What is an Online Degree?
Digital technology has taken higher education in a direction only imaginable decades ago. Lectures, homework, projects and tests traditionally part of on-campus college learning programs can now be completed virtually from home, the library, coffee shop or anywhere you can plug into the Internet. In fact, you can receive an online degree without ever stepping foot on a college or university campus.
POPULARITY OF ONLINE COLLEGE COURSES
More students are earning their college degrees online than five years ago, according to a study by re:fuel. Between 2008 and 2013, the number of students taking at least one online college course nearly doubled from 23 percent to 45 percent. There are many reasons why students are turning to online education:
- It’s convenient: No traffic or early morning classes; students can attend school in their pajamas if they want.
- Online schools are open 24/7: Students can access information any time of the day.
- Cost: Earning an online degree is cheaper than at a brick-and-mortar school.
- Content and lessons are readily available: Because everything is digital, there are a limitless number of resources for each student.
- Easier to balance work and home life: Students can take classes when they are not working or with their families.
- Technological edge over some traditional schools: Online learning students are exposed to cutting edge technology and programs and the skills to use them.
- Accepted by employers: More companies have accepted that online college degrees are just as legitimate as traditional diplomas.
WHERE TO EARN A DEGREE ONLINE
Online degrees are a great way to increase your job and skill potential as well as meet career goals. Accredited college degrees can help you find the job of your dreams and invest in your future.
Check with your local college or university to determine if it offers an online program that fits your needs. There are several reputable online schools that offer comprehensive and diverse online degree programs:
- Westwood College offers online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, design and more.
- Capella University has masters and doctorate degree programs in psychology and human services available.
- Kaplan University has various online college degrees available in just about every subject you can think of.
EARN AN ONLINE DEGREE FOR LITTLE OR NO MONEY
While it pays to get a college degree nowadays, there are different types of programs available that require little or no tuition costs. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are a relatively new phenomenon offered by some of the most elite U.S. colleges and universities. They originally began as non-credit courses a few years ago, but in a growing number of cases, students are earning certificates of completion and college degrees.
After MOOCs were introduced, some colleges and universities started offering competency-based learning programs. These are similar to online college degrees, but instead of earning credits toward a diploma, students are awarded degrees based on how competent they are on a certain subject matter. Both types of online learning programs are growing in popularity because besides being as convenient as other online degree programs, these also have little or no costs associated with them.
IMPACT ON THE FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Incorporating online degree programs into public and private colleges and universities will affect their enrollment numbers in years to come. Because more individuals are working non-traditional hours, students need flexibility to fit classes into their schedules. Online colleges can help with that.
Why Should I Get an Online Degree?
A post-secondary education is of the utmost importance for many people. From securing a successful career change to gaining that much-needed promotion, going to college can be the difference between career happiness and job failure.
For those of you who are interested in taking their career to the next level, earning a degree should be a top priority. Fortunately, there are many ways to go about gaining a post-secondary education. One such way includes taking online courses. Whether you be a stay-at-home mom, working professional or traditional student straight out of high school, earning an online degree has a variety of benefits.
Benefit 1) Lower Costs
Many online degrees can be earned at a much lower expense than earning the same kind at a traditional college campus. Not only is money saved in tuition and textbook costs, but also because money doesn’t have to be spent on childcare, gas and room and board.
Benefit 2) Balancing Life
Another great benefit associated with online colleges is that they enhance your ability to balance your school-work-personal life. Think about it. If you go to a traditional brick-and-mortar college, you will be required to attend classes at certain times of the day or night. Doing this will put restrictions on the time that you can devote to your work and personal life. When going to an online college, however, you are not restricted. You can complete your classes in your free time. This means you can take a vacation whenever you want, adhere to any type of work schedule, and tend to your personal duties whenever they call upon you.
Benefit 3) Abundance of Degree Choices
There are more online colleges than you think. And due to this, there are more degree choices than you probably initially think. In fact, almost all degree programs can be completed online. From nursing to computer programming to communications, any degree of your liking can most likely be earned online.
Benefit 4) Easy to Transfer Credits
Are you looking to take classes during the summer but don’t want to give up going home to visit your family? If so, take comfort in knowing you can attend an online college while on summer vacation. Best of all, these credits will easily transfer back to your primary college.
Benefit 5) Enhanced Job Skills
No matter the job that you are looking to enter into, you will learn a wide variety of core job skills when completing courses via the Internet. For example, you must know how to effectively get along with and communicate with co-workers; this is necessary no matter the industry you work in. Online degree programs promote effective communication techniques because you are required to communicate with peer students and professors on a regular basis. Ultimately, students that complete some or all of their courses online are able to hone many of the essential skills that it takes to succeed in today’s job market.
Benefit 6) Degree Credibility
Many degrees that can be earned online are highly favored by employers. When it comes to making sure that you earn such a degree, the number one thing to look for is accreditation. Also, always make sure you check out the credibility of the online colleges you choose to enroll in.
Benefit 7) Proof of Self-Discipline
Earning a degree at home takes much self discipline. By earning this type of degree, employers will look favorably upon the fact that you disciplined yourself enough to earn a degree from the comfort of your home. From completing discussion board posts to peer-related group projects, there is much involved in earning a degree through online colleges. All of this will be highly looked upon by employers.
Benefit 8) Program Effectiveness
According to a study that was conducted in 2009, online learning is concluded to be far more effective than traditional face-to-face learning. Those who took their courses via the Internet tended to perform better than students who completed their studies at a brick-and-mortar college. Because of this, it has been concluded that online learning’s effectiveness is greatly contributed to its greater level of engagement that it provides.