By Andrew Wilson
There is actually very little difference between online and traditional classes as far as the goals of learning or earning diplomas are concerned. If there is a huge difference between the two, it has something to do with the way offline and online education classes are conducted to deliver lessons, instructions, feedback from submitted requirements, etc. Deciding to enroll in an online course is a popular option for those who have difficulty attending a regular school – single parents, young moms, disabled, and those who are already working, but need additional degrees or training for promotion.
Online education is not really harder; the ways classes are conducted are just different. With some adjustments, there is no doubt that anyone can find it a worthwhile alternative to attending a traditional school. To be sure that you can survive the challenges associated with online education classes, make sure to ask questions and consider your goals before attempting courses online.
1. Do you like “interactive” learning?
What about doing things on your own? Online learning entails a lot of writing, reading and independent work. If these do not fit your learning style, better reconsider. Online classes provide freedom to enrollees and work well for those who learn faster when they do things on their own. All exchanges between instructors and students in the online classroom are written in the form of messages. This eliminates note taking, but require students to read and write more.
2. Do you have the basic computer skills and computer access to survive online education classes?
You need not really be a computer savvy to succeed as an online student. Generally what you need is a stable Internet connection, a PC or laptop, familiarity with some basic programs and some standard Internet tools. If you have to download certain software, you can easily ask help from some online contacts or your family and friends.
3. How do you decide where to enroll?
There are many offline schools that are already expanding academic programs online. It is good to select these schools that you know are reputable learning institutions that have actual experience in managing academic programs. Make sure that the program you are interested in is accredited and that the degrees, certificates or classes they offer meet your educational and career goals. Find out about your options, the cost, the profile of their faculty and mentors. Ask about their technical support, financial aid, registration, and other policies related to admission, retention and graduation.
4. What can you expect as far as work and participation are concerned?
You may be surprised, but online classes have similar requirements that entails as much work and interaction as any traditional college or university. The virtual classrooms that are created by online schools exact the same attendance that you can do by logging, the same effort during discussions, doing assignments, projects and exams.
5. How do you keep your focus and energy level high?
Take a recess. Just like in any traditional school, you should have breaks to give yourself a breather every so often. This helps keep your focus when there is a need to and to keep your enthusiasm high when it is time to study. Even when you have the freedom to choose your study time, it is good to fix a schedule that will allow you to perform well; the secret is in taking a recess when you need a break.
You may think that studying online can be a lonely road to travel alone. Do you know that these days, most online schools already make use of interactive programs that allow you to interact with your teachers and fellow student through chatting, video conferencing, discussion forums, and phone calls?
With this information, are you now ready to take the challenges of online education classes?