Published on 2012/04/18

Choosing An Online Education

Choosing An Online Education
Already busy with families and full-time jobs, many students have turned to online institutions to complete their advanced degrees and lifelong learning. Photo by Huvisian.

About five years ago I decided to return to graduate school to obtain my doctorate. My choice was to return to school was based on a number of different factors: I enjoy being involved in academia and learning; I felt the need to challenge myself; and I wanted to transition into a new career. The one factor that made returning to school a reality was the fact that online learning had finally come into its own. I was able to choose from several high quality schools, each with regional accreditation, and each with rigorous, science-based, Psychology programs.

I work full-time for a government agency that offers limited flexibility for travel and have a family of six including myself. There was no way I could support my family and attend an onsite school full time to earn my Ph.D. Online learning provided me with flexible scheduling, the opportunity to learn based on my schedule and my family’s schedule, and provided me a chance to learn in a manner most suited to my independent personality.

As I researched various online graduate schools I looked at a variety of factors: accreditation, efficient learning format that was not technologically over-powering, and customer service as I was going through my research process. This means I wanted my issues addressed, and my questions answered without being subjected to used car salesman tactics.

Now that I’ve acquired my Ph.D. I believe I can understand the adult online learner who is pursuing growth and change in their lives. As technology advances and becomes common-place online learning or combination online/onsite programs will become the norm in higher education. From this position of understanding it is now my desire to give back to the learner community by getting involved in online higher education. I would like to implement many of the practices that I found beneficial to me, used by some of my favorite professors. Online education is opening the doors of academia to those who would otherwise avoid onsite learning and is providing a leveling of the academic and professional playing field.

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Readers Comments

James Branden 2012/04/19 at 12:01 pm

I can’t agree more — I also found the online forum better for attaining needed credentials, not just in terms of major degrees but smaller certifications as well.

I think there’s a lot to be said for self-directed learning where you have to look for motivation outside of the disapproving look of an instructor

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