Preparing For Your Online Education

For some specific reasons (work, family life, commitments), you may not be able to pursue further education in the traditional route. Thankfully, online education is now a viable alternative.

Like traditional on campus education, you also must follow some tried and tested procedures. This is to preclude waste in haste and faulty decisions, and generally, just to be in the safe side.

Choices

Like most decisions, your choice in your field of study must be firm and good. This early, you must know your subjects of interest related to your future degree.

Like what most experts emphasize, learning should be enjoyable. If you choose a field you are not really interested in, the momentum would lose steam later. Studies had shown that we learn more (and retain knowledge better) if we are interested in the subject.

Review

Once you have made your choice, the first thing to do is conduct a personal review. Scour the Internet and review all the programs offered by schools and universities.

Make notes on the variety of the courses, the various differences in subjects under them, and each of the processes involved. Weigh the differences and similarities. It will help you make your choice better.

Comparison

After the thorough review, it is now time to compare your notes on each of your candidate-schools. You will compare the requirements and the amount of work needed.

Review the courses that you must complete, the credits involved, the length of study and the corresponding costs. You may have to request further information from each candidate institutions you are looking into. This is the time to narrow down your choices.

Accreditation

In online education, accreditation is very important because it is a form of a quality control check on the schools. It means they have met the criteria set for their obligations as a school.

For students applying for grants and loans, accreditation is an important requirement. It means that you will spend your money wisely on a reputable institution and not a diploma mill.

Accreditation makes credit transfers between colleges and universities smoother and easier. Very important, too, is the fact that employers look for accreditation status when evaluating job applicants or offering financial support to employees who want to get further online education.

Costs

Part of your previous review of each institution is to find out if your candidate university-of-choice is Title IV funded.

This would mean that a student in that institution can qualify for student loans that are federally-funded. This is crucial if you have no funding available from your employer and everything comes from your own pocket.

Decision

It is time now to complete the online form of your chosen school and send it. However, list down all your questions before the school returns your call.

When they contact you, be sure all your questions are answered. You may request to put it in writing even in an email form. This is the time when further clarifications are clarified.

This is also the time to re-evaluate your choices. Some schools might hound you to make your decision. They are also in the business of making money and would want to get you first.

Make yours only when you are completely comfortable. Online education is one important life decision you have to make.

Online Education Versus Real Campus Education – Making the Right Decision

Since the advent of the internet, many things that were considered to be impossible have been proven to be simple tasks. In the field of education, too, the internet has made giant strides. It is now possible for students to attend classes without going to the campus. This has come as a great boon to many who face lots of difficulties in completing a formal education. Lets take a look at the various pros and cons of online education and real campus education to help you make a better choice to suit your needs.

Advantages of Online Educational Programs

The main advantage in taking up online courses is the flexibility in scheduling online classes. You can choose your own schedule as these online classes operate twenty four hours a day. Except for certain courses which require you to be online at a particular time, most of the programs can be attended at your own leisure. Students can interact with faculty members through e-mail at any time.

Moreover, the best thing about attending online colleges is that it encourages you to participate more in interactive sessions. You will be more at ease when speaking out your doubts regarding the subject of your choice. Even reserved and shy students will be at ease in coming forward with whatever questions they have. As far as the cost factor is concerned online education will cost you almost the same as campus education. However, you get to save a lot of money on boarding, food and commuting fees when you attend online courses.

Disadvantages

An important drawback is the lack of discipline that one sees in the students taking up online degree programs. Most people who take up online classes have other commitments in their life like a family or a job that takes up most of their time. This makes it hard for them to concentrate and many are not able to finish their courses.

Pros of Campus Education

A significant advantage of this traditional method of education is the amount of extensive interaction that a student receives with the lecturers and professors who tutor them as well as other students. This hones their intellect and communication skills and they are able to understand and participate more in the academic sessions. They also get access to lots of reading materials and books which will help them further in their academics. Studying in a campus gives a sense of belonging and it help build relationships which facilitates both personal as well as educational development.

Moreover certain degrees like medicine, engineering and health-care need practical laboratory classes which can be given only by attending a real campus education program.

Cons

The only disadvantage of attending classes in a campus is its traditional setup. You have to go to college and attend a fixed schedule to finish your degree. If you are otherwise engaged with a career or other important work you will have a tough time in finishing your education.

