Online education offers students the advantage of earning a degree at a lifestyle-friendly pace. Because distance learning is not the traditional model, students interested in taking classes online often struggle with knowing if such a program would work for them. Fortunately, the flexibility of online learning makes fitting in education the student’s top priority. If balancing education with full-time employment and family obligations matches what you are looking to achieve, online education might offer you more than traditional instruction.
Knowing that an academic program will fit into your lifestyle is not enough to know that you have the skills and drive necessary to succeed in distance learning. Because online education empowers students to learn at their chosen pace while making time for obligations outside of school, students need to be strongly committed if they are to succeed.
If you are not sure whether online education is for you, consider these success strategies for online students to see if you have what it takes to thrive in a remote learning program.
Traditional Learning Versus Online Education: How Do They Differ?
Non-traditional students tend to gravitate toward online learning because these programs tend to build flexibility and accessibility into the curricula. As long as you have a reliable internet connection, you can participate in coursework any time of the day and from anywhere you may be. University of Phoenix Vice Provost Marc Booker agrees, “The primary advantage online courses have over face-to-face classes is the convenience factor. This is tied to the ability for students to attend a course on a more flexible basis around their own schedule and from almost any location.”
Online education can also offer a financial advantage in comparison to traditional learning. When students take classes on campus at a college or university, they incur an entirely different set of costs than online students. Students in traditional learning programs need to factor in how they will get to class every day. If they are commuters, they will need to consider parking, tolls and fuel costs or public transportation if they do not have a car. To take classes far from home, students need to live on campus or near their classes, which can significantly drive up living expenses or debt taken on from room and board fees.
The financial considerations in a traditional learning setting can discourage prospective students from continuing their education. Fortunately, students looking to balance their budget can take their classes from home via the cost-effective modeling of online education programs. The biggest factor is whether they have access to a strong internet connection and a reliable computer.This can drive down the start-up costs of an online education compared to traditional learning programs.
What can you expect from online coursework?
Just because you are learning remotely does not mean you will be cut off from important resources. You can typically expect access to an extensive library of digital resources and perhaps even a centralized network where you can access learning modules, assignments, exams and grades. For example, Booker explains how at University of Phoenix, “Students have access to the University’s Learning Management System (LMS) [which] allows students and faculty to share messages on that platform either privately or publicly. They may also access course materials and share learning experiences.”
If you do not already have a webcam, an online education will likely require you to purchase one. For example, University of Phoenix’s LMS includes a tool where both students and faculty can have video conference conversations about classwork and course selections. Booker suggests that video conferencing helps fill the interaction gap between the remote nature of online learning between students and instructors. He believes that “faculty and students need to coordinate timing for real-time interactions because of the asynchronous nature of classes, assignments and due dates.” Fortunately, both parties can schedule time with each other “with tools natively built into our learning platform” that give students the flexibility of online education and the hands-on nature of traditional learning.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is dedicated to breaking down the barriers to achieving a college degree. The University fulfills its mission through a robust online learning program, which offers over 100 paths that prepare students for over 300 professional occupations. Because the University does not abide by a semester, trimester, or quarter schedule, prospective students can begin their programs at any point in their year. Follow University of Phoenix’ social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook to stay updated.