A new wave of eLearning has arrived in the form of web-based On line classes

Frequently Asked Questions

arrow What are some of the advantages of attending education online?
Many students are more comfortable engaging in meaningful discussions online than in a classroom. These students might have hearing or speech impairments; speak different languages; have severe social anxiety; or simply need more time to organize their thoughts.

arrow How does online education work on a day-to-day basis?
Instructional methods, course requirements, and learning technologies can vary significantly from one online program to the next, but the vast bulk of them use a learning management system (LMS) to deliver lectures and materials, monitor student progress, assess comprehension, and accept student work. LMS providers design these platforms to accommodate a multitude of instructor needs and preferences. While some courses deliver live lectures using video conferencing tools, others allow students to download pre-recorded lectures and use message boards to discuss topics. Instructors may also incorporate simulations, games, and other engagement-boosters to enhance learning. Students should research individual programs to find out how and when they would report to class; how lectures and materials are delivered; how and how much they would collaborate with faculty and peers; and other important details. We address many of these instructional methods and LMS capabilities elsewhere in this guide.

arrow Is online education as effective as face-to-face instruction?
Online education may seem relatively new, but years of research suggests it can be just as effective as traditional coursework, and often more so. According to a U.S. Department of Education analysis of more than 1,000 learning studies, online students tend to outperform classroom-based students across most disciplines and demographics. Another major review published the same year found that online students had the advantage 70 percent of the time, a gap authors projected would only widen as programs and technologies evolve.

arrow How do I know if online education is right for me?
Choosing the right degree program takes time and careful research no matter how one intends to study. Learning styles, goals, and programs always vary, but students considering online colleges must consider technical skills, ability to self-motivate, and other factors specific to the medium. A number of colleges and universities have developed assessments to help prospective students determine whether they are prepared for online learning. You can access a compilation of assessments from many different colleges online. Online course demos and trials can also be helpful, particularly if they are offered by schools of interest. Students can call online colleges and ask to speak an admissions representative who can clarify additional requirements and expectations.

arrow What technical skills do online students need?
Online learning platforms are typically designed to be as user-friendly as possible: intuitive controls, clear instructions, and tutorials guide students through new tasks. However, students still need basic computer skills to access and navigate these programs. These skills include: using a keyboard and a mouse; running computer programs; using the Internet; sending and receiving email; using word processing programs; and using forums and other collaborative tools. Most online programs publish such requirements on their websites. If not, an admissions adviser can help.

arrow What technology requirements must online students meet?
Technical requirements vary from one online degree program to the next, but most students need at minimum high-speed Internet access, a keyboard, and a computer capable of running specified online learning software. Courses using identity verification tools and voice- or web-conferencing software require webcams and microphones. Scanners and printers help, too. While online schools increasingly offer mobile apps for learning on-the-go, smartphones and tablets alone may not be sufficient.

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