Online Degrees

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Opportunities And Challenges Of Online Degrees

By Jeff Slokum

Distance learning has created a whole new world of opportunities for students of all ages and incomes to finally obtain a college education and get an online degree. You have the opportunity to learn new skills and abilities, the opportunity to improve yourself and your earning power, and the opportunity to join that the elite rank of Americans who call themselves college graduates.

Along with the opportunities come a number of challenges and obstacles that you have to overcome. The first is isolation. Not surprisingly many online students experience varying degrees of isolation in getting their online degree. That is understandable. You learn and study alone without the human interaction of your teacher and fellow students. But there is no reason that you cannot develop relationships and even friendships with some of your online classmates and many people do just that. Remember that learning alone is not bad, it has been proven to work, but it is different and expect to have some difficulty adjusting to it.

Another part of online learning that people find difficult is that there is no direct communication; everything flows through your computer modem onto your computer screen. You may miss the chatter and personal communication with your classmates but that too is just part of the process and most people grow at least at ease with this aspect of online learning.

Some people also find it difficult to learn online because they miss the nonverbal communication that a teacher normally brings into the real classroom. Gestures and body movements don't convey the same messages online that they do in the classroom so it takes a little getting used to.

But the biggest challenge standing in the way of virtual learning success is finding the time and the energy to complete the study program that accompanies an online degree program. The reality is that distance learning requires as much time and energy as a real life university setting. You may not have to commute to school but five hours of offline study for every online hour of class is what you will probably have to put in to be successful and get your online degree.

If you can find ways to overcome these challenges then you will have a very successful and productive career as an online student. You will be on your way to achieving your dream of an online degree and before you know it you will be that person that you always wanted to be, a college graduate.

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