Online vs. Campus Learning

If you are on the fence between education online and a traditional campus education, this page may help you make your decision. We’ll discuss the most important differences between campus-based and online learning in what follows.

Campus Learning

Campus learning refers to the traditional method of completing college courses: attending a local campus. Campus learning involves face-to-face interaction between students and professors and typically relies on a lecture-style format. Unlike education online, campus learning programs give students a chance to meet and interact with their peers and instructors in person. Most traditional college courses also have presentation requirements where students present projects or research during class time. If group work is required, the group usually must meet outside of class time to complete papers, presentations, or other projects. You should consider a campus-based education program if:

You value in-person interactions with instructors and peers

You are more comfortable learning from lectures than on your own

You do not have the technology skills to take online classes

You prefer to discuss course material verbally rather than through written communication

Online Learning

Online learning includes any program that relies mostly or exclusively on Internet technology to convey course material. Education online programs use course websites to facilitate interaction between students and instructors. Most or all of the readings for the class will be posted on this site, as will documents like the syllabus, course calendars, and descriptions of assignments. If online classes require a presentation, this usually means that the student must only create the presentation but not give it. Online courses typically also involve group work, but the projects are completed in virtual learning teams. Team members communicate through email and message boards to complete the assigned tasks. You should consider online education if:

Your schedule does not allow you to take campus-based courses

You do not live near a university or college

You prefer learning at your own pace and on your own schedule

You are comfortable expressing yourself through writing

You are good with Internet technology and basic software

You can learn on your own


Many students choose a combination of online and campus-based learning in designing their curriculum. If you find an education online program that also has a physical campus in your area, this might be a possibility for you. In this way, you would enjoy the best of both worlds from online and campus learning.