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7 Things You Should Know Before Taking an Online Course

Tal Leeds

Today, employers want an educated workforce. In response, more people are turning to online education to fit school into their busy lives. Before you decide to take online classes, you should know that they’re different than traditional classes in some key ways. These differences may cancel out the advantages of a flexible learning schedule for you. It all depends on your learning style and needs.

#1 Student Effort = Student Success

Online classes are not for everyone. Success with this format takes a great deal of self-motivation.

Independent, disciplined, and productive students are often most successful with online classes.

#2 Online Classes Demand Excellent Time-Management Skills

Online classes may let you study whenever you want to, but don’t think you’ll spend any less time studying. Do you wait to the last minute to do your work? Are you easily distracted? Do you have trouble setting goals and reaching them? If so, online classes might not be for you.



#3 Online Classes are as Difficult as Traditional Classes

You might be able to take them on your own schedule, but that doesn’t make the course any easier. Without strong time-management skills, the advantages of online classes quickly become disadvantages. Add to that the challenges of learning through a computer, and it could quickly become a more difficult than a traditional class.

#4 Real Professors Teach Online Classes

So long as the school you are attending is accredited, your class will be taught by a credentialed professor. Though you may never meet them in person, the lesson plans they give you will resemble the other courses they teach. They will know as much as any other professor in their field and may even teach on-campus courses too. The only real difference is that you’ll be in touch with them through online discussion boards, emails, and online lecture sessions.

#5 Online Students Have Plenty of Opportunities to Interact with Their Peers

You might worry that learning online will make interaction with other students difficult. Fortunately, that’s not the case. You might not share a classroom with them, but you can still chat and collaborate. Online classes have discussion boards, online chat, and video conferencing to help. This way, online students are still able to connect with each other, and have opportunities to work collaboratively.

#6 Online Exams are Proctored

Online classes use special tools to track students during tests and help maintain academic integrity. The use of these tools sustains the quality and reputation of your online degree. Some courses even require proctored on-campus testing. If you live far from campus, you may want to check for such requirements before enrolling.

#7 Not All Online Degrees are Equal

This is really important to understand: while online degrees have become increasingly more common, some are viewed more favorably than others. 

 In fact, employer opinion often depends on three things: accreditation, campus, and school brand. In general, the higher the school’s standing on these factors, the more favorably employers view the degree.

Recent issues involving for-profit online schools have made this an important issue. For example, in April of 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated University of Phoenix. The FTC acted on complaints from students in the Bachelor of Science and Human Services online degree program.  Many students applied for jobs only to find that employers had rejected their applications, citing that the program was not properly accredited. While some students received settlements, others lost valuable time and money.

The primary concern for employers is the quality and consistency of the school that issues your degree. Luckily, Abound is here to help you find online degrees that are worth your time, money, and effort! Situations like these illustrate why Abound does not include for-profit schools in our guide.

More About Abound: We’re here to help. Abound: Grad School can help get you in touch with schools that we can confirm are Accessible, Affordable, Accelerated, and Advanced. Take a look at the schools we trust and find the program that works for you.

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