Sunday Nov 28, 2021

Online Education: Do you want to go back to school?

In our rapidly changing global world, millions of students are taking college-level online (distance education) classes. Public and private universities in the United States and abroad offer certificate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs over the Internet for adult students. From the Ivy League to community colleges, an increasing number of students are able to log into their classes from home, work, or while traveling by bus and train. Adult learners frequently juggle a host of responsibilities, including parenting, career, and caring for older parents. Previously, a university of interest may have been geographically out of reach. Currently, an employee located in the United States can enroll in classes that are taught in the other half of the world. Non-traditional settings outside of the more traditional classroom offer viable opportunities for further education.

Adult students make up the largest demographic for postsecondary institutions in the United States. For this group of students, the benefits of online academic programs are:

o To update current skill sets

o To learn new skills

o To obtain a college or graduate degree

o Compliance with the academic requirements necessary for a current job or promotion

o Change careers

o Satisfaction of certification or licensing requirements.

o Personal and spiritual growth and development

Not for the faint of heart, success in academic distance education programs requires high levels of stamina, discipline, and motivation. A good candidate should be computer literate, possess the ability to read large amounts of material in short periods of time, have good writing and communication skills, have high expectations for good grades, enjoy applying critical thinking, and dedicate a minimum of 15 hours per week. per course (be prepared to assign more, if necessary).

The Internet and the World Wide Web provide the fundamental technological platform for distance education. The university’s technological and operational infrastructures (which include hardware, software and transmission) provide the additional pillars to the technological platform necessary to execute distance education programs. The delivery of academic content can be accomplished in various formats. The more traditional venues are correspondence courses, videos, audio cassettes, CD-ROMs, and television and radio broadcasts. Modern formats include synchronous and / or asynchronous educational content delivery channels. Synchronous delivery refers to the real-time interaction between the instructor and the student, that is, two-way video conferencing, white boards, chat rooms, phone software (eg Skype), and mobile technology devices. Asynchronous interaction does not involve real-time communication. Instead, instructor-student interaction is achieved through the use of email, DVD, and traditional education delivery formats.

As a student, you will need a desktop or laptop computer, an Internet service provider, a cell phone, a piece of software (i.e. a word processor, a financial spreadsheet, a calendar and Power Point), a disk drive of backup storage (nothing can make your heart drop faster than losing a body of work you’ve diligently developed), a headset for virtual team discussions, and traditional school supplies. Optional technology can include memory upgrades, scanners, digital scanners, and fax machines.

Ten Tips for the Successful Online Student:

o Have a credit or debit card ready to download e-books and other reading materials required for the course.

o Keep a list of more than one bookstore in case a required textbook runs out. It’s always a good idea to get a list of required textbooks mid-term and order ahead for the next term.

o Don’t be shy about asking for help if you need it. I cannot stress enough the importance of communicating openly with your teacher or instructor about course material that you may not understand. Online academic programs tend to move quickly, and course content you don’t understand is likely to cause problems down the road, resulting in frustration and possibly lower grades.

o Find a tutor. If there are areas that you know need to be strengthened, even before class starts, have a tutor on standby. Also, the phone number of a computer specialist should be on your address book.

o Time management will be essential. Keep a planner. Read your syllabus as soon as it is available and plan accordingly.

o Fulfill your responsibilities as a member of the virtual team. Your contributions will directly affect the team’s rating.

o Exercise. Spending long hours in front of the computer can strain the muscles of the neck, shoulders, arms, and back, not to mention the hands. Remember to stretch and tone periodically.

o Eat a healthy diet. Have good healthy recipes on hand. Hydrate. Avoid snacks that are rich in calorie-laden foods and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables instead. Avoid white flour and choose grains that are high in fiber.

o Consult your doctor. A healthy body feeds a healthy mind.

o Stay in touch with your Academic Advisor to make sure you are meeting the necessary requirements to complete your degree.

In the fall quarter of 2006, 3.5 million students, representing 20% ​​of all US higher education students, took at least one course online (2007. The Sloan Consortium). Distance education is projected to continue to gain popularity nationally and internationally. The most frequently offered online academic programs are Business, Computer Science and Engineering, Education, Engineering, Library Science, Nursing, and Public Health. Whether you select a community college, public institution, private institution, or Ivy League university, enjoy the learning experience.

© 2007-2008 Jeanna Foy-Stanley

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