The Difference Between Online and Low Residency Education

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An online course is a single class that is taught over the internet while online education is an umbrella term for a series of courses taught over the internet, and often culminating in a diploma, certificate, or degree.

Online courses tend to be topics that are standardized and do not need to be taught in person. For example, history can be learned by reading a text, listening to an audio presentation, or watching a video. As a result, history classes can be taken and completed online.

A student taking an online course carries out the requirements for that class without having to show up to lectures at a specific time. The student can often watch the videos or do the reading on their own time. They do, however, have to follow an assigned program and schedule.

Low residency education means that the student can carry out their school work far from the university campus and often far from their teacher, professor, or advisor. Low residency education often utilizes online education to facilitate learning. A lot of low residency MFA education programs allow students to design their own curriculum. The learning experience is not standardized, but will have requirements.

Both online and low residency education have a bit of a stigma attached to them. Because the learning is happening autonomously, some people feel that students can or will cut corners or cheat in order to accomplish their learning or graduation goals. However, it is arguable that due to its self-driven nature, low residency and online learners work equally as hard, if not harder, than their traditional school counterparts.