Online Education – Self Assessment

When considering taking online learning courses, it is a good idea to complete a self-assessment of your goals, current skill set, and specifically what knowledge you want to acquire. Once you have completed your self-assessment, you can move to Course Selection. So where do you start? At the beginning of course and this and the next series of articles will take you through the self-assessment process, course selection and the other things you should think about when developing your online Education program.

Goals and Objectives

While you may not need to conduct a self-assessment or Course Selection for one course, you should think about goals if you are considering taking a broad ranging subject (e.g., Personal Development, Personal Desktop Computing, Starting a Small Business, Web Design, IT Certification). You should have both short and long term goals because with any long term endeavor, the short term goals keep you motivated to reaching you long term objective. For example, you are considering starting a new business, setting up a time line for completing the first few courses (e.g., Managing your Business, Raising Financing) and a longer term goal (e.g., Start the business by xx/xx/xxxx). Well arranged goals and objectives will not only motivate you but keep you on track and increase your overall chances for success.

Current Skills

Assessing your current skills are important to both developing your goals and objectives and ultimately, Course Selection. Being honest with your self is also important. First, identify, your advanced skills set. While there is probably more you can learn, you can rely on your current skills in reaching you ultimate objective. For example, in starting a new business, if you have good marketing skills, you would not initially take any advertising or marketing courses. You should focus on the skills you need which you have either a basic knowledge that you will need to know more about to reach your objective. On a very basic level you may need to select the type of business or need to develop your skills in office management or managing a business generally. Now re-review your goals and objective to make sure both are in sync.

Budget

While online education is very economical, you should estimate the cost of your Course Selection and the time frame you are expecting to take them. Does the cost meet the amount you expected to invest? If not, consider reducing your list or extending your time line for completion. Do not reduce your list to a point where you are not acquiring enough skills to meet your objective.

How to Get Financial Aid for Your Online Education?

Time has changed and over the years education is no more restricted to pen, paper, classrooms, blackboards etc. Today when time is deemed to be more crucial than money and people in even in remote corners of the world crave to acquire education and its benefits, online education has definitely come up as a desired boon.

Online education is education via the medium of Internet that can be gained synchronously or asynchronously. At present online education is far superior from the conventional mode of learning (ie going to universities, attending classes and so forth) in many ways. Online education is not just a means to make judicious use of time but it is also acquiring the best possible degree in academics anytime anywhere.

Though merits of online education outweigh the classroom education in many respects, its greatest drawback is its cost. Online education is significantly expensive in comparison to usual university education. This is precisely the reason that every individual cannot dream of getting an online degree.

But with a surge in enticement for online education some universities imparting it have devised several ways to financially assist the aspirants. The foremost and ideal step in this direction is education loans and giving scholarships.

Whereas loan or arranging finance for online education is concerned the foremost step is to fill up your FASFA ie Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FASFA is an application published by the Department of Education. This application gives the aspirant an idea of ​​the kind of funding he or she is eligible for. Once the application form is properly filled and sent, wait for the confirmation. Usually receiving a confirmation letter is a matter of one or two days. The confirmation letter will brief you about the kind and number of programs you meant for you. This process is quite simple and easy to follow.

After acquiring the confirmation letter, contact the Financial Aid office of the desired college / s. The financial aid officer there will explain you the various types of financial aid packages available that vary from work-study programs to government aid. He will lend you the requisite forms for different colleges. Finally it is at your discretion which college to opt for though the officer will definitely guide you in your selection.

Once the loan application is completed, it will be sent to the school for the process of verification and processing. Usually banks do not fund the students directly but via the concerned institution. The bank sends the money at the commencement of the session.
This is helpful to both the student and the institution.

Apart from loans there are scholarship programs such as the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit that offers a maximum 100% on the first $ 1000 and 50% on the second $ 1000 spent for educational purposes. Similarly the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction are other means to save money on your online educational expenses.

Online College Courses – Benefits and Advantages to an Online Education

There are a lot of reasons to consider taking college courses online. By far the greatest advantage of taking an internet college course is convenience. You can take a college course online from anywhere that has an internet connection. These days, with many wireless notebooks you can connect to the internet from almost anywhere which makes taking an online college course even more accessible. No more sitting in classes or being cooped up indoors. You can access your college course online from anywhere you want to.

Many people don’t think that they can find the time to fit in getting a college qualification with their other commitments. Taking a college course online can be the answer to this problem. You don’t have the same fixed schedule to attend classes when you take a college course online. You get to study at your own pace and at a time that suits you. It doesn’t matter if you want to do all of your college work in the evenings or at weekends, with a college course online you can do exactly what you want.

Many of the institutes that offer a college course online do not set any time limits for you to complete the course in. This means that you can take as long as you need. If you find that you are unable to study for a few days, weeks or even months there is no problem when you are studying your college course online. You simply start studying again whenever you are ready.

Another benefit of taking a college course online is that a large number of them do not have a formal exam that you have to sit at the end of it. Many of the courses are awarded based on the marks gained in assignments throughout the course. However, if the particular course that you want to take does require that you take a supervised exam to qualify then you will be offered a time and place to suit you.

There are no age limits for people who want top take a college course online. This is ideal for more mature students who don’t relish the thought of going back to college and being surrounded by students who are half their age. So if you are 18 or 80 you can take a college course online and obtain the qualification that you have always wanted. You are allocated a personal tutor who is available to help you with questions and help you work through your assignments and will mark your college course online or by post if you prefer. Some courses also have facilities for students to chat to others taking the college course online to exchange ideas and offer support.

