What to Expect From Online Degree Programs
Online degree programs are not the ideal choice for everyone. Some students perform better in traditional environments where they can receive the lectures, materials, and assistance directly from teachers. Online degree programs also reduce the interaction among fellow students, as most of the correspondence is conducted online. This can be a bit too impersonal for some students who need that live interaction.
Online degree programs are largely self-directed. By that, I mean that these programs are designed for a student who is disciplined enough to direct studies himself or herself, obtain the key learning objectives for the course, and glean any information that might be suitable based on that individual’s learning goals. The feedback is often limited, but quite useful, and grades are less important than the development of skills that will be essential for future success.
Be wary of those schools promising an online degree with little to no effort on your part. These programs are likely just out to take your money, and will prove worthless if you use that degree to obtain an advanced position or to pursue additional educational opportunities. Any worthwhile degree program will require substantial work and commitment from the student.
Here is a short list of what to expect and prepare for:
– Be prepared to set aside time on a daily basis for coursework. Try to avoid distractions (television, telephone, or family members) whenever possible. A quiet room set aside as an office or study would be ideal.
– Do plan on having less time for your family. Let your family know why you are pursuing this program, and maintain communication with them so that you do not alienate yourself completely (which can be easy to do).
– Do plan on reading extensively. Prepare for quite some time spent in front of the computer. A personal suggestion would be to set aside time to visit the library once per week to get you away from the computer for a short time and provide an alternative source for research materials.
– Hone your writing skills, as you will be using them considerably for the coming months or years. If you are just beginning on your educational adventure, you will be afforded classes that will help you with your writing skills. As a graduate student, you will likely be expected to have advanced writing abilities.
– Your computer is your lifeline to your classroom. Make a contingency plan and test the viability of this plan over the course of your studies. If you are just beginning an online degree program, I might suggest purchasing a new computer, as this will remove any uncertainty related to your computing hardware and software at the onset.
An online degree can be an extraordinarily satisfying learning experience for many working adults. While there will certainly be challenges, the rewards upon graduation are far greater. Preparing for your journey towards your online degree will be vital towards success.
Written by Keith Londrie (Article source).