4 Factors to Consider Before Taking Online Classes
You have toiled with the thought of going to school for months. After carefully evaluating your personal, professional, and financial responsibilities, you have decided that distance or online learning is the best option. Although this is a preferred option for many working adults, complere my webassign homework there are four factors you should consider prior to making this commitment.
1. Decide on Learning Platform
First, decide on the best learning platform. The most common reason that many consider distance and online learning is convenience. Due to technological innovations, learners are no longer limited to brick and mortar classrooms. These technologies give them unlimited access to their courses through computers, phones, and tablets. Yet, it is strongly recommended that prospective students decide on the most suitable learning platform that includes 3 major types: asynchronous, synchronous, and hybrid-often referred to as blended.
Asynchronous learning is online delivery that takes place at different times and different places. For example, learners are not required to meet at a designated time or place, yet they will have complete access to their classes through forums and discussion boards. They have the convenience of logging in the site anytime or anyplace without worrying about missing content and requirements. Notable universities such as the University of Phoenix use this form of delivery, as well as others.
In contrast, synchronous learning allows learners to participate at the same time but from different locations. Examples include live streaming videos and web conferencing. This is a preferred method for those who desire more physical interaction with the instructor.
Finally, learners may have the options to choose hybrid or blended courses. Learners can enjoy the best of both worlds. A certain percentage of the class may be spent online while the other half is spent in a traditional classroom. This platform tends to accommodate all major learning styles because visual learners are able to access the content through their computers, phones, or tablets. Auditory learners benefit from receiving a lecture from a live instructor, and tactile learners benefit through synthesis and application. Some online programs may offer this as an option, but it is very common among brick and mortar schools.
2. Level of Commitment
Second, your level of commitment is a factor that should be heavily considered. A common myth is that online classes are easy and require little to no effort. This cannot be further from the truth. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Distance learners can expect to commit an average of 20-35 hours per week on assignments, alone.
This does not include participation requirements. Although the convenience tends to overshadow the rigor, it is important to remember that more effort is required to succeed due to several reasons that include the absence of a physical instructor. Although several colleges and universities are doing a great job of offering support services to help distance learners become more acclimated. Generally, it is not mandated for students to take advantage of all service. Therefore, it leaves the responsibility of learning to the students.
3. Financial Aid
A third factor for consideration is financial aid. Although distance learning has some great perks, you will pay for this convenience and access. Financial aid packages for traditional and virtual colleges and universities are generally the same: Pell, scholarships, grants, and student loans. For some higher learning institutions, Pell, scholarships, and grants may cover the total cost of education. Because many of the virtual institutions are private, they tend to be more expensive-although some are making great strides to offer more attractive financial aid packages that include employee discounts and scholarships.