The Growth of Online Education in China

A recent report has been published detailing the development of e-Learning and online education in China. The report, by companiesandmarkets.com, identifies that the sector has reached its "growth stage", increasing in market scale by 20.7 percent between 2006 and 2007 (from RMB14.5 billion to RMB17.5 billion). So how is the industry set to develop from here? And what can the west learn from the success of the Chinese distance and blended learning systems?

Distance learning, online degree courses, and adult education have been popular in China for some time. This has been due to a number of factors, such as the expansive and rural geography of the country, the high competition for fewer enrolment places (comparable to the UK or US, at least), and recent government-stimulated incentives to ensure compulsory learning for all, eg the National Project of Compulsory Education in Impoverished Areas (established in 1995).

In regards to e-Learning and its involvement with pre / primary / middle school education, the latest report does not reflect an outright consolidation of the country's vast school system – which is something that makes it quite different to others. Those who offer online education services to pre-schoolers are private individuals and companies, whilst the most traditional primary and middle schools are said to be employing e-Learning techniques and offering distance classes. Primary and middle school teaching market scale has increased by 18.5 percent between 2006 and 2007.

For higher education and older learners, the report shows a growth and diversification of online education but an unimpressive continuation of doubts amongst members of the public as to the worth of diplomas from online institutions. Despite this, there is healthy enthusiasm for online education for vocation certification and an increased demand for customizable services. Additionally corporate e-learning is becoming more integrated with business hoping to improve services – especially over the last year. As a result, projections suggest that corporate e-learning is set to grow 40 percent year by year until 2011.

China is an interesting country to discuss when it comes to distance education – due to the rural country and uniquely provincial governance of education, as well as its huge population. Consequently, the country has pioneered certain aspects of education by use of online courses and media. This has not only included a Central Radio and TV University, but also distance institutions that specifically cater for niche markets such as adult farmers and workers – it will be intriguing to see how technological advancements and increased accessibility for education over the next few years.

E Learning: Why Choose Online Education?

The Internet boom is far from over, although it has been taking a slightly different slant in the past few years; hardly surprising as technologies advance and trends change. The World Wide Web is the largest resource of information in the whole world and whatever your needs the Internet can provide. What started as a bubble has soon become a massive tidal wave and online education is one of the areas that is still increasing, probably more than ever before.

You can shop online, you can watch TV online, and you can even book your holidays online or work online and now you can complete perfectly legitimate and recognised educational courses online. Far from being the alternative form of education used solely by working parents it is becoming just as popular with teenagers and professionals all around the world. There are no boundaries to learning when using the Internet. You can study a course that local colleges and educational institutions in your area don’t offer and you can do so without having to quite your job and leave home.

You don’t need to take three years to complete a course; you can often work at your own pace, fitting in around your commitments and according to your spare time.

What courses are on offer?

As well as courses designed primarily for completion on the Internet, many educational institutions are now leaning towards offering the major courses to be completed in the comfort of your own home. College degrees and graduate degrees are available in almost any subject you could imagine with many benefits over the traditional ‘classroom’ approach.

E-learning offers a vast array of topics too, from American History to Zoology and everything in between. Perhaps you are in full time employment and want a change in career. Not many of us can afford to just give up work and go back to college so online education could be the perfect answer.

Maybe you are unemployed and can’t find work suitable for you or the qualifications and experience you have. Online education can offer you the opportunity to gain more qualifications without the expenses of travelling or accommodation.

Why should I choose an online education course?

There are many advantages to online education. The courses are usually tailored to meet the different demands that are entailed within an online learning community. You are usually free to study at your own time and pace, so you have the opportunity to complete your chosen course quickly or as slowly as you want.

There are no travel costs involved with online education and no travel time whatsoever. The only time you will need to dedicate to your learning will be the time you spend studying and any trips to the library or other institution you may need.

Many jobs and careers demand a good working knowledge of the Internet, and by completing your course online you are already many steps closer to that end. You will have excellent knowledge on Internet research; always being able to find the information that is useful to you.

There are some factors you should consider when deciding whether to opt for online education or a more traditional classroom education. You will need a reasonably up to date PC, together with an Internet Connection. Fortunately, computer prices have dropped in recent years, so you can get a capable PC for little more than $300. If you consider using eBay or buying a refurbished PC then you can reduce this price even more. Don’t forget, you will need a printer, operating software, word processing software and an Internet connection but again the price of these has dropped dramatically.

If you don’t have much working knowledge of a computer or the Internet you will need to find your way around at first and this can seem a daunting task for the beginner. Don’t panic, just stick with it and buy yourself (or borrow from friends or the library) books on how to use the software you are going to need. Once online the Internet has all of this information at hand, and the world becomes your playground.

A summary of online education.

Online education can help all people from all walks of like gain the education they want to better themselves or to advance in the career they already have. Whether you are a working parent or an unemployed bachelor, there are courses available for you to complete through online education.

Online education offers many benefits and few pitfalls when compared to the more traditional ‘classroom’ approach but you should carefully consider your options before jumping in.

There are costs associated with virtually all online education courses but these are usually little more than the costs to study at a college and when you consider that there are no travelling expenses and no extra living costs, you may find online education to be a much more financially viable option.

©2005 John Thompson