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Five Things Students Should Consider Before Studying Online

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The flexibility and convenience of online learning make it a favorable choice for many. However, it is depressing that over 90% of online students drop out of their courses. In fact, 52% of those who sign up for online courses do not even begin the classes. Are online students missing something? Here’s what students need to consider before choosing to study online.

Their Purpose for Taking the Online Class

Online learning is self-motivated, and success depends on the learner. Before a student decides to take an online course, they need to ascertain their motivation. Their motivation will keep them going every day to complete the course. Is it a job promotion? Career advancement for better job opportunities? Getting a job? What are the student’s goals?

Without a clear purpose, it is easy to get distracted by life events and lose motivation. The first step in online learning is defining the purpose of the course.

Their Budget

After clarifying the purpose, the student needs to find an online class that fits their budget. There are many affordable online courses, and new courses are rolled out daily.

What materials does a student need to study online?

The student should check that they have planned for the following in their budget.

  • Tuition fees.
  • Course materials.
  • Reliable internet connection.
  • Computer or laptop
  • Headphones or earphones.

Students can also apply for financial aid through scholarships, government loans, grants, or employer funding. American students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) form to receive financial aid.

The Student’s Preference

It is essential to look for a course that suits the student’s lifestyle. Online classes will have assignments, projects, and research, just like campus classes. The student will have to organize the course around their daily responsibilities, such that they won’t neglect either. These are some questions to ask when choosing an online education program.

  • What kind of class will blend with daily life and responsibilities?
  • What is the student’s best time to study?
  • How much time can they commit to the course?
  • Do they prefer real-time classes or self-paced classes?

The information will be useful as the student drafts a plan or schedule for the online course.

Course Quality

Content 

Before enrolling in a course, it is good to look at the course overview, topics covered, and expected outcomes. This will help the student determine if the course will achieve their goals.

Accreditation

An online degree from an unaccredited institution will not receive federal financial aid, and it is likely to be rejected by employers. More importantly, accredited institutions meet the quality standards set for education. To check accreditation, students need to consult the Department of Education website or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website.

Reviews and Testimonials

Reviews from other learners who have taken the course are best placed to determine the course’s quality. Students should not be quick to enroll in online programs offered by new institutions with no reputation. Online degree programs offered by reputable universities are the best.

Student Support Resources

The ideal online course provider will also provide support services for the students. A university offering an online degree program will provide student resources access similar to those that on-campus students get. The student might not be familiar with the eLearning technologies used on the platform. That is why technical support is also crucial.

  • Does the platform/institution offer academic services and resources to help students perform better?
  • Does the institution offer career services?
  • How about troubleshooting issues? Does the platform offer 24hr customer/student support?

 How to Do Well in Online Classes?

Online learning demands discipline and self-drive from the learner. Students need to treat their online courses with equal respect as they would treat their on-campus classes. Treating the course any lighter will grow negligence and eventual dismissal of the course. Online students also need to manage their time wisely and stay organized and focused on their goals. The internet is full of distractions, from social media to email, news, Netflix, etc. It is best to set aside time to ‘get distracted’ daily to avoid falling for such distractions when studying. Students should also engage with other learners to motivate and help each other. Most eLearning platforms provide collaboration tools where instructors and learners can interact among themselves.

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