Education Online: The Times They Are a Changin

The thing about life is that it doesn’t happen on a schedule. People get married young – they get married old, they start companies at 14 and get their educations later, they switch careers mid-stream – they change.And when life starts to change and you’re ready for the education to help you find that new direction, traditional bricks-and-mortar universities aren’t often flexible enough to allow you to get the degree you want on a schedule that makes sense for you.Enter the online degree program.I know – getting an education online was once viewed the same way as going to medical school in the Virgin Islands, but online education programs have come a long way since the Internet Revolution began.One of the reasons the view has changed is because of distance learning opportunities created by major universities and online degree programs developed by schools like ITT Tech. Once accredited colleges and universities developed online education programs that were well respected within the education community and throughout various industries, getting an education online became something we could all feel good about.

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Is an Online Education Right for You?An online education really isn’t for everyone. You have to be a disciplined self-starter with a reasonable amount of computer and Internet savvy. If you have those attributes and are ready to get the degree you want on your schedule, then an online degree program may be the answer you’ve been looking for. But before you sign up for classes there are a few things about yourself you should consider:o Can you set a schedule and keep it?o Are you a fairly well self-contained individual (in other words – can you get by without a lot of human interaction)?o Are you comfortable with technology?o Do you have access to the technology you need when you need it?If you can honestly answer yes to these questions, then getting your education online may be the perfect solution to reaching your educational goals.Choosing the Right Online Degree ProgramSimply because you’re receiving an online education, that doesn’t mean the decision you have to make about your degree program should be taken any less seriously. In fact, there are even some special considerations you should make when choosing your online degree program. Some of those include:o Is the school accredited? (When you receive your education online, this is of particular importance, as some employers will only accept degrees from accredited institutions and many online schools are not accredited.)o What technologies does the school use to implement its online education program?o Are the instructors experienced in the field? What is their experience planning and teaching online classes?

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o Do the instructors have ample “office hours” so you can contact them to ask questions about the material?o Are there virtual study groups, group discussion boards or the opportunity for online learners to meet in person if desired?o How are technical glitches handled?o Can you speak to previous online education students to learn more about the program?o Do you have to have a PC to attend classes online or is the material accessible to Apple users, as well?Once you’re comfortable with an online degree program, simply sign up for classes and make the effort. If, for some reason, you find that an online education isn’t everything you had hoped it would be, you can always transfer your credits to a traditional college or university and pick up where you left off – and still get the degree you want for the change you want to make.