It’s hard to deny the popularity of online degree programs. After all, flexibility and affordability are two buzzwords that are often associated with online colleges. There’s another component that’s key to online education, but it’s not yet achieved buzz status: a virtual private network (VPN).
Those who seek online degrees may not realize that online universities and their available programs evolved from VPNs. These networks allow students and instructors to access a school’s network from remote locations. By having access to this common area, it’s very easy for instructors to disseminate information, for students to give feedback to the professor, and for students to connect with each other. Think of it as being at school without physically being at school. While there are other ways to conduct online classes besides VPNs, many schools have found that these networks are ideal for providing students with the best experience possible.
In a lot of ways, the evolution of online education has mirrored some of the changes that have happened in business. In the last decade, more people have taken advantage of VPNs to work from home or a hotel while traveling. VPNs and other online resources have played a huge role in creating a culture of telecommuting in many companies where working from home is accepted. Likewise, taking classes and completing degrees online has gained widespread acceptance as a legitimate way to achieve a higher education. The whole idea of working from home, whether for an employer or professor, is no longer seen as exceptional.
One reason that telecommuting and distance learning have become so popular (besides VPNs) is that these are much more efficient processes. Just think of how much more efficient you can be with your time when instead of spending time traveling to an office or campus, finding a place to park, interacting with peers, and finally settling in to work or attend class, you just turn on your computer and begin.