Online Learning FAQs
What is Online Learning?
At its most basic level, “online learning” means learning outside of a “traditional” classroom by means of technology. It is also sometimes referred by other names like distance learning or online education or distance education.
There are different types of online learning experiences, some degree programs are conducted entirely via the internet, while some programs are blended or partially online – requiring students to physically attend certain requirements at a campus location.
Online learning is growing very fast — according to the Sloan Consortium*, which studies trends in online learning:
- Over 4.6 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2008 term, a 17 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.
- The 17 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.
- More than one in four higher education students now take at least one course online.
How Much Technology is Involved?
While you don’t have to be a computer whiz to be an online learner, it will probably help to be comfortable with browsing and interacting on the internet, as well as ability with basic programs like word processing and spreadsheets.
As online learning has evolved, many online schools have developed tools and technology to make your online learning experience as user-friendly and intuitive as possible – including providing easy access to not just course materials and interaction tools, but also student support services, libraries, bookstores and many other features.
Will Employers Respect my Online Degree?
As more and more students earn their degrees online employers are increasingly viewing them more positively. According to George Lorenzo, publisher of Educational Pathways, online education now receives wide support among businesses. "As corporations continue to see an increase in job candidates who have earned their degrees online," writes Lorenzo, "the word has spread among executives, human resource professionals and hiring managers that online higher education graduates are focused employees with strong work ethics."
And, according to the Washington Post, "Online courses…have gained acceptance with employers, students and recruiters alike. The online education sector is expected to grow at least 15 percent this year."
What Types of Degrees Can I Earn Online
The sky is the limit! Online learners now have a wide range of degree options including diplomas, associate degrees, bachelor degrees, master degrees and doctorates across a broad spectrum of potential career paths.
What is Accreditation and Why is it Important?
According to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA):
"'Accreditation' is review of the quality of higher education institutions and programs. In the United States, accreditation is a major way that students, families, government officials, and the press know that an institution or program provides a quality education.
Will My Credits Transfer to Another College or University?
If you receive your online degree with a school that is accredited by one of the 6 regional accreditation agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), your credits will be accepted at most schools.
Are the Online Instructors Qualified?
In order to teach at an accredited online university, the faculty must have obtained an advanced degree. Additionally, faculty are often given specialized training in online teaching methods.
Is Online Learning Right for Me?
There are a number of factors that should go into your decision of whether or not to pursue your degree online. To be a successful online learner, you will likely require self-discipline, a level of comfort with technology and a lack of face to face interaction to go along with the convenience and flexibility an online education offers.
Find out more about what online learning is all about by contacting one of our admissions experts!