As an online professor I try to stay in touch with what is going on with online education today. Recently, I read an article that talked about a research study asking traditional on-ground college instructors for their views about online education. The overall results were not good; most of the instructors said that they did not think online education was very good. This worried me if teachers do not trust online education, who can? As I thought about it more, I realized what I think is the most important tenet of online student success be secure in your decision to embark on your education and help spread the word that online learning is a great way to improve ones knowledge and skills.
When you decide to take online courses, be secure in your choice. Recognize why online learning works for you and be prepared to share your reasons with family, friends or coworkers who ask. One of the big keys to online student success is to make a firm decision that this education is important to you and that you are going to give 100% of yourself to learning the material, earning the degree and showing off your newly discovered skills in the workplace.
Choose the Right School and Let People Know It
Of course, an obvious key to online student success is to choose the right school and program. If you choose a school that is respected, and that has a focus on academics and student achievement, then it will be easy to illustrate the value of your decision to others.
When anyone does question your decision for online education or your choice of school, stay positive. Simply explain that the school you chose is accredited by the same regional accreditation that every state university is approved by (at least, you should only choose such a school). Describe for naysayers why you chose your school, what services they offer, how they demonstrate commitment to your education, and what you are learning in your program. When you show enthusiasm and dedication for your online education, others will feel positively in return. Its hard to be sour in the face of such positive energy and optimism.
Be an Advocate
As a gay American, I often tell my partner that it is our duty to be out, to let people see that intelligent, educated, productive, normal people soccer moms are the face of gay America. Similarly, as an online student it is part of your role to be an advocate for online education. Talk to people about your school. Explain to them your keys to online student success and how your online education is valuable to you. Ensure that people know that you are receiving a good education, that you are proud to be an online learner. If every person currently enrolled in an online class could explain to five people how valuable and viable online learning is, how everyone can get your degree online fast, there would no longer be a question about the respectability of online education.
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