Online or Distance Education college degrees are becoming increasingly popular.
With the possibilities brought on by the internet, a lot of people are now interested in learning more about this new form of education; and because it’s all very new, before taking a leap of faith it’s important to find out if it’s indeed worthwhile.
As a matter of fact, an online college degree can solve quite a few problems considering it’s cheaper and provides students with more freedom and autonomy.
However, what most people don’t know is that it requires a lot more discipline and personal organization skills as opposed to traditional on-site learning, among other details we’ll mention, that must be carefully analyzed before making a decision about your education.
So if you’re thinking about opting for an online college but still have some questions and would like to learn more about the subject, this post is for you.
Shall we get started?
Online College Education is a form of higher education in which teaching and learning take place, for the most part, through technological and communicational resources, such as virtual classes.
In other words, students and teachers don’t have to meet in person for the educational activities to occur. Practically the entire process can be done digitally and students can also choose when to watch classes.
This type of education is regulated by the Department of Education in several countries. In the US, for example, it’s important to check if the academic program of your choice meets licensing requirements in your home state.
Online colleges work through the student’s access to a platform offered by the University, through which they will attend classes, perform activities and even take tests.
However, it’s important to check each country’s regulations, as you may not be allowed to take the entire course online. Some institutions require at least some face-to-face meetings. These meetings can be work presentations, tests or practical classes.
In addition to understanding how it works, you must take into account that the decision whether or not to attend a college online will depend on your goals and your study profile.
I said that it would require a lot of discipline, right?
That’s because there will be no one there to push you to study every day, you’ll have to organize your schedule and this also requires a lot of effort.
Another important point is understanding and evaluating your needs when choosing online education.
In the case of those who work and have little time to study, or if physically getting to college is difficult and expensive, distance education is a good choice.
And finally, it’s always good when the decision is aligned with your professional goals.
In order to make it easier, let’s check out a few advantages and disadvantages of attending college online:
A significant advantage for those in doubt is the price.
Online courses truly tend to be cheaper and there is an explanation for this:
- There are fewer expenses with infrastructure;
- A course can receive more students than it normally would in a classroom college course;
- The college course can rely on a lower number of professors since the classes are digital and can be recorded or broadcast live from a single source to several students in different places.
The online course load varies according to the Course’s Pedagogical Project, but generally, it is equal or similar to face-to-face courses.
However, what saves time is the fact that you don’t have to get to the university and can carry out the activities at the pace and time you prefer. These small details make a huge difference!
When you attend online college classes you can decide how to study, what time you will do so and the ideal environment for you.
Having more autonomy while studying not only provides more freedom and convenience, but also helps you develop traits that will be good for your future in the job market.
Online degrees have the same accreditation as traditional degrees
Perhaps nowadays, even with breakthroughs in technology and the digital world, several people still believe that online college degrees aren’t as valued as traditional college degrees.
Of course, the number of professionals getting degrees from online colleges is relatively small and there is still some resistance in the market. But there are quite a few legitimate, accredited institutions that are helping to change this mindset.
The tendency is that the number of students opting for this form of education will increase a lot in the next years to come. Consequently, the market is bound to recognize their equivalence.
It’s one of the fastest growing forms of education
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), since 2003, the number of students taking at least one online course in the US has grown at an impressive rate and Distance learning student enrollments increased steadily year-to-year.
Technological breakthroughs also tell us a lot about the future of education, since it is important to provide more opportunities and democratize education.
Thus, the tendency is that distance education will progressively gain more support. Even face-to-face colleges are yielding to the technology and adopting a few online subjects in their courses.
It’s a new model
The fact that distance education is a relatively new model scares a lot of people. Moreover, quite a few people may find it difficult to adapt to these new tools.
Not to mention society’s resistance and the lack of recognition, often due to lack of information, may become an obstacle.
But in any case, everything that is new goes through this initial barrier.
It depends on the internet and having a good device
In order to attend classes, participate in webinars and perform other activities online, students need an electronic device – be it a computer, tablet or cell phone, which works well, because this device will be their main study tool.
