8 Things to Expect with Online Education
Imagine being able to earn your degree while wearing your pajamas, sipping on your favorite coffee, and getting snug on the couch next to your furry friend. Sounds too good to be true, right? Maybe not. The rise of online learning has shown many universities that the demand for remote education continues to grow with students looking to complete their degrees completely online or in a hybrid model.
With online degree programs rapidly growing in popularity, some are left to think what all the fuss is about. If you’re curious to know what enrolling in distance learning entails, keep reading to get a better idea on what to expect with online education.
8 Things to expect with online education
Although online learning has been around for some time now, it is still considered new to most students who enroll in degree programs today. If you’ve never experienced remote education, you probably have a few questions about what to expect while earning your degree – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this guide:
1) Online classes aren’t “easier” than traditional classes
If you’re thinking about getting your master’s degree online so you can get an easy “A” in every class, you may want to reconsider. There is a very common misconception that just because classes are online, they’re much easier than a typical face-to-face class. However, this is not the case. While these courses could be considered “easier” in terms of flexibility, the amount of time and attention you need to give them shouldn’t be overlooked.
Whether you’re taking computer science, engineering, or business classes online, you can still expect to have projects, exams, papers, readings, and quizzes during your program. Taking classes online can greatly benefit students who have a busy schedule, but can also be challenging for those who thrive in a face-to-face learning environment or prefer more structure in their studies.
2) Time management is key
Students pursuing online degree programs are typically attracted to the flexibility of being able to take courses from anywhere while also working full time or attending to previous responsibilities. When taking online courses, it is crucial that you manage your time to ensure all assignments are completed on time. With remote learning, you’ll have more freedom to simply log on when you’re able to – just don’t leave things until the last minute.
Depending on your program or professor, NJIT online classes may be synchronous or asynchronous. With asynchronous learning, it is helpful to write down your assignments for each week, when you plan on logging on, deadlines, study times, and even weekly readings. It can be easy to forget about the class when you don’t have to meet at a specific time each week.
3) Participation in class is essential to learning
Distance learning doesn’t mean you’ll have to do the entire program by yourself – in fact, you’ll have the opportunity to make connections with your peers in online discussions. Having in depth discussions regarding various topics ultimately contribute to your understanding of the subject matter and may even broaden your viewpoints to consider something new.
Some classes may post weekly discussion boards where students write a response to an initial question and then also respond to other classmates. Other courses may choose to do live synchronous discussions over a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or Webex. Both types of discussion encourages everyone to think critically and analytically about the topic at hand before responding.
4) Group projects still exist
Yes you read that correctly. Group projects are absolutely still a thing even when earning your degree online. Along with making connections with your peers through discussion boards, you’ll learn how to effectively collaborate with others using technology as your main source of communication.
Learning how to properly communicate and work collaboratively using programs such as Google Docs, Zoom, and other digital platforms will help prepare you for your future work environment. You’ll gain new technical and interpersonal skills that come from studying in a digital environment.
5) You don’t need to be tech savvy
It goes without saying that technology is a crucial aspect when it comes to online learning, however, you don’t need to be a tech expert to successfully complete your degree online. If you have a basic understanding of how the internet works, you’re good to go. The most common actions that will take place are opening files, e-mailing, downloading and uploading documents, video conferencing, and using a search engine. Before signing up for online classes, make sure to check that you have access to a working computer or tablet with reliable internet connection.
6) Real professors teach online classes
Although you may never meet your professor in-person when getting your degree online, there is still a person at the other end of the computer who will be able to talk with you. Students in online degree programs should be comfortable with reaching out to their professors via email and waiting a day or two for a response.
Office hours are also still available through online courses. Many professors will do office hours by appointment and meet with students using a video conferencing software, or have drop-in virtual office hours. Either way, you’ll have the support needed to successfully complete each class.
7) Exams and quizzes are proctored
Just like in face-to-face classes, students are expected to take their exams and quizzes without outside help. To help match these exams and quizzes to the style of those in-person, many professors will choose to use automated proctoring applications or remote proctors.
Students will typically have a certain amount of time allowed to complete the test along with a specific time frame when one can open it. Some exams will have a week to be completed while others might open and close on an exact date. NJIT makes it easy for students to complete their tests on either Canvas or Moodle, with the professor choosing how to give the exam based on course material and delivery.
8) You may excel in online classes
While face-to-face learning is the traditional way of earning a degree, for some, it may not be the best option. One of the advantages of online learning is the ability to have a flexible schedule, allowing students to save time and money without sacrificing on their education. Many aren’t even aware how well they can do in online degree programs until they sign up for one.
When you take away the stress of commuting to and from campus, getting to the classroom, sitting through a lecture, and making it home before bed, you’d be surprised just how much of a difference it can make. At NJIT, there are many degree programs conveniently offered online so you have more time to focus on studying and learning skills for your future.
Begin your Online Education Journey at NJIT
Taking the next steps to advance your education is a huge decision and a scary step when you’re not sure what the program entails. When it comes to online education, you may be stepping out of your comfort zone and into something completely different. Distance learning is a wonderful opportunity for those who wish to continue their education on a flexible schedule that works for them.
At NJIT, we strive to provide students with an excellent online education – your high quality degree will come from one of the nation’s top fully accredited public STEM universities. Check out NJIT’s degree and program catalogue for more information, and get a jump start on your future.