Choosing the right online or distance learning program

Online learning guide

When you first start looking on the internet for an online course or distance learning program you will be amazed by the multitude of websites, schools, colleges and universities offering distance or online learning degrees. So how do you know which one to choose? Or the differences each program has to offer? Before you sign up for a course or program do a little research into what the school has to offer you and ask questions.
Listed below are just some of the questions you should ask before signing up:

* How much is this going to cost me, are there any hidden charges or additional fees?

Always make sure you know exactly what you will be paying in full and what you will get for your money, schools and colleges which offer what seems like a bargain could have hidden charges or additional fees for course material.

* What experience and education do the tutors have?

Whichever course you choose to take a reputable school or college should offer help via tutors or teachers, even if they don’t then a tutor will be grading your coursework so it’s necessary for them to have the relevant qualifications to do this. The majority of tutors should hold at least an MA degree in their chosen subject.

* Is the school or college accredited and if so by who?

When taking your degree always check to make sure that the college or school offers an accredited degree which is recognised by your regional association at the end of your course, otherwise you could have studied and paid for what amounts to nothing more than a useless piece of paper.

* When will the school or college be reviewed for accreditation?

If there is a particular school or college that you wish to study with but it doesn’t have accreditation at the moment then check to see when it will be reviewed for accreditation. It could be in the process of doing so but never sign up for a course with a school or college that is waiting to be reviewed, they might not get it.

* What special hardware or software do I have to have for the coursework?

Many courses rely on streaming audio and video for you to follow the coursework, along with software such as the Microsoft office suite; while most new computers come with at least the basic office suite such as Microsoft word your computer might not be up to date if it is an old one. Check to make sure you know the requirements of software needed and also what your computer is capable of handling.

* Does the school or college provide any additional software needed or do I have to buy it myself?

This will depend on the online course you take and the methods used to study your particular course, most schools and colleges provide you with all the materials needed to study while some will request that students buy supplemental software.

* Can I get any degree at any school or college?

Not every degree will be available at all schools or colleges, if you are looking to earn a specific degree then make sure you check that it is available at the school or college you are thinking of signing up to.

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