Online education has become the fashion of this age. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other reasons such as work, family life and other commitments, you may not be able to pursue further education in the traditional route and attend classes physically. Thankfully, online education is now a viable alternative. Many universities and colleges have resorted to using online systems to offer education to their students. Most institutions offering online education follow some tried and tested procedures to maintain the quality of education. They use systems or software such as Moodle, Zoom and/or Google Classroom to offer online lessons to students.
As an individual seeking online education, you must follow certain procedures before embarking on online education. This is to preclude waste in haste and faulty decisions, and generally, just to be in the safe side. In this article, I present some suggestions on what you should do before embarking on online education.
Choices about online education
Like most decisions, your choice in your field of study must be firm and good. You must know your subjects of interest related to your future diploma or degree. Like what most experts emphasize, learning should be enjoyable. If you choose a field you are not really interested in, the momentum would lose steam later. Studies show that we learn more (and retain knowledge better) if we are interested in the subject. Therefore, motivation depends on how interested we are in the chosen field of study.
Reviewing your educational programmes
Once you have made your choice, the first thing to do is conduct a personal review. Scour the Internet and review all the programs offered by schools and universities. You should also review programmes offered by other online education platforms as this can give you a good start or even free courses to practice with. To do a proper review, make notes on the variety of the courses, the various differences in subjects under them, and each of the processes involved in order to keep a record. Keeping a record of the reviewed programmes will help you make a good decision. Also, weigh the differences and similarities.
Comparing your notes
After the thorough review, it is now time to compare your notes on each of your candidate-schools/colleges/universities. You will compare the requirements and the amount of work needed. Review the courses that you must complete, the credits involved, the length of study and the corresponding costs. You may have to request further information from each institutions you are looking into. This is the time to narrow down your choices.
In online education, accreditation is very important because it is a form of a quality control check on the schools. It means they have met the criteria set for their obligations as institution. For students applying for grants and loans, accreditation is an important requirement. It means that you will spend your money wisely on a reputable institution and not a diploma mill.
Accreditation makes credit transfers between colleges and universities smoother and easier. Very important, too, is the fact that employers look for accreditation status when evaluating job applicants or offering financial support to employees who want to get further online education.
Cost of online education
Part of your previous review of each institution is to find out if your candidate university-of-choice is whether you can afford the costs associated with your planned course or not. Also you need to find out if the institution or government offers scholarships or bursaries to that institution. This is crucial if you have no funding available from your employer or your parents/guardians and everything comes from your own pocket. Do not go to an institution which is too expensive for you. In Zambia, you will do well to target public colleges.
It is time now to complete the online form of your chosen school and send it. However, list down all your questions before you can start the application process and ask the questions. You will do well to go in person to your preferred institution and ask those questions in person. This is the time when further clarifications are clarified. This is also the time to re-evaluate your choices. Some schools might hound you to make your decision. They are also in the business of making money and would want to get you first.
Make yours only when you are completely comfortable. Online education is one important life decision you have to make.
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