In addition, it is essential to have a good internet connection to allow them to access online tools without affecting teaching.
Less physical and immediate contact with students and teachers
We can’t deny that despite distance education allowing interaction between teachers and students, and among the students themselves, through digital technology, the distance can be a complicating factor when it comes to immediate responses and closer contact.
The evaluation of each person’s study profile is up to them.
A lot of people believe that not having daily physical classroom interactions makes a huge difference, others find it more practical having the time to write a comment, ask questions online and relying on information available on the web.
It requires full commitment and organization
There’s no other alternative: if you want to reach your goals and graduate, your commitment to your course must be a priority.
It won’t be easier just because you don’t have classes every day and are free to make your own schedule.
On the contrary, you’ll have texts to read, deadlines to meet and whether you want to or not, you will have to devote time every day to study, in addition to having to keep yourself motivated.
But keep reading, because below I’ll provide you with a few tips so you can overcome this challenge!
Now that you understand everything about online college education, it’s easier for you to decide whether it’s the best option for you. And if so, here are a few tips to help you choose yours:
● First of all, check if the course you want has a distance education model and find out which universities offer it, and if they are accredited in your country and/or state.
● Make sure the university has a high-quality teaching platform, considering that it will be through this platform that the entire teaching process will take place.
● Analyze how the chosen course is perceived in the job market and if the university will provide all the information and material necessary for your studies.
1- Have a clear goal
Establishing a goal is an important step for every choice in life. It is from a well-defined goal that we are able to think about the path that we’re going to take in order to achieve it.
Knowing what we wish to achieve makes it easier to be motivated and, as you know, self-motivation is very important for those who take an online course.
2- Organize your time
Time management skills are essential to carry out college work. Therefore, make a schedule of your day, set aside time to study and try as much as possible to follow the schedule you established.
When we have no supervision, we tend to procrastinate or even forget to do our tasks.
In order for this not to happen, one tip is to make a plan with task organization tools and create alerts. There are a few applications that can help you in this aspect, such as Google Keep, Evernote, Trello, and Todoist.
3- Choose a suitable environment
There is an intense tendency to associate studying at home with sloppy studying, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Maybe you believe that studying in bed might be more comfortable; fine, as long as it is in a quiet place with a good internet connection and in a manner that doesn’t harm your health.
Consider that you’ll be spending hours watching online classes and doing school activities. So, be kind to your back!
My advice is to have a suitable environment, with a desk and chair so you can concentrate, without outside noise or any other distraction.
Of course, studying in this environment every day is not a rule. Sometimes you’ll attend a class away from home or do exercises on the couch.
However, having that one place you can go to when you really need to concentrate is essential.
4- Give priority to a good internet connection and good equipment
Turning in your work late or missing a test due to internet problems isn’t cool. Obviously, this subject is one of the main ones for those who choose to take online college courses.
Therefore, evaluating your internet connection before studying, choosing a high-quality service with an adequate connection is a good idea.
In addition, having one or more electronic devices equipped with a camera, microphone and earphones are also important for your online academic life.
5- Avoid online distractions
Focus on the activity that you are performing, close website tabs that have nothing to do with what you’re studying, especially social media. Any notification sound can be distracting.
And as hard as it is to resist the incredible convenience that the Internet provides us when searching for an answer to a question while reading a text, or watching a video while performing an activity, try to do one thing at a time.
Be aware that these tips are valid so you can concentrate better and become more productive.
By doing so, you absorb information more effectively and consequently, increase your performance during evaluations.
6- Participate and stay motivated
Take all the steps above and find your own study method, use it routinely and establish daily goals. This way you create self-motivation strategies to persist in your main objective, graduate!
In addition, use all the material and tool provided by the university so you can always explore and learn more.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand something, contact other students and participate in discussions and meetings.
The reality of lots of people attending college online is nearer than we imagine. It’s growing and becoming a definitive solution for education.