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Updated: July 7, 2024

Why You Should Consider Online vs. In-Person Classes

Happy woman working on a computer in a coffee shopOnce upon a time, there was only one way to obtain a college degree: sitting in a classroom, or what we call today “traditional learning.” Thanks to great advances in technology, nowadays we can take classes and obtain degrees and certificates more easily from almost anywhere, as long as we have Internet access. To help you figure out which is the best option for you between the two, we will compare the pros and cons of online and in-person classes.

Whether you are planning to start a program or transfer the credit hours you’ve already completed to earn your degree, you can now reach your goals without worrying about sitting in traffic after work before making it to class. UTSA Online offers academic programs taught by the same faculty, with the same rigor and quality of education that is offered to all UTSA students. These programs are 100% online, giving you the flexibility to take your classes at your own pace and from wherever you are.

Online Classes Offer Learning at Any Pace

Online classes could be a great option for you if:

  • You’re looking for flexibility to accommodate your busy schedule.
  • You don’t have the resources to attend in-person classes, such as transportation.
  • You want an additional degree or certificate to advance your career but don’t have the time required to attend in person.
  • You like to take your time with the material, without being bound to a specific amount of time in a class.

With online courses, you won’t have to commute to campus and sit through class. Online programs offer you the ability to learn and grow without affecting your personal, professional, and academic life balance.

At UTSA Online, you’ll have due dates each week, but you complete your coursework whenever it works for you. The flexibility of fitting your online classes into your schedule, whether you’re on vacation, taking care of family members, or working full-time, can open up new opportunities for you to succeed.

Personalized Learning Environment

One of the significant advantages of online learning is the ability to create a personalized learning environment. You can study in your favorite coffee shop, at home, or while you’re traveling. With this flexibility, you can choose a study setting that is most conducive to your learning style. This will help you absorb information better and retain it longer.

Access to a Variety of Resources

Online classes often provide a wealth of resources and can make classes easily accessible. For example, if lectures are recorded, you can watch the material again, or pause it while you take notes. This can alleviate potential stress from trying to keep up with a live presentation.

At UTSA Online, you’ll have a wealth of resources and support from an entire university. Whether you’re looking for tutoring, library resources, or mental health support, we’re here for you. The variety of options can enhance your learning experience and provide multiple avenues for understanding complex concepts.

In-Person Classes are Active and Involved

Hands-on learning is an important part of all classes offered at UTSA. Group discussions and projects help some students better understand course material while also getting to know their classmates and professors and building connections with them.

This interaction and relationship-building aspect can be accomplished both in person and online at UTSA. However, if you learn best by being in a classroom, having face-to-face interactions, and being involved in clubs and organizations, then you might benefit more from in-person classes.

Immediate Feedback and Clarification

One advantage of in-person classes is the ability to receive immediate feedback and clarification from instructors. If you have a question during a lecture, you can ask it on the spot and get an immediate response. This can be particularly beneficial for complex subjects where a quick explanation can make a significant difference in understanding. With online classes, you’ll still be able to receive feedback through email and during virtual office hours. However, it won’t be as immediate as in a classroom.

Networking Opportunities

In-person classes offer valuable networking opportunities. Some people prefer building relationships with peers, professors, and industry professionals through face-to-face interactions. These connections can lead to internships, job opportunities, and collaborations.

However, online programs also provide robust opportunities for networking and relationship-building. Virtual platforms allow you to interact with classmates and instructors through different avenues. Platforms like discussion forums and video conferences foster meaningful connections that can lead to similar career-enhancing opportunities.

Online Classes Offer Flexibility

Online classes would be perfect for you if:

  • Work full-time
  • Have a family and kids
  • Take care of an ill loved one
  • Are experiencing any life changes that would make attending class on campus an extra complication in your life
  • Or a combination of these. 

100% online classes will allow you to advance your education at your own pace. You’ll get to organize your schedule however works best for you.

Distance Education. Portrait of smiling woman sitting at desk, using laptop and writing in notebook, taking notes, watching tutorial, lecture or webinar, studying online at home looking at screenAll assignments and tests are due on a weekly basis with all UTSA Online courses. You’ll be able to study and retain knowledge however works best for you. You’ll also have the flexibility to complete your assignments at your own pace throughout that week. Whether you’re a fast learner or take your time absorbing information, you can finish your coursework at your own speed.

In-Person Classes Make it Harder for Distractions

For some students, taking online classes might be a little too flexible. This type of student needs a more strict schedule to follow. For that reason, online classes might leave room for too many distractions that keep them from staying focused on their class.

In-person classes may be a better option for those students since classrooms create an environment that allows them to focus on the coursework. Having a set class schedule to follow might help them organize their own schedule better as well. Additionally, the opportunity to participate in real-time discussions and activities can enhance comprehension and engagement. In-person classes may work for you if education is your number one priority and if you are able to organize the rest of your responsibilities around your class times.

Online Programs are Often More Affordable

Online programs are usually less expensive than on-campus classes since online students don’t need to be provided with the same type of resources as traditional students. With online classes, you don’t need to worry about paying student amenity fees or getting expensive on-campus parking passes. Although you won’t be paying for those extra amenities, you’ll still have excellent student support through the resources UTSA Online provides for its students.

UTSA Online’s tuition is $486-$525 per credit hour for undergraduate courses and $550-$825 per credit hour for graduate courses, depending on your area of study. This cost is all-inclusive, meaning that there are no additional fees. Another benefit of enrolling in a UTSA Online program is that there is no out-of-state tuition. You’ll pay the same price regardless of where you live. If you’re looking to save yourself commuting time and money, then online classes may be the best choice for you.

Choosing between Online and In-Person Learning

UTSA Online - interested studentThe choice between taking an online class or sitting in a traditional classroom may not be an easy one, even after reviewing the pros and cons of both. Ultimately, it will depend on the flexibility that you need and the financial options that you have.

Another important fact to consider is the time you have available for school. If you have a busy lifestyle, then an online program will allow you to obtain your degree at a pace that works with the other aspects of your life.

At UTSA Online, we understand that your journey is unique. Our fully online bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs are designed to deliver a first-class university experience, tailored to your individual needs. Whether you choose online or in-person classes, we are committed to providing you with the cutting-edge knowledge and dynamic professional skills necessary to succeed in today’s fast-paced workforce. Join our San Antonio familia and turn your aspirations into bold futures with UTSA Online.

The Bottom Line

The debate between online and in-person learning is not about determining which is superior, but rather understanding which format suits your personal circumstances and learning style better. Both online and in-person classes have their distinct advantages and challenges.

Online learning offers unparalleled flexibility, a personalized learning environment, and cost-effectiveness, making it an excellent choice for those with busy schedules or budget constraints.

On the other hand, in-person learning provides immediate feedback, valuable networking opportunities, and a structured environment, which can be beneficial for students who thrive on routine and face-to-face interactions.

Regardless of the path you choose, the ultimate goal is to receive a quality education that prepares you for future success. By carefully considering your personal needs, lifestyle, and learning preferences, you can make an informed decision that sets you on the path to success. Whether in person or 100% online, UTSA is dedicated to offering support and resources to help you achieve your Bold Future.

Are you interested in learning about UTSA Online’s Programs?

UTSA Online offers several 100% online programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, and post-graduate certificate programs. Explore all our programs to find which one is right for you.

If you are ready to start your career path, contact UTSA Online’s Undergraduate Enrollment Team at 210-458-4000 or onlineenrollment@utsa.edu, or the UTSA Online Graduate Enrollment Team at 210-458-4400 or onlinegrad@utsa.edu.

Explore UTSA Online's Programs