There are rarely set online classes each week. Therefore, you can self-pace your learning. Being anonymous sometimes mean you can gain even more confidence to post your thoughts on forums. In my classes, students often have the opportunity to post their own photos and names on their profile. They like to be anonymous. You can be as vocal or quiet as you like in online classes. Many students come back to forums every second day to participate in conversations.
The great thing is that you can control how much information you give away about yourself. Online courses are increasingly becoming integrated with mobile technologies so you can do your course while watching TV, sitting on the bus or walking to class! Lectures are also increasingly being replaced by podcasts and videos, making learning more student-centered and ensuring you can learn in your own time and space. I was literally lying on the deck of the boat, smartphone in hand, giving a lecture to over students all the way back in Australia.
One semester my boss was doing a road trip around the United States. All you really need to do if you plan on travelling is let your teacher know in advance and arrange to make sure your assignment submission dates are acceptable. Make sure you check with your teacher to ensure everything will go smoothly!
Many of my students are remote students who study online so that they can enjoy the benefits of living in their local rural communities. I distinctly remember one student from two years ago who lived on an island off the south coast of Australia. The island had only one ferry in and out per day. Remarkably, she was able to both study online and run her online business all from her remote homestead.
In fact, I live between Australia and Canada. Heck — I go back and forth between Vancouver and Sydney regularly and yet I teach for a university in Melbourne! If you want to live where you want but not forego university, online learning is for you. Many universities offer online courses on a more regular basis than offline courses. Just by taking an extra semester per year, you can reduce the length of your degree dramatically. Often times on-campus students embrace online classes during the Summer semester to accelerate their degrees and get out into the workforce as soon as possible.
With accelerated 2-year degrees recently approved by the UK parliament, my British readers might want to take note of the 2-year degree options that will be rolling out for online courses in coming years. Online learning is growing even while overall university enrolments continue to fall. Translation: universities are working really hard to attract students to their online courses. Universities see that they can attract students from far and wide with online degrees. Online degrees are progressing in leaps and bounds.
In reward for your money, the universities will be working very hard to retain you in their courses. You can make a choice of a huge number of universities. You can select a university that offers the degree program that you like the most. Look around and find one with the best reputation or a special focus that appeals to you and your future career goals.
When you graduate with an online degree, you will have experience using online learning tools such as Google Docs, Canvas, Blackboard, Webinars, Group Wikis and Forums. This digital skillset will be front-and-center in your job application and might just get you into the shortlist to sell yourself on interview day. And there are many. Multiple studies, including this one have highlighted that online students are more likely to drop out of university than on-campus students. This is largely due to the lack of social contacts that online students are exposed to, as well as the need for self-discipline and self-motivation in online learning.
The study cited above highlights that the key to persisting with online courses is adopting a growth mindset. The uptake from this study? One strategy you might want to employ is to set new goals at the start of each semester and get into positive study habits early on. I have this problem. My online course is based in Melbourne Australia. I live in Vancouver Canada. Then sometimes daylight saving time pushes this out a few hours each way, meaning that time difference that I thought was 18 hours suddenly becomes 19, or 16, or 17 … really, I lose track!
It might be due 3am on Thursday morning my time.
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The time zone struggles can get pretty tedious. If you live in the same state or time zone as your university, you might be okay. Your best bet is that your teacher has recorded a lecture, assigned some reading, or provided a video to watch.
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This means self-discipline is a must. I had emailed him on his student email — a lot — but he did not check it regularly, if at all. Setting aside the fact that email pushes on your phone or laptop are a must for online students see my point below on emails , this student also lacked the self-discipline for online learning.
Students usually start out optimistic and enthused for their online classes. Then, as the weeks tick by, I see less and less of the students on the discussion boards. Four days ago my partner went off to her workplace and I stayed home to work online all day. I should do the chores.
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That story about being given a list of chores continues. Neither of them got done. When you have the freedom to study from home, you also have the added issue of needing to juggle, separate and divide work time from personal time. You can craft a balanced, professional forum post or email to ensure you get the message right. Well …. So you email back, asking for clarification. Fortunately, this will only happen once or twice in your online degree.
The advantage of online degrees is that the teachers are usually quite switched-on when it comes to technology. But wait … even a well-connected, tech-savvy teacher might misinterpret the tone of your email. Similarly, you might struggle with the tone of theirs. Online course designers work very hard to make your learning experience as engaging and sociable as possible. Social learning is often cited as the best form of learning. It helps you broaden your horizons and have your viewpoints challenged. Nevertheless, it can be hard to get a genuine conversation going with someone via an online forum.
Students often post their response to a weekly task and never check the forum again. If you need that social interaction to really understand concepts, you might be in trouble. Once I had a live online lecture with over students in the class when my internet modem decided to reset.
A storm, a car crash at the end of the street, or just a faulty microphone can cause all sorts of trouble. Similarly, if your laptop crashes as an on-campus student, you might need to go to the campus library to complete your essays. Technology issues will arise during your online degree.
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Be prepared. Do you have a partner whose laptop you can use? Does your teacher record their live lectures for you to view later? And of course, are you comfortable with learning how to use basic online technologies like Google Docs and Canvas or Blackboard learning management systems?
Do you want to join clubs, make friends and go to parties? Are you interested in using university to meet your potential partner and make contacts for future jobs? The social experience of heading to university is amazing. I loved my four years living in my college dorm and enjoying being young. Even without considering the general informational exposure that the internet delivers, online academic courses and learning initiatives are becoming more aware of the needs of people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and this means that people from such backgrounds are in a much better position to learn and progress than they used to be.
The biggest argument that raises doubt over online learning is the quality of online courses in comparison to conventional courses. Are such online courses good enough for employers to take notice? The second biggest argument is the current reality that faces many people from disadvantaged backgrounds, despite the improvements made in this area in recent years — they do not have the level of basic access needed to benefit from online learning.
In fact, there are numerous sources of evidence that claim disadvantaged students are not receiving anywhere near the sort of benefits that online learning institutions and promoters are trying to instigate.