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ONLINE EDUCATION: EDUCATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY

With the age of internet and the World Wide Web, you and I are surrounded by an ocean of information that is available to us at the convenience of a click. According to statistics, Americans spend 444 minutes everyday, gawking at their screens- those are 7.4 hours a day! Just looking at your TV, smart phone, tablet or laptop screen.  And let’s face it; we are not 100% productive in the 7.4 hours of tech gluttony that we experience. Who are we kidding? Even as you read this, you probably have your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account active on another tab or on your phone. That’s okay, that’s normal and I am also guilty of the same.

However, we all know that the internet has better things to offer. It opens up the whole world to us. So why do we still keep ourselves limited to a few social networking websites and forget to explore more?

In the recent past, the trends in internet usage have evolved. People are not only using the internet to communicate with each other, but they are exploring many more productive avenues as well, such as business development, online businesses, transfer and storage of information, academic purposes etc. when I use the term “academic” in context of usage of the internet, I do not only mean academic research and transfer of information. I mean hard-core academics, like online degree programs.

Many of us might be unaware of the fact that online education is on the rise since the last two decades. Especially as we stepped into the 21st century, the trend of acquiring education online, at one’s own convenience, has become widespread and popular. In case some of you do not know what online education is, it is the delivery of high school, college or university courses, online. Also called e-learning, online education can be earned anywhere and at any time. How cool is that? Yes that means you can stay at home in your pyjamas and still score a 100% in your class participation grade. And guess what, this does not even count in the other significant benefits of online education that we will be discussing later.

best online degree programs
Best online degree programs

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER ONLINE EDUCATION:

The first thing to understand is that education has revolutionized so much that the use of internet has become common within and outside the classroom as well. From an online high school degree, online certificate programs to online graduate programs, you name the area and level of study and it will be offered on the World Wide Web. So why pursue online degree programs? There are several ways in which online education is important in improving the educational productivity. Some of these are as follows:

  1. Online learning gives access to different and unexplored educational resources and experiences
  2. Through online learning, students are able to engage in active learning with people from around the world and resources that are unique
  3. Makes better use of student and teacher time by automating or even skipping routine tasks such as taking the subway and going to a physical classroom
  4. One of the most important reasons is that online learning reduces cost and promotes efficiency by:
  5. Reducing the amount of physical space needed to build a classroom
  6. Reducing salaries by shifting classroom activities and instruction time to online lectures and podcasts
  7. Building motivation in the modern day students who thrive on the use of technology

Now that we have determined that online education is important and it does indeed have an upside, I’m sure most of you are wondering, what are the benefits you will get if you enrol in an online degree program or an online certificate program? Several of these benefits are mentioned below:

  1. Convenience and agility:
  2. Flexibility in the study schedule: Students who opt for online degree programs have the chance to study whenever and wherever they find the time. Some individuals are working professionals with added responsibilities like a job and family. For these people, an online degree program is ideal as they can choose their own study schedule.
  3. Easily accessible study material: All the material is available online and it can be downloaded and accessed quite easily by the student. The concept of community learning is encouraged as students can study online, share notes and lectures and help each other online.
  4. Variety of discipline options: There is a vast variety of study areas that are offered only in online educational programs and not regular study classroom.
  5. Student driven study time: Students who are pursuing online degree programs are able to learn at their own pace by downloading, pausing, rewinding, restarting or forwarding the lectures that they wish to study. Hence, the learning is in the student’s hand.
  1. Fortification of the student
  2. Increased and positive social interaction with peers: This is especially beneficial for the ones who are a little shy. Remember the extreme back and the extreme front benchers in your class? Some people are shy to speak out. However, in online learning, you do not have to face anyone, hence it is easier for you to interact and communicate with the teacher and other students.
  3. Increased communication with the instructors: With the 21st century into its bloom, even instructors are becoming more adept at using technology to communicate with their students. Hence, instead of submitting assignments and papers by hand, they can be submitted online via email or any other online group that they may be a part of.
online degree programs
Online degree programs
  1. Ample time to re-visit the lectures and understand the study material thoroughly: since the students have the provision of revisiting the course material, it is easy for them to view these recordings on the internet and perform the tasks given more effectively.
  2. Efficiency in cost
  3. Money saving: As mentioned before, you may be able to save money by not attending the physical classes. For example, an average university student may have to pay for transportation, food and snacks, stationery, clothing etc at the university, while in online degree programs, these things are not necessary.
  4. Reduction in cost of textbooks: Some online undergraduate and graduate programs may not require books or notebooks to take down whatever has been missed in the lectures. This is so because all the material is downloaded and available on the internet for free.

