As competition for employment grows, more and more men and women are looking to boost their résumé and improve their employment skills. One of the best ways to get a step ahead the rest of the group is by earning a university degree. A university degree acts as a signal to employers that you have the organizational and educational skills to excel in any job. But heading back to university to continue your education can mean a lot of changes, and you may not have the time or ability to trek to campus everyday. Instead, you may want to explore the world of online universities, and the many benefits that an online degree can provide.
What is an Online University?
An online university is a university that allows students to complete coursework and degrees over the world wide web. Often known as cyber or virtual universities, online universities are becoming more and more popular with students, and now comprise a large percentage of all post-secondary educational institutes. A type of distance learning, online universities allow students to communicate with professors and other classmates using email, chat rooms, and other internet applications.
What Happens at an Online University?
Online universities are different from regular, brick and mortar universities. Online universities do not have a physical campus where you can go to attend classes. In its place, the university uses computer networks to allow students and teachers to communicate with one another. If you decide to attend an online university, you likely won’t have an actual classroom space to visit for lectures. Instead, you will access an internet website where you will find all of the information and assignments you will need to complete your degree.
At an online university, all aspects of your schooling will be performed using your computer and an internet connection, including:
- tests and exams
Benefits of an Online University
There are many benefits to be had if you choose to attend an online university:
- Flexibility: By attending an online university, you can have much more flexibility in your schedule. You don’t have to worry about long commutes to school and you don’t have to relocate. Instead, you can attend class in the comfort of you own home.
- Anonymity: Many returning students are worried about how they will fit into a university setting. By attending an online university, you don’t need to worry about how you will fit in, whatever your age, sex, race, or cultural beliefs.
- Technology: Attending an online university offers students the chance to master new technologies and interact with others using those technologies.
- Quality: As more and more online universities begin to pop up, more schools are focusing on offering quality programs and degrees to students.
What Degrees Can You Earn at an Online University?
Online universities offer a range of programs and degrees that will suit any student. Whether you are interested in entering a business program or an agricultural program, there are hundreds of different programs to choose from. You can also choose to enroll in one of a number of online degrees, including:
- Bachelors degrees
- Masters degrees
- Doctorate degrees
Are Online Universities Well Respected?
There is ongoing debate over whether or not a degree earned from an online university is comparable to one earned through a traditional university. Most online universities are reputable and offer superior education and service to students. If you earn a degree through one of these reputable online institutions, your employer should recognize the degree and treat it as any other. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that there are some less-than-stellar online schools out there. In order to make sure that the university you are interested in is reputable, be sure to ask about accreditation.
Accreditation is awarded to online universities that have met rigorous academic standards. Accreditation ensures that your online university will provide you with a good education, excellent teachers, and appropriate academic resources. In order to secure accreditation, online universities must go through a series of strict appraisals and evaluations by a body licensed to perform such accreditations. Always ask for evidence of accreditation before signing up for any online course or program.
Choosing an Online University
Choosing an online university can be very difficult, particularly when there are so many different ones to choose from. Here are some things to look for in a good online university:
- Usability: Because you are going to be doing almost everything online, it is important to ask about the systems and software that the school uses. Is there someone available to help you should something go wrong? Does the school experience a lot of technical problems?
- Choice: A good online university should offer a range of programs and courses.
- Reputation: Though reputation isn’t everything, it is a good place to start. Look for a school that has made a name for itself when it comes to providing quality education.