What is an online degree?
Colleges and universities with online degree programs provide students with the flexibility to study from home or from any location where they can access the internet. In addition, online colleges often offer courses with flexible scheduling, which can be advantageous for people who work during the day and want to take classes at night. An online degree still requires the same amount of credits to graduate as a traditional campus-based university. For example, an online bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits, the same as a bachelor’s degree from a traditional college.
How does online education work?
Online education varies depending on the college, the degree program and the particular courses. Typically, students access the classroom remotely through a website or student portal. This environment is used for classroom lectures and to interact with teachers and classmates. Portals may also include common online features such as chat rooms, forums and private messaging capabilities. As technology advances, more courses are using special whiteboards that allow the content to be displayed directly on a student’s computer screen. Students also use the portal to access handouts and assignments or to download lectures.
To turn in assignments, students have several options depending on the class. For some programs, students submit their homework through the portal, while others may just email assignments directly to their professor. For online courses associated with local colleges, students may have the option of dropping off assignments in person during office hours.
In online education, class times can vary by program, school and teacher. Some courses have flexible schedules where students can download lectures and study at times that work for them. In this format, lectures come in the form of handouts, presentations and videos. For other courses, students may be required to attend lectures at set times. In these situations, it is common for classes to be held in the evening for people who work during the day. Flexible scheduling is one of the many advantages of an online education as it allows people to work while they further their education.
Can students interact with teachers and classmates online?
One argument against online education is the presumed lack of student-teacher and student-student interactions. To promote social interaction, many teachers will require a minimum amount of online participation during chat sessions. Advocates of online education note that students are often more likely to ask questions online versus in traditional classrooms where peer pressure may prevent people from talking during class. Students also interact with teachers and fellow classmates through email and forums. Finally, with technological advances, such as video messaging and Skype, students and teachers can have “face-to-face” conversations without actually being in the same location.
How do you take tests with online education?
There are several different types of tests a student may experience when taking courses online. Unlike traditional college courses, it is not possible to regulate the use of textbooks or other study aids for tests taken at home. For some classes, students may be required to log into the portal and complete the test within a certain time limit. In other situations, the exams may require more research than traditional college tests. Finally, for online courses taught by a local university, some classes will require the students to take the exams in person, in a classroom or at a testing facility. When looking into an online degree program, this is definitely a good question to ask an admissions counselor.