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What are online degrees?
Online degrees are degrees that allow students to get a university degree from the comfort of own home, as long as they have a computer and internet access. Like a regular degree program, they complete degree program requirements like courses and projects but the difference is, they don’t need to go to campus to earn their degree. Course content is usually available through the university website that typically have specialised course management systems designed especially for this cause to optimize the process of online learning. Just like in-person degrees, online degrees have projects, lectures, interactive exercises, quizzes and assignments that are submitted. These all require active participation and follow a full curriculum, much like a traditional degree program.
Types of online degrees
If the concept of an online degree is tempting for you, you’ll be pleased to know there are several types of online degrees. Here are some of the most popular types:
Synchronous and asynchronous online learning
Synchronous learning online degrees allow students to interact with one another and the professor or teaching assistant in real-time. On the other hand, asynchronous online degrees use lectures or material that are pre-recorded so students can learn on their own time. Some online degrees use either type of these online learning techniques while others may have a bit of both in their curriculums.
Some online degrees may be categorized as blended learning degrees. These degrees may also be known as hybrid learning degrees. This means they’re a mix of both online and in-person learning so students complete their work both online and in person. This uses the best techniques from each of the learning approaches so that learning is more efficient and effective. For example, lectures may be in person but project work is done over the internet or the opposite may apply, with students only coming to campus for one week during the semester to complete a group project.
Massive open online courses
A final type of online courses are massive open online courses. These are low cost programs that could actually be for free that students can attend. These are usually pre-recorded lectures with discussion forums with other students in the course, as well as assessments that are graded by a computer.
What to consider when choosing an online degree?
It’s important to focus on some points if you are going to pursue an online degree. Here are some of the most important points you should keep in mind when choosing one:
Perhaps the most important question to ponder is whether the online degree is accredited or not. If the institution offers an accredited degree, this means that the school has fulfilled many requirements to gain this online accreditation. This probably ensures that your future employer or another university for future studies will approve the degree. This might also affect your ability to get a scholarship so you should make sure your program is accredited if you’re looking out for financial aid.
Another point to look at is the degree costs. It’s important to keep in mind the fact that just because a degree is expensive doesn’t mean that it’s a great learning degree. Alternively, cheap online degrees might offer a good quality of learning. Some might even be top programs in their field so be sure not to use cost as a deciding factor when it comes to choosing an online degree. Instead, research the degree well and make sure it’s offered by a good institution and suitable program for you.
Next you should consider program quality by looking at course details, program descriptions and the materials they have for students who pursue online degrees at their institutions. Explore these in great detail to ensure that you are interested in the subject matter and will feel engaged with the material, as a lot of online degrees are typically independent study. It’s important to make sure there is a collaborative project or assignment or virtual labs to help you connect with other students and apply theoretical skills you have learned practically. This interaction can help you stay motivated and complete your online course degree.
Finally, it’s important to check reviews to see what other people are saying about a specific online degree program. People always talk about bad experiences before good experiences so make sure to look up the program of your choice before applying for it. If the program is new, you might not find any reviews so if this worries you, you might want to remove this program from your potential programs list.
Why study an online degree?
Finally, you might be asking yourself why even study an online degree, as opposed to a traditional one. Here are some of the reasons students choose to study an online degree:
Online degrees are flexible
The biggest benefit of an online degree is probably how flexible it is. This means you don’t need to quit your job to pursue a degree program. You can also have a balanced social life instead of attending annoying lectures all the time. Instead of adapting your schedule to physical lectures, it’s easier to work your way around online lectures and plan ahead so that you are able to do everything you want to do, school related or not. This means you can choose to study at night or in the morning or whenever you want, as long as you get it done at the end of the day!
You can study from wherever you want
Accessibility is also a major point in favour of online degrees as you can study your degree course from wherever you want. If you don’t want to move to the country of your campus, that’s an option now with online degrees. You can continue your life as normal whilst getting a top-class education exactly where you are! You can access your entire course curriculum and learning materials from your couch, bed or even the beach. All you need is a laptop, your smartphone or tablet, as well as a reliable internet connection, and you’re good to go!
Online degrees are independent learning
Finally, this one might be a two-edged sword when it comes to some people but online degrees are highly independent degrees. That means you set the pace and the time and get your work done. If you are a motivated person then this is a major benefit for you. You can learn as quickly or as slowly as you want and participate as much or as little as you want if you are taking an online degree. The course is highly independent and you can shape yhe learning environment you are comfortable in however you like.