Frankly speaking, attending online schools is a bit risky when compared with traditional educational institutions. It is especially so in aspect of programs from online schools. The introduction on the website shows how soundly the programs are developed, how experienced the teaching faculty is and how rewarding the completion will be to students’ career or further education.
However, not all of the introduction or propaganda you see is true. Some may be far from the truth, but a few may be totally false. How to tell it is a good online program? As many of us may know, accreditation and school reputation are the two factors you can never miss when evaluating the quality of an online program. In most cases, an online program offered by an accredited online school is more trustable than one that is not accredited. And if an online school is highly spoken of or enjoys national acclamation, then the programs it offers can not be too disappointing.
Actually, you don’t have to always look at these aspects. You can tell if an online program is good or not just by focusing on the details. Details matter as they always do.
Yes, you can tell the quality of an online program from the Student Services. Courses and teaching force may be the backbone of an online school, but it is Student Services that shows the soundness of its organization. And the programs offered by a quality online school must live up to its wholesome Student Services. By going through the Student Services, you can get some information about the programs offered.
How? Well, we are living in the Information Technology age. Almost every educational institution has website where it posts related info. Pick out some of the online schools and start searching. Navigate to the Student Services/Support Services section and click. Or, type “student services” in the “search section”.
If the school website you are searching does not have such a section or a similar one, then trust me, you may not even need to bother to looking further. Move on to the next one on your list.
So, what to look on the Student Services section? Typically, this section includes supporting and instructing info like
This part explains how to log in and out and what the system requirements are. It’s about getting started.
Here, you can apply online for study at this university you are searching. After application, you can check and manage your account. You can also make changes to your programme.
- Course advice
Here you can find info about your programme requirements, course catalogue and class details.
- Technical support
Some online schools provide technical support to help students work better with their programs. Or, it serves to help student with online learning problems.
The Student Services at some schools may include Tuition & Financial Aids, and other schools may put it in a separate section. Just look around and you’ll find it.
Anyway, a good online school takes time to deliver excellent student services. You can always count on the programs offered by such a school.
Trust the power of word of mouth. This power is well known in marketing, but it works just well in evaluating online programs.
In the introduction of programs, many online schools include the testimonies from students who have learned these programs. These testimonies come from different students learning different programs. They may share info about the program structure, course development, learning tips and teaching faculty. But most importantly, they may tell how helpful the program is to their acceleration in both career and academy.
They may let you know if the degrees produced by the programs are accepted well. Have the knowledge and skills obtained proved useful later? Do they get promotion? Do they perform well in further study?
Go through the testimonies with these questions in mind.
One more trick is to look for reviews on the program you enroll. If you are suspicious of the testimonies put on the website of an online school, you may want to look for reviews. Testimonies on the website, as you can imagine, are those that are in favor of the school.
In comparison, reviews are less biased and more revealing. They tell about first-hand experiences. They can be very specific. And there may even be a forum for a certain program from a certain online school. You can browse the posts. If you want to ask questions, remember to register first. You may want to catch up with the updates from time to time.
Before applying for a program, look around for more offers. Write down some of the programs that you believe fit you the most. Do a cross-examination. Who develops the courses? Are the programs on the list all taught by seasoned professors? Are the professors residential or part-time? If it is an online nursing program, does it include field training? Are you offered the opportunity to operate on the computers under the Information Technology Program?
How often does the program require tests? How does credit count towards the degree? How does the degree contribute to your career?
Ask a round of questions, and you will know something. You will get an idea of the program you are looking at.
Or, there are many articles like the top ranked online MBA programs, best online Accounting programs and so on. You can basically have your pick at the highly recommended ones without spending too much time looking for them by yourself.
Or, you can just compare the program you are interested in with the one that is highly spoken of.
Of course, when doing the comparison, you can also take the Student Services and Testimonies into consideration. In a word, there are quite a few details from which you can tell if an online program is good or not.
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