Are you out of work due to corporate downsizing? Are you considering going back to school in order to change careers or get a higher paying job? Does raising a family or work commitments prevent you from attending traditional college or university or classes?
Virtual classes provide the ideal alternative to further ones education. Online Bachelor, Masters and PHD programs offer convenient 24/7 access and self pacing formats.
How Do Online Degrees Work?
Today you can earn a degree from a major university without having to step foot into a classroom. Many college and university are embracing distance learning and are offering courses and degree programs online.
In fact there are even universities such as Canadian Virtual University (CVU) which cater exclusively to online education.
CVU does not offer it’s own degrees, it acts as a portal for courses from 14 universities throughout Canada.
Global University Alliance is conglomeration of 10 schools from across the United States, England, Australia, Switzerland, Singapore, China, Japan and Denmark.
There are some universities which are completely virtual and have no campus, no sports teams and no fraternity.
Communication with instructors is done by email, chat rooms, bulletin boards and instant messaging. Special software create virtual classrooms that use text chat and bulletin boards as well as streaming audio or recorded lectures.
You might be assigned to a virtual work group with other students in order to complete group assignments or projects. Transcripts of notes from lectures are archived so you can always go back to them.
Are Online Degrees Legit?
The legitimacy of online education is evident in the number of reputable colleges and universities that now offer online accreditation programs. Even financial aid have embraced online education.
Some education sources emphasize that there is little division in the quality of education between online and traditional curriculum.
Online education has come of age pretty much overnight. Virtual education is available to pretty much anyone one who has the desire to pursue it. The variety and number of courses available is endless.
Most states require that an educational institution be certified, authorized and or accredited to award students with degrees.
There are some schools out there that do not meet these requirements. To find out if an accredited school, contact the appropriate State Department of Higher Education.
How To Evaluate An Online Degree Program
Once you know a school is accredited there are still some areas to consider before you make your selection:
1) How Is The Course Presented?
How does the instructor present their lectures? Is the lecture recorded in audio or video format? Is there interaction? Are there exams and how are they presented?
2) How Do Students Interact With Each Other?
What forms of interaction are used: chat rooms, instant messaging, teleconferencing and video conferencing.
3) Are the Instructors Qualified?
Check out the credentials and degrees of each instructor. Is there a tech team in place to assist instructors if they run into technical challenges?
4) What Kind Of Reputation Does the School Have?
A good school will have well developed online programs with a reputation of graduating students that are highly employable.
5) How Are Students Evaluated?
Does the school have a reputation for graduating students that are knowledgeable and highly skilled?
6) Are the Library Resources Up-to-date?
Reference materials and text books should be up-to-date and accessible at all times.
Online education is not for everyone. Most programs are very challenging and demand regular participation in order to complete the program within a particular time frame. A high degree of commitment and self motivation is required in order to be successful.
Terri – WFHW