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Is an online degree the same as an on-campus degree?

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Is an online degree the same as an on-campus degree?
by marvin oxenham - Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 1:57 PM

Yes and no.

On the one hand yes, an online degree is the same as an on-campus degree in terms of the actual award, the learning outcomes, the course content, the expert teaching and the assessment schedule. 

On the other hand clearly it's not the same. These are different delivery methods, with their own advantages and disadvantages. One is not better than the other, but they each give a distinctive educational experience.  

Students studying on-campus will enjoy a ‘monastic' style of community, where they can focus deeply on their education, but also eat together, enjoy dorm life, share recreation and be shaped in their character within a community. They benefit from sitting in lectures and being able to walk into the offices of faculty members for informal conversations. Living in London also has its unique value, and our on-campus students can benefit from a wealth of experiences in many churches as well as the culture-rich environment. 

But online student also enjoy particular benefits, in addition to the convenience of being able to reconcile a variety of life situations with study. As you pace yourself through your studies, for example, you will acquire distinct abilities of self-discipline and focus that will transfer to many other areas of life and ministry. You will also benefit from engaging with resources at your own pace and being able to take the necessary time for reflection before participating in discussions, which is often appreciated if you are more introverted. 

Being able to remain in your own context of church, work and ministry is also a huge advantage for online students, helping to keep your theological study from becoming detached from real life. You will likely find yourself applying things you learn constantly, and gleaning new questions and categories that arise from your context. You also have the opportunity to build lasting friendships with people from many parts of the world that you would never otherwise meet. Although digital communication has has limits when substituted for embodied relationships, it has great potential to expose you to relationships in a new and deeply transformative way.