Today, more people are pursuing higher education than even 10 years ago. As each decade passes, the number of college enrollments gradually increases. Increasing even faster than enrollments is the number of students taking online classes. A decade ago, roughly one-third of students enrolled in at least one online course. That number has grown by more than 5% in 2020. With online courses gaining in popularity, just what type of digital devices work with distance learning courses?
There is No One Size Fits All Answer
Preferences for computers, tablets and cell phones vary by individual just as much as preference for degrees. With many universities now offering the option of earning a degree 100% online, such as the Pace online MBA, colleges must be recommending a certain computer that works best, right?
Wrong. Colleges haven't recommended a best computer, but everyone else has. The most important detail about which computer you use is that the more updated it is, the more compatible it will be with the platform your school utilizes. A computer that can no longer receive updates will struggle to keep up with the latest technology.
Do I Have to Use a Computer?
A computer is necessary for completing assignments. Otherwise, it will take you about twenty times as long to complete a 20-page research paper. A computer isn't necessary to check your assignments, make quick responses in discussion boards and complete reading assignments.
Universities utilize platforms that are compatible with cell phones, laptops and computers. They may utilize Blackboard or Canvas. Both of these have apps for Apple and Android cell phones, as well as tablets.
Why You Should Use a Tablet
A tablet should be used in addition to a computer. With a tablet, you can easily take your courses with you wherever you are. If you have a 30-minute commute to work and then back home, that offers you ample time to get caught up on assigned reading, and even engaging in discussion board responses.
You can also use your tablet on lunch break at work, in the waiting room at the doctor's office or lying in bed at night before you go to sleep. A tablet offers you the ability for flexibility in learning.
A cell phone can do all those things as well, but it can put more strain on your eyes to use such a small screen. However, your cell phone is great when you have unexpected free time and didn't bring your tablet.
Desktop or Laptop
The great thing about a laptop is it can be easily moved around. Many people find it difficult to always sit in the same spot. Maybe their environment becomes stagnant and uninspiring, or the seating becomes uncomfortable as it conforms to their body.
Whatever the reason, with a laptop you could spend part of your time at the dining room table, and then part of your time on the living room couch. Whether you need to be alone, or the presence of other people doesn't distract you, a laptop gives you options.
Still, many people will prefer their desktop, and maybe even both. It doesn't matter which one you use. What matters is that you're comfortable and able to concentrate.
Windows or Apple
This debate has been raging on for four decades. Many people who have used Windows computers for years find it difficult to make the switch to a Mac. There really isn't that much difference, but things like minimize buttons and program launch locations look different.
However, there is one great thing about Apple products. You can sync all your devices and have access to the same information no matter which device you use, including your cell phone, tablet, laptop and desktop. That's a nice convenience.
If you like Windows, always go for a higher end Windows computer. The least expensive are sluggish and you'll want to throw it against a wall as you wait ten minutes for it to boot up or load.
In the end, nobody cares which device you use. What matters is that you're comfortable and you have access to your courses. The device you use should enable you to be a collegiate star.