Decide What is Best For You

Though both online and campus learning environment have their share of pros and cons, you have to decide what is best suited for your situation. Ultimately, the choice is yours to make.

Distance Learning – Post Graduate Online Education Degrees

According to the Survey of Earned Doctorates, as of 2004 there was a 3.4 percent increase in doctorate degrees awarded in the United States. In June, 2004, a total of 41,155 research doctorate degrees were earned by postgraduate students. The recent increase in doctorate degrees awarded after a decade of decline can be partially attributed to the convenience of distance learning postgraduate online education degrees.

Postgraduate degree programs offer students an opportunity to explore a subject to attain the highest levels of proficiency in that area of study. Courses can be based upon a curriculum or independent study and research. A recent study released by both Penn State University Outreach Marketing and Communications and University Continuing Education Association revealed that distance learning is anticipated to grow ten times quicker than on-campus education over the next ten years. Further, about 45 percent of college enrollment are adult students who frequently prefer distance learning opportunities to classes on campus. Sun Chairman Scott McNealy states, “Technology has to play a huge role in education. (It’s) changed commerce…publishing…banking. It’s got to change education big time.”

Distance learning postgraduate online education degrees afford busy students the opportunity to earn doctorate degrees at their convenience, without having travel to and attend traditional classes. By the time students intend to pursue distance learning postgraduate online education degrees, they are usually computer literate, self-motivated and able to manage their time properly. These are all essential elements to success in virtual classrooms. The two basic types of postgraduate degrees students may earn are professional doctorates or research doctorates.

Professional doctorates. The United States requires terminal professional doctorate degrees to perform in certain fields, such as dentistry, medicine, law, chiropractics, occupational therapy and psychology. Prior to entering these professional doctorate programs, students are required to complete a bachelors degree, preferably in a related field. Professional doctorate degrees, such as J.D. and M.D., usually do not require students to complete a thesis, although some do require an original research paper to be submitted. Doctorate degrees usually take three years to complete after postsecondary education, although distance learning postgraduate online education degrees may be earned more quickly. Because online education courses are often geared for the busy adult learner, students can progress at their own pace.

Research doctorates. The research doctorate that is most commonly earned is a Ph.D. The time is takes to complete research doctorate degree programs can vary quite a bit, depending on course pursued. It is common for students to take two to three years to complete coursework and three or more years to conduct pertinent research. The benefit of a Ph.D. is that a holder is qualified to pursue an academic career as an expert in their field. Distance learning research doctorate degrees are conveniently pursued online and can be easily worked around professional schedules.

Honorary doctorates. These degrees may be awarded for substantial contributions to a field and are not necessarily academic.

Financial Aid. Federal financial aid and loan programs may be applied to distance learning postgraduate online education degrees. Employers may offer tuition reimbursement for coursework. Private loans may also be secured to pay for higher education. Students have several options available that can help them finance their doctorates.

Thesis. Some postgraduate doctorate degrees require students to write a thesis. The learner defines their own area of research and takes years to write a detailed paper, which may be made available as pertinent information to other students in the field.

Coursework. Distance learning postgraduate online education degree programs offer students ongoing guidance through coursework, email, virtual lectures and online discussions. Students are, however, expected to work independently and use a variety of research resources to complete their course requirements.

Online Students. A recent national study entitled Degrees of Opportunity revealed some interesting facts about online students. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed felt that the benefits derived from higher education are equal to or even greater than the money, time and effort involved. Lyungai Mbilinyi, Ph.D and author of this report, stated, “Eighty-one percent associated higher education with a sense of personal accomplishment and seventy-eight percent believed education would better develop their talents or pursue their interests. Despite the assortment of obstacles many adults face when considering a return to school, the overwhelming majority believe the resulting benefits have made it worthwhile.” Finally, eighty-four percent of enrollments in higher education programs are non-traditional students such as distance learners and adults with jobs. Students who participate in distance learning postgraduate online degree programs are not only seeking better positions, but the increased knowledge and self-esteem that comes with an advanced education.

The study “Growing by Degrees: Online Education in the United States, 2005” found that full distance learning postgraduate online education degree programs were offered by 38 percent of schools. The popularity of postgraduate online degree programs makes it clear they are a viable way to earn higher education and improve career options.