6 Factors to Consider When Choosing E-Learning Opportunities

September 14, 2020

You must be prepared to accept some form of online training when you prepare for the next semester. Whether you want to continue with the program you are already enrolled in or move to an established online program that may already be in place at your school; you should do a little research to make an informed decision.

Here are some key factors to consider when comparing online learning opportunities.

In recent times, it may be surprising that “good” courses can be offered in-person or online. However, online courses come with additional strategic considerations, as they require reliable tools and technology to enable students to interact with their peers, teachers, and course materials.

1. Accreditation

The accreditation process is essentially the same for both online and on-campus facilities. But why is accreditation important?

In academics, accreditation is relevant because it affects a school’s ability to receive financial support and how academic credits can be transferred from one school to another. For mainstream institutions that also offer online courses and programs, distance learning is part of their accreditation body’s regular assessment.

The US Department of Education’s exemptions from the distance learning review and approval process has been extended until the end of 2020 to allow institutions to scale quickly and offer distance education at the start of the year.

2. Graduation and Retention Rate

An important factor in any college decision is the number of students who successfully enrolled and advanced their programs towards graduation. These numbers are well documented for traditional schools but are not easily found for online institutions.

Always check college websites for details on the latest retention and graduation rates. Some schools may also provide this information for specific academic programs.

3. Faculty Experience and Qualifications

One of the most important relationships you will build in college is with your teachers. These professionals can become valuable mentors as you move through school and transition into a career. Talented instructors also enhance your learning experience.

You can review faculty biographies on school and program websites to learn more about the faculty’s teaching experience online and on-campus including their interests, research, and other related activities to the subject they teach. If you are already working with a teacher you admire, contact them for information on their fall classes.

4.  Support Services

Colleges and universities across the country strive to offer online university courses in addition to all the support services that promote students’ success. Therefore, look for virtual options for directions, academic advice, and career counseling services.

Other useful online services include writing and math centers, tutoring, disability services, research libraries and librarians, and physical and mental health services.

5.  Social Activities

The typical college experience is more than just a classroom. If you’re concerned about the impact of campus experience changes due to COVID-19, look at how your school and any other schools you are considering are preparing to connect you with other students outside of the classroom.

Online student clubs and organizations have become increasingly popular in recent years. The University of Southern New Hampshire and Ashford University provides some examples of the types of online groups you can find at your schools, such as honorary societies, professional associations, book clubs, fitness, and reading groups. 

 6. Advice and Technical Assistance

The tools and systems used by schools can change, update, and cause problems from time to time. Find out where to get help, for example, online tutorials or 24-hour help desk. Knowing that there are resources to help with the technical aspect of online learning is essential for students new to online education and even experienced students.