Your Most Googled Online Education Questions Answered

Google has truly become every researcher’s best friend over the years. No matter what you’re looking for online, more often than not, you will be ‘Googling’ to find the answers. Same is the case for students who want to go for online education. With this new mode of education making its way into mainstream education, prospective students are bound to have hundreds of questions in their minds. To help you out, here is a list of your most Googled online education questions answered:

Is online education effective?

Online education is as effective as you want to make it. All the tools and study materials are provided to you via university websites or online portals. Teachers and their assistants are available, lectures are also available and so are study guides. It is up to the students to put in the right amount of commitment and effort to make the entire system work for them. Online programs give students a lot of flexibility and choice. If you make positive usage of these facilities, you will find it to be a highly effective way of education.

Is online education as good as classroom learning?

Even though there is a continuous argument on this question and both sides seem to have valid points, research conducted by David Pritchard, MIT’s Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics (published in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning) suggests that online education is as good as, and in some cases, even better than the traditional modes of instruction. The research states that if teachers want to improve the learning outcomes either way, they need to work on the approach they adopt. An “interactive engagement pedagogy” approach where students are made to interact with each other in small groups regularly is what contributes most to the overall learning.

Are online classes cheaper?

The first thing you need to understand here is the difference between taking an online class offered by an otherwise traditional school and enrolling in a 100% online degree. Students who take online classes with the college they otherwise attend (extra classes or covering up courses not passed previously) usually pay just as much as they would for traditional in-person learning. On the other hand, students enrolled in a 100% online program may find their cost lower than a traditional student’s education cost. 100% online colleges and universities may not have a physical campus and the cost they save on running such infrastructure may be passed on to the students. In addition to that, when calculating costs, keep in mind the opportunity cost factors. For instance, if you take a class online, you might be able to continue with your job and make money at the same time.  Transportation cost and other college related expenses should also be considered in this regard. However, the fee structures and policies vary from college to college. Some online colleges are actually more expensive than traditional colleges. So do a thorough research before applying.

Who should go for online education?

Online education can be pursued by anyone and for any reason. While many people associate it with a form of education suited only for working individuals or people who have other commitments, online education is actually good for anyone. If you have limited time due to family or work, then you should definitely start looking for online programs. On the other hand, if you are graduating from high school and do not want to move far away from home for your college degree, looking for online alternatives might do you some good. Similarly, if you want a particular major that is not offered in a college close to where you want to live, you might want to consider looking for online options. There could be a countless number of reasons for you to choose online education for its flexibility and time management.

How do I know if an online college is accredited or not?

For those students who are genuinely interested in going for online education, the matter of accreditation would perhaps be the most important one. You don’t want to end up getting a college degree from an institution that turns out to be a fake or has a bad reputation in terms of quality of education. While accreditation does not mean that the quality of education and instruction at the institution will be top-notch, it does ensure a minimum level of education quality. The accreditation process involves a non-governmental body conducting reviews and site visits to assess the faculty, finances, curriculum and other facilities provided by the college. If the college meets a certain criteria, they would be passed by the accreditation agency. Even though this seems like a simple process, you have to be very careful about the accrediting organizations’ credentials as well. There are a lot of so-called “accreditation mills” out there which are groups that accredit schools using lower than average standards of education. They have misleading names that make them sound like wonderful organizations doing honest work. To check for the legitimacy of an accreditation agency, make sure it is approved by the US Department of Education.

What do employers say about online education?

For students who are seriously considering going for online education, one of the biggest concerns is the future employability of their degree. While traditional colleges have been around for ages, and have the trust and approval of employers, online colleges do not (yet) enjoy the same importance. There is an issue of lack of trust, reputation and familiarity. But nevertheless, online programs are on an upward trajectory. And employers are fast beginning to understand that. In a survey done by the Excelsior College and Zogby International, 61 percent of CEOs and small business owners were familiar with the concept of online education and 83 percent of them believed that online education is as credible as traditional modes of instruction. These employers placed greater focus on issues such as accreditation of the college, the quality of graduates from the college and the repute of the institution.

For people getting involved with this mode of instruction for the first time, there are certainly going to be lots of questions. Make sure you spend a sufficient amount of time in getting the answers to your queries before enrolling in any program.


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