If you are preparing to earn your degree through an accredited online college or university, you may have a million questions about what to expect. If you have never taken an online class, the idea of earning your entire degree through online education can seem a bit terrifying. Rest assured, however, that you will get the same education you would receive in a traditional classroom setting, albeit in a much different format. There are a variety of different types of online degree programs, running the range from those with a strict schedule to those that are entirely self-paced. Here is a general idea of what you can expect from your online degree program:
Pacing and Format
Many traditional colleges and universities offer online degree programs that can be either fully online or a hybrid of online and on campus classes. In addition, there are many online colleges and universities that offer solely online degree programs with no option to attend a physical campus.
The formats for online degree programs may vary as well, so it is important for students to enroll in a program that will best fit their schedule and personal needs. Online degrees that follow a traditional schedule format make assignments and require students to complete assignments, take tests, and participate in discussions online at certain dates and/or times. Alternatively, self-paced programs allow students to complete assignments and exams at any pace that fits their needs as long as all requirements are met eventually. The majority of online degree programs fit neither extreme and, instead, offer a great deal of flexibility while still having an end-of-semester deadline.
Requirements and Specifics
In hybrid programs, many instructors consider the on-campus appearance of students as an acceptable level of interaction. For degree programs that are wholly online, however, many instructors require students to log in periodically to participate in chats and message board activities. Many continuing education programs are more relaxed about this requirement, however, because they are aware that working adults have limited available time for such activities.
The majority of online degree programs are composed of classes that are made up of online forums, e-mail, web-based documents, streaming audio and video, and real-time technology. In these courses, exams are taken online and typically have a time limit for completion. As such, it is important to have a computer system that meets the school’s recommended requirements and to have at least a basic working knowledge of the Internet and web-based media and technology.
There is no doubt that completing a degree program online is a totally different experience than that of a traditional college campus. While this difference may seem overwhelming to the new online student, it is easy to become accustomed to studying in a virtual classroom. In fact, once you realize how much more flexibility and freedom is available through studying online, you will surely be a fan of this great new way of earning a degree.