The Online Learning Experience
The Online Learning Experience – What it's like?
Unsure if an online degree is right for you?
First of all, know that you are not alone – according to the Sloan Consortium, which studies trends in online education, “Online enrollments have continued to grow at rates far in excess of the total higher education student population.” For example, during the fall 2008 term, over 4.6 million students were taking at least one online course — a 17 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.
No Set Attendance Time
With online learning, you don’t have to “log on” at a preset time. From whenever and wherever you connect to the Internet you’ll be able to attend classes fitting your schedule – allowing you to take care of your business and personal commitments and still fit in your class responsibilities.
Access to Course Materials and Student Resources
In the online university, the library is never closed and the course materials are always available. This allows you to access the materials you need to complete your course work according to your schedule.
Online courses are usually designed by professional instructional designers, who understand how to focus studies, promote interactive exchange among all class participants, and enhance learning both inside and outside of the classroom.
Instructors in online education are all experts in their chosen fields. They have the same expertise as instructors in ‘traditional’ schools as well as often receiving extensive training in delivering an online school experience that is every bit as rewarding as any other type of higher education experience.
While you don’t have to be a computer whiz to be an online learner, having a familiarity with web browsers and word processing programs can be very beneficial to your success level.
If you find computers intimidating, you might want to seek out a class offered in your community before seeking an online education.
Getting an education online is convenient – that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. Because of its nature, online learners must motivate themselves to stay up to date and put in the work required to complete their coursework.
As you won’t be ‘attending’ class at the same time as your peers, online learning also requires you to participate primarily through writing. This does not mean you have to be Shakespeare, but if you don’t feel comfortable communicating via writing, then perhaps you might want to consider improving your skills before beginning an online school experience.
The old stereotype of an online learner being alone in their studies couldn’t be more untrue. Dedicated efforts are made to foster interaction in online schools among online students and faculty. You will have group projects designed to improve your ability to work with others, much as you would in the real-world career you are preparing for.
Don’t be fooled – despite their adaptability to your schedule, online schools are every bit as serious about academic standards as their campus counterparts. Your course work will be every bit as rigorous as the ‘traditional’ degree – you will have regular homework, tests, reading and more.
Still need to learn if an online degree is right for you? Read some more about online learning.
Find out more about what online learning is all about by contacting one of our admissions experts!