7 Things You Should Be Aware Of Before Enrolling In An Online Course
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7 Facts To Bear In Mind Before Enrolling In An Online Course

You have just graduated from high school and in a flux about whether you should choose a traditional Bachelor’s degree program from a prestigious University or take the online route and supplement your learning with online courses. You start to conduct some research online to choose the right option. The internet is replete with articles touting the pros and cons of both, which does nothing more than to push you even deeper into bewilderment.

With skyrocketing costs of higher education, in conjunction with an ever-escalating dropout rate, the focus is taking a southward bend from offline to online learning, and we have myriad online learning statistics and trends as a testament. If you choose online learning over offline erudition, here are 7 things you need to be familiar with before enrolling in an online course.

1. Online Courses Are Taught By Real Professors

If you believe that online courses are a piece of cake and are taught by teachers who have failed to prove their mettle at more credible institutes, you need to change your perspective. Akin to traditional classes, online courses are overseen by real, highly-qualified professors, who are in no way inferior to their University counterparts. As an online learner, you need to get this perception out of your mind if you wish to do well in online courses. Although you might not be able to meet them in person, you can interact with them in myriad ways. The only difference is the medium of interaction. Instead of vis-a-vis interactions, you will have to resort to using emails, discussion boards, and online lecture sessions if you wish to converse with an online professor.

2. Easier On The Pockets

According to Complete College America, students shoulder an average debt of $30,100 at the time of graduation. To make it worst, a mere 5% of students graduate from a two-year college program in a timely manner. Each extra year in a two-year public college program costs you $15,923, while each extra year in a public four-year college leaves your wallet $22,826 lighter. We are talking big bucks here. This is why you will find thousands of students in debt due to the costs of higher education hitting the roof.

With such mammoth surges in prices,  increasingly more and more people are looking for cheaper alternatives. Online courses fit the bill perfectly, as they are much more affordable as compared to their traditional counterparts. You can also enjoy discounts and other promotional offers from time to time, which further serve to cut down the costs associated with this medium.

3. Transfer Of Credit Facility

Another advantage that online courses offer is that you can carry over the online credits received during your courses in your offline degree programs as well. Yes, you read that right. Some online courses even allow students the facility of credit transfer. This means that if you take the right online courses, they can also help you in a traditional degree program as well, and you might be able to skimp on a few courses and a semester or two from your academic program altogether, making your education even easier on the pocket.

4. Online Courses Require Exceptional Time Management

Even though some online courses facilitate self-paced learning to facilitate all and sundry, those that don’t entail you to manage your time efficiently and keep abreast. With a plethora of assignments and quizzes channeled your way, it can become quite hectic to make good on deadlines. You should, therefore, create tasks for each quiz and assignment, and assign a deadline to it. Keep track of your progress and you will surely come out on top. You can also create a 'to-do' list to make sure your memory doesn’t fail you.

5. Flexibility and Convenience

By far, the greatest advantage of online courses is the flexibility and convenience they promise. You can literally learn at any time, from anywhere if you have an internet-enabled device, and that too at your own pace. Online courses offer students the flexibility that they can only dream of and can never expect from traditional education. Now, you do not have to grudgingly get out of bed each morning, take a bus to the campus, rush to the class, and attend boring lectures because you can learn at the comforts of your home or even while managing a full-time job or taking care of your family. This is why online courses are riding the waves of popularity with students these days.

6. Interaction And Collaboration Opportunities

Another misconception that prevents students from signing up for online courses is that they might impede their interaction with peers and teachers. This is far from the truth, however. You can make the most of online collaboration opportunities and technologies, and work together on assignments and projects. There exists a wide array of discussion forums and chat rooms that let you stay in touch with your classmates. Some online courses even go a step further and offer video conferencing options as well to make the whole session more interactive. There is no denying the fact that online classes can never replace face-to-face interaction, but they are always working towards bridging the chasm.

7. Proctored Exams

If you think that you can rip-off, pass the exam, and get away with it as well, you must be living under the rock. These online courses track even the slightest movements and behavior altercations during exams through specialized tools, in order to maintain academic integrity. This is critical to maintaining the highest quality standards and the reputation of the online platform offering, as well as the credibility of the online course you are taking. Some online courses even entail you to give a proctored exam on campus after completing the course contents online.

Conclusion

Online learning has its own distinct set of advantages and disadvantages, but you should choose an online course that provides you with a perfect balance of flexibility, cost, and required efforts. Evaluate any online course based on the aforementioned criteria, and you will not have a hard time choosing the right online course according to your needs.

Which factors do you take into consideration when choosing an online course? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.

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