What Is Online Learning?

Everything you ever wanted to know about online learning. It’s an e-learning experience.

What Is Online Learning?

In today’s fast-paced, busy, impersonal world, it is impossible to invest time and energy in projects, projects, projects. Content is up all day long, quality, delivery, transparency, and keep these voices honest is rare. How do we succeed in any project? A group of people becoming a unit, creating things for each other. A partnership, making things together, building off each other’s strengths and requirements. Building something that works, which will create thousands of dollars of return on our investment.

Online Learning is a form of partnership. College students have the option to opt-in for extended online learning opportunities. During online education, an administrator approves any major courses you wish to enroll in; the courses are optional (I’m speaking like a genius here), and while multiple instructors are teaching in real time, each instructor is responsible for their role and can cut in and out of their lesson. You will have access to resources, forms, etc. but students rarely will see how much in real time is there for them.

Online learning is the nature of the students and the provider. Choosing an online education option provides the flexibility of study time and support but it doesn’t come with a guarantee. Knowing how to navigate the system to find out how much tuition you will actually have will be rewarding. I went to my first online college education orientation. I have to say I felt nervous and unsure, but one of the first things I was introduced to was “renting a teaching assistant”. I quickly realized that when someone asks, “Are you enrolled?” they are not referring to tuition. However, it’s also not a bad thing that someone is anticipating your enrollment and steps up to help you, no matter how much.

The concept of “renting a teaching assistant” allows students to make the most of the resources available to them. In the early program phases of online programs, administrators ask students to begin on-site visits with their prospective instructors. Students have to spend the night at the “school” and talk with instructors. This is usually a short introduction to the program and the resources available. The evening essentially serves as a “test-drive”. They can still opt-in to the online program should they want, but the on-site visit is a good foundation to build upon.

Doing a little research helps you ensure you are making the right choice. When choosing online, always choose the online option that is convenient to get on campus, can give you a flexible schedule, and allows for more working hours. If you can afford to attend a three to four year university, then it may be best to forgo online. If you are not the type to drop it right away, then this can be an option for you. Also, keep your credit score in mind. Online education looks more impressive than it really is in the early program phases.

Most likely you are working on a blend between a blended program and a brick and mortar school, so ask your counselor for additional information about on-site visits, brick and mortar campuses, and the various degrees available. It is a good idea to find a mentor on your major topic. You will have a lot of notes, research and questions that you want to ask your mentor in the online program. You’ll also want an option of sharing what you are learning with your peers.

The inspiration for this essay was an infographic created by the College Board. This is the first of many we are making on digital learning and accountability for colleges and universities in which you can see our follow-up posts about bringing digital learning to communities, families, and individuals. If you have tips or questions for us, drop us a line or a comment.

Disclaimer: Part of this blog is sponsored content and if you would like any details on that, you can contact Christine Hollen.

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