Online Degrees

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Are Online Degree Programs Really More Convenient?

With the introduction of online degree and certification programs, the industry of adult education has changed dramatically over the past few years. Utilizing the power of the internet, students can now finish degrees and take needed courses for career advancement from anywhere in the world.

But with the rising popularity of online programs, two questions remain:

  • Are there programs that require you to be there in person?
Yes, some online degree programs do require you to be there in person. These are usually referred to as low residency programs. While the majority of your work will be done online, you will have to meet with professors and students once or twice a year or at the end of your program to participate in seminars, workshops, and other events. Online programs do this for several reasons.

The first reason is to touch base with students so that they do not feel like strangers in the program or 'just a number'. The seminars and workshops are a way to engage the student, help them learn more about their chosen field, teach them techniques and information that cannot be taught online, and to introduce them to other students in the program.

The second reason some colleges require you to be there in person is so that the program feels legitimate to the students. Unfortunately, there are many programs online that offer degrees to students that are fraudulent or not accredited. This is why online degree programs have received mixed reviews from employers and other colleges in the past. By having students attend seminars every few months, the program feels more like a traditional degree program with the added convenience of being able to complete coursework at home instead of attending classes every other day.

If you cannot attend these residencies, you should look for a program that does not use residencies. There are plenty of legitimate colleges that offer online programs that do not require students to attend seminars or workshops in person. But if you want to try one of these programs, they can be very rewarding and fun. Working in a classroom environment for even a short period of time can help some students grasp concepts and learn the information faster and easier than taking all of their classes online.

  • Can you get your online degree in an accelerated fashion?

This will depend on which online college you enroll in and what their policies are concerning an accelerated degree. The good news is that many colleges now recognize that those who enroll in an online degree program are looking to enhance their existing career or start a new one. This means that they want to finish their schooling as soon as possible so that they go for a promotion or find a new job. Over the past few years, online colleges have modified their classes so that they are shorter than traditional classes. While the content learned has not changed, the time in which is it learned is shorter.

Depending on your degree program, you may be able to enroll in an accelerated degree program from the beginning. Classes are typically two or three weeks shorter with fewer breaks in between. You will have to keep up with the pace and turn in assignments and tests by a certain time instead of working at your own pace. This can be difficult for those who work and are raising a family, but many people want to earn their degree, so they will push themselves to make these deadlines.

The most typical accelerated online degree program out there is the business degree program. This is because there are so many students who want to earn a business degree or an MBA, but don't want to spend a few years in school. Usually, students can complete their degree in a year. This will allow them to find new jobs or advance in their current one.

Ask about accelerated degree programs when speaking with the admissions department. You may be able to take more classes at one time or you may be able to join an accelerated degree program depending on your intended course of study.

Are you looking to change careers or advance in a present one? Discover information on new, hot careers in which online degree completion programs are available at

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