What is an Online Degree
In this article we’ll look at how online degrees work, what you should look for if you are pursuing a degree via the online option, and what employers think of online degrees.
As more and more people get online degrees and use them in the workforce, HR managers and hiring managers will begin to feel more secure about the quality of education these people have. If the studies that were done by Thomas L. Russell and John Losak — showing the quality of online education to be as good as or better than that of traditional education — hold up on a larger scale, then the future of getting jobs and advancements based on online degrees will be bright.
Until then, choose schools carefully, and check for accreditation and strong programs. When you’ve completed the degree, go to job interviews armed with information to counter any questions about the quality or validity of your degree. Make sure the interviewer knows how you achieved the degree, how you worked it into a busy schedule, how you overcame any obstacles. It will show a self-motivation and discipline that may be just the qualities the company is looking for.
With a computer, an Internet connection and a little self-discipline, you can earn a degree from home, work, or anywhere else for that matter. Online degree programs follow much the same routines as traditional learning, with a few twists. There are lectures, but they won’t be in person. There are assignments, but you won’t hand them to your instructor. There are exams, but you won’t be able to look at your neighbor’s paper. There may be a set time that “class” begins, but you don’t have to be there then. In most situations, you are free to “go to class” when it fits your schedule. If you get a phone call during class, you don’t have to miss anything. If you get sick, you don’t have to ask for someone’s notes, you just visit the lecture later.
You’ll communicate with your instructor by e-mail, chat rooms, bulletin boards, and instant messaging. Your classroom will live in a special software program that uses text chat and bulletin boards, as well as streaming audio or recorded lectures. You may be put into a virtual workgroup with other students and be required to solve a problem. You may have to work through interactive puzzles and quizzes. Contrary to popular belief, you will have contact with other students and the instructor.
How are students evaluated?
Earning a degree should mean just that — earning it. If students aren’t assessed properly and degrees are handed out with little or no verification that any knowledge has been transferred from the instructor to the student, then how can the program be rated? Students, particularly adult students, learn more by doing than by simply listening. For this reason, it is important to ensure that part of the program involves applying what has been learned.
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