“When I wake up in the morning
And the alarm gives out a warning
I don’t think I’ll ever make it on time.
By the time I grab my books,
 And I give myself a look,
I’m at the corner just in time to see the bus fly by.
It’s alright cause I’m saved by the bell.”

Saved_By_the_Bell_Title_CardLouise Goffin’s lyrics for the 90’s hit TV show Saved by the Bell capture the once pervading culture of the traditional classroom — alarm clocks, school buses, hallways, desks, electric pencil sharpeners (if you were lucky), and the all-encompassing school bell. Today, as technologies shift and learning evolves, the classroom is taking on a very different look and feel. While colleges and universities around the country still maintain more traditional campuses,’ more and more of them are also offering a new breed of education in the form of online degrees. While nostalgia is powerful, many of us can’t deny the appeal of an online classroom and all the convenience and flexibility it brings. Many people are searching for a compatible educational experience but are hesitant to make the jump from the “tried and true” to the newer, innovative online model. So is online education a good fit for you?

Balancing work, school and families is a reality for many students and accomplishing this on-campus is not always feasible or desirable. Online education offers many tangible advantages for students who find themselves juggling “it all” including:

  • Flexible class schedule
  • More free time to spend with family
  • No sitting in a classroom
  • No commute

Ultimately, quality is something no student should sacrifice. Brick-and-mortar classes are often packed with students in an auditorium with the teacher making little personal contact with students outside of the traditional lecture. Meanwhile, online learning offers more personal interaction and attention from the teacher and other students. An online education can also offer greater access to expertise and experience by “bringing in” experts in different fields via video conferencing and online classroom platforms. Immediate results and feedback also contribute to enhanced quality in online classrooms as quizzes, tests and other assessments integrate learning technologies that allow for more rapid evaluation.

As the face of education continues to change, new solutions and methods for enhancing education will continue to surface. In an increasingly fast-paced world, online education is an option that offers students an opportunity to advance in their careers without sacrificing quality. There are various online programs available that are flexible enough to allow students to become a teacher, a social worker or even a business executive while keeping up with their other obligations. And with online education, you don’t have to worry about being saved by the bell.

Erika Phyall is the Community Relations Manager for the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education’s online master’s programs. USC Rossier provides current and aspiring teachers the opportunity to earn an online masters in teaching degree from a top-tier research university. Join the @USCTeacher community on Twitter.