Frequently Asked Questions about Online Education

Frequently Asked Questions about Online Education

A general list of frequently asked questions and detailed answers about online education. Includes information about how online classes are organized and structured, the reputation and respectability of online degrees, accreditation information, financial aid resources, etc. Read The Article...

General Benefits of e-Learning

General Benefits of e-Learning

This article lists and explains some of the most noticeable benefits of completing online college coursework, especially as compared to the in-classroom instructional environment, and includes a discussion of why online education has enjoyed increased respect in recent years. Read The Article...

Is e-Learning Right For You?

Is e-Learning Right For You?

An informative article that details and explains the nature of online education. This article is primarily intended to help potential students make an accurate determination of whether or not they can succeed in the online education/e-Learning environment. Read The Article...

Understanding Accreditation

Understanding Accreditation

Will employers respect your online degree? Will your credits transfer to another institution? Does your online education have the same value as one earned on-campus? This article explains the general concepts of accreditation and why it matters to both students and employers. Read The Article...

Differences In Academic Schedules

Differences In Academic Schedules

The differences between self-paced, one-month, quarter, and semester terms, as well as an explanation of synchronous and asynchronous schedules in online classes. Students can use this information to help determine the best schedule for their own educational needs. Read The Article...

Online Learning Styles

Online Learning Styles

This article offers a detailed explanation of the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles. The prevalent aspects of each learning style is addressed, including examples. The design of online education to meet the various online learning styles is also addressed. Read The Article...

Why Accreditation Matters

Why Accreditation Matters

What do colleges and students mean when they mention a university or program's accreditation? This article discusses accreditation - what exactly is is, why it matters, and how to recognize and avoid unaccredited online colleges and universities. Read The Article...

The History of Online Education

The History of Online Education

This article contains a general overview of the history of online education, and uses extensive statistics and research to display trends of online education, including its rapid and continued growth in popularity and respectability amongst both students and employers worldwide. Read The Article...

Demonstration of an Online Course

Demonstration of an Online Course

Are you curious about online education but have no idea how an online class "works?" This is an actual, working demonstration course that we have developed solely to help potential online students determine if online education is the right choice for their educational needs. View The Demonstration Course...

Information, resources, and tips to help service members transition from the front lines to the front of the class

Transitioning from the Front Line to the Classroom

The brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces are increasingly enrolling in college coursework to strengthen professional skills. This article explains the process of pursuing higher education as a service member, including numerous resources for financial assistance. Read The Article...

Step-By-Step Instructions to Complete the FAFSA

Step-By-Step Instructions to Complete the FAFSA

This step-by-step checklist will guide you through the process necessary to complete the Free Application for Federal Student AID (FAFSA) - the primary source of state and federal financial aid funding. Includes preparation information and links to necessary resources. Read The Article...

How and Why To Apply for Financial Aid

How and Why To Apply for Financial Aid

This article provides a general description of internal/institutional, external, and governmental financial aid funding opportunities, and the importance of recognizing and seizing such opportunities for funding possibilities. Several links are included. Read The Article...

What Is A Virtual Classroom?

What Is A Virtual Classroom?

Have you wondered how exactly you attend an online college course, submit your assignments, or participate in online class discussions? This article offers a brief explanation of how online classes are organized and their general benefits to students. Read The Article...

Beating Cheaters: Cheating in an Online Class

Beating Cheaters: Cheating in an Online Class

It's a common argument in opposition to the respect and reputation of an online education - it is easier to cheat in an online class. This article examines and exposes the myth by explaining the methods used in an online class to deter and eliminate cheating. Read The Article...

Common Myths about Online Education

Common Myths about Online Education

A brief list of some of the common arguments made by proponents of online education. This article discusses and dispells these myths while providing additional resources for students regarding their online degree program. Read The Article...

Find a Recommended College or University by Name:

Recommended Colleges & Programs

Capella UniversityCapella UniversityAccreditation: Regional (NCACS)
Online Degree Programs: 50+
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Grand Canyon UniversityGrand Canyon UniversityAccreditation: Regional (NCACS)
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Kaplan University OnlineKaplan UniversityAccreditation: Regional (NCACS)
Online Degree Programs: 50+
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Ashford University Ashford UniversityAccreditation: Regional (NCACS)
Online Degree Programs: 25+
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Qualities of a Great Online Instructor

Qualities of a Great Online College Instructor

Earning a college degree online is a great choice for many young adults who are starting their degree, as well as for older adults who are completing their degree. But the quality of the online education experience greatly depends on the quality of the college’s online instructors.

The Importance of Electronic Communication
In a traditional college classroom, interaction between student and instructor is critical to both student satisfaction and ability to learn. In a virtual college classroom, beneficial interaction between student and instructor is even more important, yet more difficult to achieve.

The speed of an online instructor’s response to student questions or comments via e-mail is the most important aspect of optimal student-instructor interaction. Imagine that a student has a question or comment in a traditional classroom. That student will typically raise their hand to indicate their need for attention. This action triggers the instructor to react within seconds. But in an online classroom, a question or comment from the student is emailed to the instructor. An emailed question or comment is the equivalent of a raised-hand in the classroom. If the instructor takes several hours, or even days, to respond to the e-mail, student satisfaction and course interaction is greatly compromised. Additionally, this can affect the student’s ability to complete assignments by scheduled due dates.

The Need for Constant Communication
The best online instructors are those who literally live with a laptop or smart phone at their side at all times. These instructors thrive on fast email responses to their students and the communication chemistry that is created and fostered within their virtual classrooms. Adjunct online instructors, who teach online courses for multiple colleges or universities simultaneously, are typically very effective at this method of communication with their online students.

The On-Campus vs. Online Communication Gap
In contrast, instructors who simultaneously teach both on-campus and online courses can sometimes struggle with virtual communication with their online students. Experienced on-campus instructors know how to utilize common signals of non-verbal communication: eye contact with students, standing in front of seated students, voice inflections and intonations during oral lectures, etc. The fluidity of an online course and the need for constant virtual communication can sometimes challenge the effectiveness of a campus-based instructor who teaches online college classes.

Some of the best online instructors will even provide their online college students with personal contact information: cell phone numbers, personal email addresses, office telephone numbers, etc. Successful online instructors welcome all forms of communication from their online college students and understand the value and necessity of regular and open communication throughout their online courses. Quality virtual communication is essential for recognizing student learning potential and increasing student retention.

Embracing Education-Technology
Great online instructors readily embrace education-technology, and understand that online learning is just as effective, if not more effective, than campus-based learning. These instructores are fully engaged in their online courses and take pride in their interactions and communications between student, curriculum, and instructor. An effective instructor thrives on the success of their student, whether on-campus or online, and welcomes the tools necessary to impart the knowledge and skills presented within the course.

Online college students should also recognize that, while many colleges and universities teach and encourage particular skills in their online instructors, the ability to effectively communicate in an online class can fluctuate from one instructor to the next. If your initial online college class contains an ineffective instructor, it will certainly define your perception of online college classes. But this experience might be an isolated incident from a single instructor, class, or institution, and shouldn’t deter you from continuing and finishing your college education in the convenient and flexible online format. Simply bring the matter to the attention of your Academic Advising or Academic Affairs office, and try to avoid enrolling in another course with the same instructor. If the problem persists with numerous instructors, it might indicate a larger problem within the institution's online division.

A Student's Responsibility
Additionally, while regular and effective communication skills are necessary in an online college instructor, students must also accept the responsibility to inform themselves of the skills and abilities necessary for their own success. For more information about essential skills for online college students, please read Characteristics of Successful College Students.

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