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Are Online Colleges and Degrees Real?

Are Online Colleges and Degrees Real?

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Modern day technology has made online education flexible and accessible. Twenty years ago it may not have been very likely that someone such as working professionals, stay at home parents and recently graduating High School students would all be getting the same education from the same college. However, in our current day, online education is widely accepted as being just as valuable as the face to face physical classroom experience.

Universities and colleges are combining multiple aspects of online websites such as web interactivity with with a more active mode of learning that requires students to continue to develop or sharpen their computing skills and take more responsibility for their own education. Furthermore, most colleges, universities and organizations worldwide, now offer their students fully accredited online degrees and continuing education programs.

Online enrollment has grown an astounding 33% over the past several years. There are approximately more than 3 million students currently involved in distance or online learning. Nearly 65% of higher education institutions report that they are using their core faculty members and professors to teach online college courses compared to 62% that are teaching face-to-face. Further, in 2005 online education grew from 49% in 2003 to 56% in 2005 as a critical long term strategy for career educational learning.

Degrees obtained through online college courses can be just as valuable as degrees from more conventional colleges, but as always, it is the college student that will determine the value of the education they are receiving. In addition, it is helpful to choose an educational establishment that is respected and accredited. This is because much like choosing traditional colleges or universities, some online programs offer a better education and uphold a better reputation than others. However, with the competition for students, even lesser known online colleges or online colleges that are not accredited often times excel in their curriculum so they can gain an advantage over the competing schools. There are important questions you will need to consider when pursuing an online college education just as you would a face to face physical establishment.

Question Number 1 - Determine whether online education is a good fit for your own personal needs and learning style. If you do not have good reading comprehension skills or you are a person who is not self motivated or self disciplined then it is doubtful that you will be successful in attending an online college. Additionally, online classes are usually not a good fit for those who will miss the social aspect of traditional college.

Question Number 2 - Will you be able to dedicate 2 to 4 hours without constant distractions? Is there a room in your home that you can shut the door and just steady and learn? Is there an area where you can be left alone and if you are not living by yourself are they willing to let you be by yourself for 2 to 4 hours a night or day? Often times lifestyle your lifestyle will determine if you are able to keep up with the pace of an online education.

If your answers were all geared towards an online learning education, then it is important to note some common misconceptions about online college courses as you choose your education.

Online Education Falsehood Number 1: Online colleges are not as good as physical college location courses.

Online universities and colleges offer just as good of an education as any traditional college. It is important to do your research and choose the right program for you. Online learning will help students develop their skills, build a portfolio, advance in their careers or even begin a whole new one.

Online Education Falsehood Number 2: Companies do not accept degrees earned online.

Employers nearly always choose the experienced person over the merely educated one. The reason is that the experienced person will not make the beginner mistakes that unexperienced applicants do. Therefore if you can complete your online education while gaining experience in a field similar to your career path, it will add volumes to how a potential employeer sees you. Further, online degrees from accredited colleges are accepted by companies in the exact same way that traditional degrees are accepted. There is frequently nothing on a diploma to indicate that courses were taken online.

Online Education Falsehood Number 3: Online college credits do not transfer to other colleges.

All credits from any properly accredited college or university (there are six accredited agencies) will be accepted by other colleges or universities. In order for your education to be accepted, your degree needs to come from a college approved by one of the six nationally recognized regional accrediting agencies. If this is important, it would be helpful when doing your research to find the online schools that are properly accredited.

Online Education Falsehood Number 4: Online colleges and universities are faster and easier than traditional colleges.

Just like any physical college or university, some online institutions are easier and others are harder. Some online college students choose accelerated programs and others select online colleges that let them do the work slowly, over a longer period of time. The choice must be determined by the college student based on their individual needs and learning style. Flexibility and accessibility is key to the city in the sphere of online college learning and the majority of college online programs adapt their program of study to fit the needs of individual college student.

Online Education Falsehood Number 5: Online programs are too expensive.

It all depends on the college. Many online colleges offer the same financial arrangements such as grants, federal loans, and college based financial payment plans as any other physical college and university. Further, taking online programs, as opposed to campus based college programs, saves from extra expenses and allows you to work regular hours while taking the online classes. This flexability lets you pay as you go, so in the end, you will not have as much college debt when attending an online school. This should be one of the questions that you ask when considering which online college course you will be attending.

Online Education Falsehood Number 6: I have to be really computer knowledgeable to take an online college course.

If you are reading this than you already know enough to be able to attend an online college course. Everything is done online, so you need to have access to the internet and you need to feel comfortable spending time at a computer. What you do not need to know is everything there is to know about using computer or the internet. You just have to be ready to follow instructions.

Online Education Falsehood Number 7: Online learning is limited and there is very little college student and teacher communication.

According to one online faculty teacher, the majority of her time is spent posting short answers to discussion questions in the online college Course Room Forum and sending course related paperwork through email. She has more interaction with her students and other instructors online than she ever did in a physical college class room. Rather than being one of the crowd, online courses allow you to email the professor directly rather than being timid in class and not getting your question answered.

Online Education Falsehood Number 8: Online learning colleges have lower success rates than a physical college class.

Who teaches the courses and how they are taught matters more than if courses are taught online or in a physical college classroom. This is why it is important to do the research on your interested choices of colleges. Online college students have been know to have better grades than those who have attended a physical face to face college. The theory behind this is because most distance learning college students are adults with day jobs, family responsibilities or simple because they take their education very seriously they are more focused and determined to get all that they can from their online college courses.

Online Learning not only keeps up with the times but it is certainly the wave of the future. Its phenomenal growth over the years is giving it a market share with even the most prestigious universities. The reason for this is because many of the younger students these days have grown up online. From online blogs to myspace and itunes, the college freshmen of this generation are more tech savvy than any previous generation.

What are colleges doing to cope? It has been reported that some colleges such as York University will now be able to view their lectures by means of their IPod. The new technology has opponents wondering if this will diminish the quality of their university knowledge. College students can now register for a trial course that delivers its lectures exclusively by the use of Apple's IPod, or any other MP3 device. Diane Zorn, a lecturer in the School of Arts & Letters in York Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies says that they are offering their college students the ability to customize their learning environment to fit their own personal lifestyle and learning approach. In addition Diane Zorn says that that professors who are against the new technology need to take the time to open their minds to a new way of teaching or coaching as Diane Zorn calls it.

Online learning is the wave of the future and should be seriously considered. If you want a college education you need to find a way around the any negative boulders that stand in your way, an online college education offers just that.

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