I’m sure by now you are convinced that online degree programs are actually not that bad or impractical. Online graduate programs, after all, are being offered by some of the best schools in the world such as Harvard University. The following is a list of some colleges and universities that offer popular and some of the best online degree programs:

  • Online Nursing Programs
  1. John Hopkins School of Nursing
  2. Duke University School of Nursing
  3. Kaplan University School of Nursing
  • Online MBA Programs
  1. INSEAD Business School
  2. Walden University
  3. Fort Hays State University Graduate School
  • Online Medical certificate and degree Programs:
  1. Creighton University
  2. Ultimate Medical Academy
  3. Penn Foster College
  • Online Engineering Programs
  1. Stanford University
  2. North Carolina State University
  3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Online Law Programs
  1. Concord Law School (Kaplan University)
  2. Seton Hall University School of Law
  3. Washington University in St. Louis
  • Online Education Programs
  1. University of Phoenix
  2. Liberty University Online
  3. Concordia University

WILL I GET A JOB AFTER MY ONLINE DEGREE

We all know that at the end of the day, it all boils down to the job that you land after you graduate. So the question that is most frequently asked by you is whether acquiring an online degree holds any worth in the vocational world.

When fresh graduates enter the job market, they are already overwhelmed and nervous about the myriad interviews and countless questions that they will have to answer about themselves. It is a race of proving the worth of your skills and knowledge that you have acquired in your time as a student. However, people who acquire degrees online face the same challenges as any other student with a traditional college or university degree. The truth of the matter is that yes, they do have to go an extra step to prove as to how they have the same or even superior skill set as any other traditional college/university student. There are several ways to do this. Some of these include the following:

  1. Being proud of your degree: As a student who has opted for an online degree, it is important that you focus on the positive work traits that you displayed, regardless of the fact that you manoeuvred your own study habits. These include your time management, self-driven and motivated spirit, online communication and partnership skills and your ability to learn and work independently.
  2. Be assertive: Do not hesitate to let your potential employer know that as a fact, the percentage of students enrolling in online degree programs has increased many folds during the past two decades. Moreover, a study by the U.S Department of Education has revealed that certain online collegiate studies have proven to be better than traditional graduate programs offered to students.
  3. Talk in the future: As a generation who has grown up with gadgets, even an amateur can guess that technology is here to stay. The future of education is online and on the World Wide Web, hence, the future of the vocational world is also rapidly moving towards the virtual world.

Related online degree programs and online nursing programs resources:

  • Why Online Learning is Important to Improve Education? at http://edtechreview.in/e-learning/331-online-learning-important-in-education
  • What Are the Potential Benefits of Online Learning? at http://www.worldwidelearn.com/education-articles/benefits-of-online-learning.htm
  • Online and Distance Learning, at http://nursing.duke.edu/academics/specialized-programs/online-and-distance-learning
  • Online Nursing Options, at http://nursing.jhu.edu/academics/programs/online/
  • Celebrating nursing student success, at http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/nursing.aspx
  • Are Online Degrees Respected? at http://www.geteducated.com/careers/318-should-i-tell-employers-i-earned-my-degree-online

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