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There's Something about an Online Education

Sep 24, 2006

Completing an Online degree program is a major challenge. I have a Master's in Laws myself that I earned from St Thomas University School of Law's LLM program in International Taxation. My wife earned her Master's in Education from University of Phoenix.

Below are some myths about online education and distance learning programs.

  1. Online programs are not easy. You work from home and do not get the benefits of sitting in a classroom and speaking or talking with Professors or classmates. This is counter balanced by your opportunity to post questions in discussion forums 24 hours a day, but its not the same. If you need physical interaction with people think about how this will impact you.
  2. Online eduation requires individual motivation in the extreme. You have to absolutely be self motivated, you will not get a bi-weekly reminder to get your work, research or projects completed by a physical person. You won't get it at all, if you do not turn your computer on during the week.
  3. Online programs can be done in my spare time. Online programs take many hours of study. Just because you can study in the middle of the night, doesn't mean that you can get the studying done in 40 minutes. Expect to spend multiple hours per day 5-6 days per week.

These are just the myths. I have some online education survival tips as well which I'll post separately, but let me offer my primary tip.

If you try an online program and its not working whether its the entire program or just a single class, get out of that class or program immediately.

Online programs move very quickly, and if you are lost on a Tuesday and do not get up to speed by the end of the week you may get so far behind that you won't be able to recover. Get things straight quickly.

Last hint of a tip, if an instructor or professor cannot provide a very solid syllabus at the beginning of a course, you should seriously consider dropping the course, unless grades are not important to you. Online programs require very organized teachers, if they do not have a syllabus that is tight, odds are they will jump all over and this will make it exceptionally difficult for you to keep up with the fits and starts and adjustments they make throughout the quarter or semester.

Finally, let me leave you with 10 'No sympathy' lines that a professor of any school might give to a student. These apply double almost to an online program where you are responsible for driving your own program.

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WooHoo ed by Unknown at 1:18 PM  

1 Gabbles(comments):

I agree that online learning isn't easy! It takes a lot of discipline and a lot of extra time, but I believe that it is totally worth it! I am taking my 3rd online class right now; I find that they really are beneficial to me because I can go at my own pace, and I don't have to do the work until day before it is due if I don't have time during the week. It is true, though, that if a student requires contact with classmates and the prof, they should not take online classes. Also, like you said, a lot of motivation is required. For some students who do not have any motivation, this might help them learn what it actually is, but others might flounder and end up hurting themselves in the long run. Overall I think online learning is a great option and I hope that more classes will be available through this method of class.

Elyse205 said...
4:27 PM  

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