Distance Learning Considerations
Once you’ve identified several viable online degree programs offered by one or more institutions, there are some questions you should research for each:
- When was the online learning program established?
- How long has the institution offered online study?
- Is the institution accredited?
- What are the institution’s ethical standards?
- What is the school’s financial history/current position?
- Does the online distance learning coursework meet your educational needs/career goals?
- How current is the online course material?
- What percentage of students earn their degrees from the institution?
- How many are working professionally in their field of study?
- How much experience does the faculty have with online instruction?
- What are the technology requirements? Does the school provide any technical support to students earning their college degrees online?
- Does the tuition differ for a distance learning degree and a classroom degree?
By answering these questions, you should be able to narrow down your list to a handful of choices. The next step is to visit your schools’ websites and try to get a “feel” for the type of education they’ll provide. Will it be more formal or casual? Will every aspect of the course be online, or do they utilize teleconferencing and/or snail mail? What are their tuition rates vs. the other schools you’ve researched?
Finally, you’re ready to register. Depending upon the institution, you’ll either be able to enroll online or through a brief visit to the school. For online application, you’ll need to declare your intended course of study (which can always be changed later), standard information about yourself (name, address, etc.), your latest transcripts (either from high school or a different university), and most of all, the reasons for why you wish to pursue your degree online.
You will be asked to provide this information either via the online enrollment form or to the recruiter who will call you to discuss your educational needs and plans.