More and more universities are offering online courses, and the same goes for the people taking them. Over 6.3 million students in the United States stated that they took at least one online course within the year, according to a recent report by the Babson Survey Research Group.
The researchers, who were featured in U.S. News, stated that online course enrollment grew by about 5.6% from 2015 to 2016, further following the pattern of growth in the past few years. And it makes sense. They offer college-level education at your own time and pace. If you’re planning to take part in an online course soon, here are things you should consider.
Is It the Course I Want?
Whether it’s a short course from Skillshare or a full-blown degree from a college, you need to make sure that it’s the one you want. It shouldn’t be just something you found interesting. That is because while online courses are flexible, they still require you to focus and submit work like in a typical classroom setting.
That takes a lot of time and energy to do. Not to mention, there’s the money you have to pay for your tuition. You don’t want to end up wasting them because you suddenly felt unmotivated. Evaluate your career goals and choose a course that directly leads to it to help you stay inspired throughout your classes.
Do I Have the Time for It?
Yes, online classes are great if you want a flexible way to earn your degree. However, this model also makes it easy to procrastinate and put your coursework off until the last minute. And when you rush your output, there’s a good chance that it won’t be your best work.
Check the expected number of hours of study per course. Then, create a schedule on when you’ll do readings and answer tests. Allocate more time to major projects. Doing so can help you stay on top of your course progress. Having a plan also enables you to balance school with your current job.
Is My Equipment Enough?
The biggest disadvantage of taking an online course is that you won’t be provided with the facilities and equipment you need for classes. If you’re taking graphic design, ensure you have a computer that can handle hours of rendering images and videos. Consider your internet connection as well. You want it fast and reliable enough that you can download files and watch the educational videos you need instantly.
What Are the Expenses I Should Consider?
While you don’t have to worry about school facilities and other on-campus fees, you still have to pay thousands of dollars a year for your tuition. Plus, you have to shell out cash for course materials and the equipment you’ll use for the course. Take advantage of scholarships or financial assistance your employer or school may offer to keep costs to a minimum.
Taking an online course is one of the best ways to advance your career and even pass the time during this stay-at-home period. However, a lot of factors should be considered before committing to one. Ask these questions to yourself when choosing your program and adjust your choices accordingly. With the right course, equipment, and time management skills, you’ll get the skills or degree of your dreams in no time.