In a way, one could say I'm home-colleged. My course work is completely online. Everything is learned at my cozy desk, fickle computer permitting.
Assuming from all the snide remarks I've been hearing about, "Not brave enough to go to real college," and, "Just taking some easy courses on the internet," most people do not consider online college real college.
Ahem. I'd like to say a word, if I may.
I am enrolled in Grand Canyon University Online, which is one of the top-ranking online colleges in our nation. (Number Five, if my memory serves me right.) Their learning system is very tidy and efficient, but by no means "easy".
Foremost is the technical knowledge necessary. Navigating tricky systems such as the Angel Classroom may seem easy at first to the observer. But remember the first internet forum you ever joined? Remember than panicking emotion of, "What to click first?!?!" Take that feeling and multiply times ten. And then combine it with the confusion you feel when first trying to navigate your campus... online without a map or roomie to aid you.
That's the first day of virtual college for you.
Another concern we online students have is trying to squeeze inhuman amounts of reading into our schedule. At GCU, we read about three times as much as the average college student, trying to make up for lack of lectures. Only, we have lectures too -- virtual ones with PowerPoint slides. Not to mention the online forum discussion (which we're supposed to participate in at least twice daily.)
But these are petty, trivial whatnots compared to the daunting monster every online student faces... self-motivation. We have no roomies to wake us afer a late night, no handy friend to pop in and say "Back to studying!", no hands-on experiences to enhance our love of learning. No, the online student better have an incredible love of learning to begin with, or else they fall flat on their face in the first week (and I've been watching some poor, unfortunate students do this.)
College students are constantly being told that they are responsible for their own learning experience. This is especially true for online students. We push ourselves on.
So, as a matter of fact, I do consider myself a real student. Sure, I may be missing out on the college social experience (which isn't much, in my opinion) but missing out on learning? Not in the slightest.