and single parent students want to take their learning to the next level, but they need to work during the day to support a family, which conflicts with “normal” class time hours.

If you want to study at your own pace, e-learning will give you the flexibility to read course material and finish assignments when you are able.  That means after a day of teaching art classes, when the kids go to bed, or on weekends.

If you are determined and motivated, you’re perfectly suited to e-learning.

Adults who earn online courses must discipline themselves to attend classes online, read the materials, and complete the assignments creatively and honestly. There is no mandatory attendance, but if you already know you won’t treat your online course seriously, you won’t earn your credit either.

If you want to attend an integrated learning course in another city, you can! Topping up your education online means you can study from any geographical location.

If you need financial aid, online universities offer all of the traditional support systems that you would find at a brick and mortar university! You will find help with financial aid, paying tuition, choosing your classes and even career advice.


Kathy Porter had an uninspiring job as a Marketing Director for a large company in Georgia. Bored and disillusioned with the corporate with, she decided it was time to do something she loved. As an adult, the thought of going back-to-school seemed intimidating. Until, Kathy discovered she could earn her degree online from a  reputable university. All without quitting her job or moving to another city. Now a freelance writer, Kathy remains an avid scholar and advocates continuing education through her writing. She can be contacted at [email protected].