Online education is a great opportunity that the modern educational system offers, because it provides a high level of flexibility while maintaining the high quality of the educational process.
Although online degree programs offer many benefits, there are a lot of factors that you need to consider before you make a choice – instructor’s qualifications, cost, tech support, a residency requirement and a class size are some of them. Let’s take a look at the most important things that you need to consider before choosing an online degree program.
Traditional vs. Online
Whether we like it or not, the degrees that we get from traditional universities still carry more weight than the ones that are handed to us by the online universities. Fortunately, traditional universities have been offering more and more online degree programs. So, if you decide to pursue an online degree from the prestige university, it will still look solid and convincing in the eyes of your potential employer.
Qualifications of the Instructor
A very important thing when choosing an online degree program is to check the qualifications of the instructor. While the Master’s degree lets you know that the person is educated to teach the theory, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she has practical experience. Instructors who have rich personal experience can provide you with much deeper learning experience than those who only know the theory.
As it’s an online program, it is quite possible that you can face some technical problems and you don’t want them to stand on the way of your education. For this reason, it is very important to make sure that the online degree program that you’re applying for have a strong IT infrastructure, can handle all possible technical problems efficiently, and finally, have good technical support. In case you see that the university only offers technical support during the standard business hours, you’d better search for something else, because students often need support outside of usual business hours.
All programs offer both standard and advanced courses, but more importantly which skills and specialties are these programs centered on? For instance, if we talk about philosophy, there are departments that lean toward the analytic philosophy, which concentrates on language analysis and logic, while other departments focus more on continental philosophy, which gives more emphasis on existential questions and human experience. See? It’s all philosophy, but angles are completely different. It means that you should choose programs that correspond with your interests.
Size of the Class
The size of the class influences how often you can expect to have a direct interaction with the class instructor. If the class is about 20 students, then the level of interaction with each student will be rather high, but if the class is about 75 students, the interaction will be very limited. You should think how important it is for you to have the opportunity to interact with the instructor and make you decision basing on that.
After having considered all these factors, you will be able to choose the most appropriate online degree program for you.