6 Steps To Obtaining A Successful Online Education
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A Detailed Guide To A Successful Online Education

Different online establishments offer varying learning formats and quality of course materials. Let’s take a general look at what is usually available to you, and how the process works in most cases with classes and assignments. This may not apply to all courses.

Step 1

After you decide which degree you wish to pursue, you can start your research on which universities offer it. Request information from their websites if it is not available straight away. You should find out detailed information on enrollment and the requirements for your degree. Some courses may require admission essays to be written and accepted before you can join.

Step 2

Once you choose your university, you will fill out forms and pay tuition fees (where applicable). Credits from previous courses can be transferred, as well as relevant work experience can be accounted for. Many universities offer grants, loans, and scholarships if you require financial aid.

Step 3

After enrollment, you will be required to develop a plan for your degree with an assigned academic advisor. Unlike traditional universities, at online universities, your personal preferences, time requirements and schedule are taken into account when devising a plan. Most courses have deadlines for applications and course start and end dates. Those are normally lenient, allowing you plenty of time to complete all assignments at a leisurely pace, whilst fitting in other commitments.

Step 4

Once all formalities are met, it is time to get to the core—your coursework. Your first course will normally be an introduction to online learning to get you accustomed to how studying works at that university. You will be taught what the learning format is, how to complete assignments and send them for evaluation. Practice tests are usually made available to get the hang of things before you get to any real assessments. You will be taught means to interact with your instructors and classmates, access libraries and other resources necessary for research, as well as what support services are available at the institution.

Step 5

When you get to the real assignments, your instructor should explain how to access subject-specific materials. Most online courses offer ‘online classrooms’ where all learning materials including assignments can be accessed and downloaded. Assignments are normally set in familiar Microsoft Office formats and then either uploaded or emailed to the instructor for evaluation. There might be other programs necessary to complete tasks. Universities will give you access and instructions as to how to download and use them, also providing support from staff if there are any problems.

Online classes are very different from what traditional universities offer. How they are conducted differs, but before each course, you will generally receive a contact list of all participants including the instructor. Anyone can be contacted at your convenience.

You will usually be provided with some materials, like presentations and class lectures beforehand, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the main concepts of the topic prior to live streams. Online lectures are made available through interactive multimedia with audio or video and visual materials such as slides to complement. Lecture transcripts can also be downloaded after each session or requested from the instructor.

Step 6

Following the lecture, students are encouraged to actively participate in online discussion threads. There are often no obligations to such participation, but it is recommended as an alternative to direct communication and discussion one would get in traditional classes.

Some courses necessitate your physical appearance once or several times per course. Ensure this will not be a problem for you before you commit.

Last But Not Least

Accredited online universities are comparable to traditional ones in terms of quality of education, recognition of diploma and correspondingly workload. You can expect some courses to be as challenging and time-consuming as the usual ones. Flexibility only translates to the possibility to do work in your own time and at your own pace: generally, you should expect to devote the same 10-20 hours per week to online studies.

How long it takes you to earn your degree depends entirely on you and your plan. If you can dedicate the same amount of time, as you would be expected at a brick-and-mortar university, you can complete your course in good time. Alternatively, you can set your own pace and take your time, whilst engaging in numerous other commitments. Take your pick!

A successful online education is a great opportunity our generation has at its disposal, but it is up to you to decide, having weighed up its benefits and drawbacks, whether it is suitable for your style of learning and whether you can get the most out of it.