Sunday, October 18, 2009

Virtual Learning in Reality

After I got my Associates Degree, I decided to finish my Bachelor’s Degree online. I had just gotten remarried and my life was a little more complicated than when I was single, working two jobs and going to school. No one cared if I didn’t cook, clean or even be home – except for me and I just told myself to get over it.

I don’t regret that decision at all. Applying my studies to my current job – learning in real life – was ten times better than working in textbooks and normally structured classrooms.

It fit me.

Reviewing schools and deciding which one to apply to was a little more difficult. Important things to take note if you are planning to finish your degree online:

Accreditation. Accreditation. Accreditation. It can’t be said enough. Be sure they are accredited. If they aren’t, you won’t be able to transfer those credits to another school if you decide to continue your education.

Prior life experience. Sometimes this can be applied towards classes and you are able to “test” out of a subject. I did three classes this way. Thirteen years of experience in a particular field was recognized doing being better than learning.

Costs. Be sure to research thoroughly. Some schools are actually non-profits and can cost less. An online university has less overhead than a brick and mortar school who is doing online education on the side.

Specialties. If you are a particular field, say healthcare. Check out schools that specialize in the medical field. An online nursing degree when you are already employed in a hospital setting makes sense.

A school such as Western Governors University offers accelerated programs. These are very useful as an adult student. Let’s face it, we all have a life and want to get back to it as soon as possible. But we don’t want to compromise our education in the process.

I am impressed that so many more schools are acknowledging social media using it to their advantage, as well as the student’s. Recently I read where this last fall may be the last where the majority of college students pack up their clothes and go off to school. The majority is shifting to online education because of the convenience, flexibility and I would imagine the cost.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll consider a graduate degree online in the future.

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