What to Expect From an Online Degree Program?

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsOnline degree programs come in a variety of types, from strictly-scheduled degrees for traditional students to self-paced programs for working adults. Classes usually communicate and submit assignments through special education software.

Online Degree Program Options and Types

The spectrum of online degree programs begins with hybrid programs, which are taught partly online and partly through in-person lectures or tests. These programs, along with some online programs, are set on a course schedule that resembles a traditional degree program in many ways and is usually designed for traditional students rather than working adults. Assignments and tests often have set due dates, and students are required to submit their work and participate in class discussions on a regular basis.

The other end of the online degree spectrum is often found in continuing education courses or college degrees for working adults. These courses may not have a set end date, much less due dates for assignments or tests. Often, these programs allow students to work whenever they desire and take as long as necessary to complete each class and, ultimately, their degree.

Most online degree programs fall somewhere between these two extremes, usually operating on a semester system that requires students to turn in all assignments by a particular semester-end date, but allowing students to work at their own pace in the mean time to complete assignments and tests.

What to Expect From Online Classes

Online classes use a variety of means for communication, including email, class forums and message boards, instant messengers and at times voice or video conferencing. Many times, online classes use specially designed education software that incorporates some or all of these features into a single package that can be accessed from a web browser. This gives students access to a centralized set of message boards through which they can communicate with the rest of their class, gives teachers a built-in email system for communicating with students and passing out or reviewing assignments and provides an automated testing and grading system for some types of assignments.

Usually, online classes have some form of participation requirement, both for the purpose of keeping students from becoming isolated, and for building teamwork within a class to help solve problems and reinforce key concepts. This participation requirement may take the form of a posting requirement on the class boards or it may mean class assignments in which students must work together.

Online Accredited Degree Programs: College and University Options

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsAccreditation from a recognized agency attests to the quality of online programs offered at traditional and online-only schools. Even degrees that cannot be fully completed online may have hybrid programs that give a student the opportunity to complete the majority of coursework and then take an internship or clinical lab on-campus.

What Colleges and Universities Offer Accredited Degree Programs Online?

Communications technology allows colleges and universities to offer online degree programs. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education database of accredited schools (www.ope.ed.gov) can guide a prospective student to accredited degree programs offered over the Internet. Because program offerings change, prospective students may wish to follow up on colleges selected through the database by visiting the college’s website, which may also allow students to apply for admission online.

Types of Degrees Available

A prospective student can earn any degree that is available at traditional colleges online with the exception of degree programs that require hands-on training. In addition to a full range of degrees, including doctorate programs, colleges offer GED programs and certificates of achievement through online programs. Online degree completion programs allow a student with some college credit through earlier on-campus studies to fulfill the remaining degree requirements online.

Some associate’s degree programs can be taken entirely online. Students can earn an Associate of Arts in Psychology from an accredited degree program. Others include Associate of Applied Science in Human Services, Associate of Interdisciplinary Studies and Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems.

Bachelor’s degrees that can be earned online from an accredited college include Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Transfer students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies, Bachelor of Liberal Studies and Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Master’s degrees that are accredited can be earned online. Many schools offer online master’s degrees in education, business, psychology and information technology.

Types of Schools

Schools such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University and Capella University offer postsecondary education entirely online. Many traditional colleges have expanded their degree programs to an online presence. Some disciplines, such as nursing and engineering, are often presented as a hybrid course. Students attend clinical labs and workshops on-campus, but complete coursework online.