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While distance learning and online education certainly suffer from stigmatization, recent studies provide numbers that call into question whether the stigma is justified.
In fact, in addition to students overwhelmingly preferring online education, when done right, with online students able to interact and chat with professors in real-time, the actual education received might even be better.
A Focus on Learning
One of the aspects that might skew the numbers a bit in favor of online education is the fact that most students doing it are focused on, and interested in, learning the subject matter. Additionally, because there is no commute time, students have more time for studying before and after class.
Furthermore, a recent Gallup poll shattered the myth that online education doesn't provide the same level of mentorship as in-person education. The poll looked at Western Governors University, a fully online university, and measured how the students stacked up to other in-person institutions. It found that the WGU students had better post-graduation employment rates, and had the highest "percentage of graduates saying they had a mentor who encouraged their goals and dreams."
Online Law School
Given these and other encouraging numbers about online education, it makes sense that the ABA has started approving online J.D. programs. However, unlike night school, online education could eventually become the new normal.
On top of all the benefits for a student's work/life balance, the quality of education can truly benefit as more students can benefit from a single good professor. Just imagine if every law student today could learn Constitutional Law from Erwin Chemerinsky. Not to mention, one would have to think that online law programs could significantly bring the costs of law school down, though, that might be a bit too idealistic of a thought.