Online education is no longer just an option for many students, it has become the norm. Virtual learning has inevitably grown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While institutions plan to resume on-campus classes, experts say universities are poised to offer more online degrees and develop new programmes to boost enrollment. Advances in technology, course design, availability of high-speed internet, etc., are quite clearly driving online learning.
From the perspective of the student, one of the reasons to enrol in an online degree programme is the flexibility to study from anywhere. Students with family commitments or full-time jobs can also work around their schedules. Students with good time management skills are able to navigate distractions in their environment and effectively complete these courses.
While the online format still presents its own challenges for students, accredited institutions typically provide students with customised support to help them adapt to online courses and plan their future studies as they progress further.
Pros and cons of online degrees
An online certificate course is suitable for students who want to continue their education but have no secondary education.
With a variety of online undergraduate programmes, students looking forward should consider all options before enrolling. Broadly speaking, the pros and cons of online degree could be summarised as:
- Students can join classes virtually so they can learn anywhere
- Students can follow the best programme for their chosen subject even if the college is far from home
- Students can plan their coursework within their busy schedules
- Students need more initiative, time management skills, and punctuality to complete coursework
- There is limited to no personal interaction with the teacher
- Chances for interaction with classmates and peers can be difficult and is completely virtual
How to choose the best online college for yourself
STEP 1: Check for Accreditation
When choosing an online degree programme, students should make sure that the course provider is accredited. Accreditation is a process conducted by an external agency to ensure that a course or programme meets certain standards of quality and rigor. Accreditation is a mandatory process, and it has several benefits and essentially validates the programme to employers and other institutions.
Employers can verify that an applicant's degree is from an accredited programme, especially if the school name is familiar. If a student decides to transfer a programme, a transferable school is more likely to accept credit from an accredited institution. Ensure that the course providers are monitoring their programmes and renewing their accreditation every few years. Information about whether an online degree programme is accredited can often be found on the course provider’s website.
Online courses typically require students to stay online in a learning management system Source: Flickr
STEP 2: Consider your Subject Area
Selecting an undergraduate programme can seem daunting. The right course can prepare you for success in college and beyond, whereas the wrong course can set you back years in your career trajectory. As you explore your options, think about what subjects you find interesting and which are the courses that can prepare you for the career you wish to pursue. Understand how salaries vary by field over the course of your career. Take a decision after weighing all the information.
STEP 3: Check the course’s weekly time commitment
Online courses typically require students to stay online in a learning management system (LMS) on a regular basis. These are virtual portals that act as a classroom where students can access study material, track progress in the classroom, and interact with each other through a variety of channels including discussion forums, social media, video conferencing, phone calls, or even email. While you may not be physically attending a university, there is still a considerable time commitment involved - which varies from course to course. For this reason, you should research the programme thoroughly to ensure that it meets your academic needs while still fitting into your day to day schedule.
Some of the most popular online platforms for learning accessible in India are:
Online education offers students the opportunity to study from anywhere in the world, without there being a need for you to attend a college or institute physically. Cost is another important factor, because when relocating for studies, one needs to factor in living costs as well as higher fees that are normally charged to outstation or international students. For students with social anxiety or other reasons that may make it difficult for them to regularly attend physical classes, online courses offer an excellent solution to continue learning in spite of the roadblocks. And if you think that this is also the right opportunity for you - what are you waiting for - start your research into the best online course for you today!