4/15/10

Online Education | The Right Fit, 10

(above image via: here.)

Online education (or e-learning) is instrucction delivered on a computer via the internet. It is an option of increasing popularity for not only our own generation, but also for adults going back to school and even high school students that want to get some colleges classes under their belts. There are generally two types of class delivery: self paced and led by an instructor. The learning includes text, video, audio, discussion boards, and other internet media.

There are many strictly-online universities that you've probably seen the commercials for. (Think Phoenix and DeVry.) Community colleges often offer a wide variety of online courses... sometimes entire degrees can be completed all (or nearly all) online. And even four-year schools are jumping on the bandwagon by offering online courses to distance-learners and on-campus students.

If you are curious about online courses, the best thing to do is check out the schools that offer e-learning. Different schools deliver the courses in different manners. For example: when I took online courses at community college, everything was completed online. Tests, quizzes, homework---everything was submitted via the internet course platform. But when I took an online course at university, the tests had to be taken at a proctored, on-campus testing center. And honestly, having to trek to that testing center was quite the hassle.

Also, the online course also varies according to your instructor. Some instructors may allow you to work at your own pace and turn things in whenever you want as long as you complete the course by the scheduled completion date. Some professors create units and make each unit due at (for example) midnight every Friday. And yet some professors insist on being difficult. I've had professors who make discussions due at 3pm on Mondays, quizzes due at 5pm Wednesdays, and then tests due at midnight on Saturdays. Keeping track of all those due dates can be frustrating.

Overall, I've had great experiences with online classes. I've taken entire terms of online courses... and I've split my term between a couple online and a couple on-campus. Either way, taking online courses freed up my schedule for work and play. I was more able to do things when I wanted to do things. And that flexibility was awesome.

If you plan on taking an online course, you must be motivated and organized. Online courses demand the same effort (if not more) than campus classes. There's no one there to tell you when something is due, so you must motivate yourself to open up your book and study. It's up to you to look it up on the course calendar and keep track. For online courses, there's rarely an excuse for missing a deadline. Organization is key so that you can keep everything straight. And, of course, familiarity with computers is essential. If you worry about that, there's probably someone who can train you to understand how your course is delivered. (Generally it's pretty straightforward and easy to pick up on.)

Amore.

For more information about online education, ask the schools you're interested in. Or, click here for some internet-based info.

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