The virtual classroom is the heart of online degree programs—a convenient, central place where your university courses unfold. Although there are many fundamental similarities between a traditional campus-based education and the online university experience, learning through a virtual classroom offers many benefits that traditional college degree programs don’t provide. Here are a few that made our list of top benefits:
- Access to coursework from anywhere at any time
You have the freedom to study and complete your coursework 24/7 from anywhere and at any time that suits your busy schedule. If you’re out of town on business, you can do your schoolwork back at the hotel, while you’re waiting for a connecting flight, or between meetings. All you need is your laptop or other digital device.
Once you log in to the student portal on your online university’s website, you’re at school. You can access assignments, post homework, watch faculty presentations, join student discussions, conduct research, contact your teacher and classmates, get assistance from student support services, receive feedback, and access your test grades.
- Combination of structure and freedom
Online degree programs are built on a structure of weekly assignments and due dates that you must meet, whether it’s taking an online test; posting homework, papers, and projects; watching a faculty presentation; or participating in a discussion with fellow classmates. However, within the program’s structure you have the freedom to choose the best times to participate that sync with your schedule.
- Effective time management
An online education provides a welcome environment for working adults who need to balance work and family with the new demands of going back to school. Right away, you save hours every week not having to commute back and forth to classes on a campus—and that’s just the beginning. Going back to school sharpens your time-management skills, because you have to be disciplined and find the time to study.
- Expanded world view
Online degree programs attract students from across the U.S. and around the world, who bring different perspectives from diverse cultures. You may have opportunities to work on group projects and collaborate with international classmates. Insights into other business cultures, attitudes, and problem-solving approaches can inform your own approaches to problems and opportunities.
- Asynchronous discussions with classmates
Steve Gardiner, 2008 Montana Teacher of the Year, first experienced online education as a doctoral student in Walden University’s Doctor of Education (EdD) program. He appreciates how the whole e-learning platform works. “I attend class from anywhere. I’m participating in discussions, adding my posts, submitting my lessons, and it’s working perfectly,” Gardiner said.
Comparing his online EdD experience with his previous on-campus master’s program, Gardiner recalled the frustrations of having a real-time discussion with classmates. By the time he had formulated his thoughts and was ready to add to the conversation, the topic had changed. In a virtual classroom, that’s never a problem. Since most of the classwork is asynchronous, online discussions aren’t cut off when the bell rings. “I can formulate my idea while I’m out for my run and post it when I return,” Gardiner said.
- Immediate feedback on tests
When you’re enrolled in one of the many online degree programs available, you don’t have to worry and wait for days for test results. You take your tests online, and they are usually scored when you finish. You can quickly see where you did well and where you need improvement. When you submit papers and projects, you’ll use a private “drop box” where your teacher will access your assignments confidentially and provide written or video feedback.
- Sharpened digital skills
While increasing your knowledge and skills in your area of study, you’ll also be honing your digital skills on the most sophisticated online learning technology. As you continue to learn and study in an online world, you’ll become confident and highly productive using interactive online tools such as online tests, drop boxes for homework, collaboration tools, e-mail communications to faculty and fellow classmates, and video presentations by faculty.
As an online student, you’ll start enjoying these top benefits and many more as you experience the special world of online learning.
Explore how you could increase your job satisfaction and advance your career with online degree programs from an accredited online university like Walden University, offered in a convenient format that suits your busy life.
Walden offers both state-approved educator licensure programs as well as programs and courses that do not lead to licensure or endorsements. Prospective students must review their state licensure requirements prior to enrolling. For more information, please refer to www.WaldenU.edu/educlicensure.
Prospective Alabama students: Contact the Teacher Education and Certification Division of the Alabama State Department of Education at 1-334-242-9935 or www.alsde.edu to verify that these programs qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits.
Note to all Washington residents: This program is not intended to lead to teacher certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.