Online education has become more and more popular with each passing day. More students now turn to online mode of education due to the flexibility and convenience it offers.
When we talk about the job market, some of the employers are still skeptical about the quality and credibility of online education. However, if you can satisfy your employer during the interview by pointing out that your online college is accredited and you have acquired valuable learning and skills during your education, it can surely put them at ease. Read the rest of this entry »
The process of accreditation involves a detailed quality review and in-depth assessment of the overall educational program for ensuring the quality of education imparted to students. There are certain independent accreditation bodies that are recognized by the state’s law to give accreditation status to an educational program. These accreditation agencies are responsible for evaluating and ensuring that the university meets the academic standards set by authorized governmental bodies.
The evaluation process of these accreditation agencies typically involves the following activities:
The management of the university runs and internal review where a team of senior professors and members of the management perform a survey to determine if the guidelines provided by the accreditation agencies are closely followed by the university and all the requirements are fulfilled or not.
The accreditation agency assigns a team of peers to visit the university in person and closely inspect their processes and procedures and also assess their educational program to ensure that they meet all the quality standards. The team looks into each department and program of the university and formulates a detailed report based on their assessment.
In case of online education institutes, special accreditation bodies are formed which review the educational system of the virtual university from both technical and qualitative perspective. Currently there are six regional accreditation bodies and one international accreditation body that is authorized to issue accreditation to online schools and universities. They take the online classroom, online faculty, teaching methods, course content and online communication channels in consideration when passing a verdict on the status of a virtual university.
Based on the detailed report presented by the assigned team of accreditation professional, the accreditation agency decides whether the college or university meets the predefined criteria of the quality of education, efficiency of the processes and integrity of the educational institution.
Thanks to the globalization, educational universities and institutions are opting for international accreditation of their educational programs and courses. Acquiring international accreditation for their academic entity ensures that they are committed to maintaining and enhancing their academic standards by employing the global best practices in the field of education. International accreditation not only helps strengthen an institution’s credibility, but it also immensely benefits students and other stakeholders.
Students today prefer to enroll at universities which are internationally accredited and globally recognized. The benefits of international accreditation are as follows:
- International Quality & Best Practices in Education
International accreditation of an institute is an assurance the educational programs and practices of the entity are the best and up to the international standards. It assures that the educational institute, its degrees, faculty, curriculum, administration, financial well-being, and student services are recognized around the world.
- Ease of Credit Transfer
International accreditation is an important factor when an institution or university is deciding whether to accept credit transfer from a student’s previous school. The international accreditation of the institute will help you to get your academic credentials accepted at a number of the world’s elite universities.
- Workplace Success
Global employers prefer to hire job applicants who have been educated at the institutes accredited by the top accreditation bodies. This education also plays a significant role when employers make decisions about business promotions, company advancements, and whether to provide tuition coverage or assistance for employees who wish or need to further their education.
- Professional Memberships
International accreditation also helps students gain professional memberships of different elite institutions and organizations. A lot of countries also require that a college, university, or program be internationally accredited when allowing students to acquire state professional licensure.
- Financial Aid Opportunity
If a student decides to study at an internationally accredited university, he/ she is assured that they won’t be financially burdened by the huge amount of fees that the students have to pay otherwise. International accreditation of an institution entitles them for a number of governmental and private financial aid and grants.
Now that you are well aware of a plethora of benefits international accreditation offers, you should make sure that the university or college you enroll at is recognized and accredited by a world-reputed accreditation agency.
One fine morning you got up and saw every other school was offing technologically advanced online courses. No, that’s not how it all happened. The big bang theory of online education dates back to early 1960’s when the expansion started taking place. This idea has been around for over 50 years now. It only keeps unfolding itself and never seizes to evolve.
This format of education is highly dependent on technology and its shape keep changing as the technology advances. Right now what we are witnessing is the most refined and advanced form online educational technology which involves web-based classrooms, video streaming, podcasting, social media channels, web-chat, so on and so forth.
This is how it all really started:
Two psychology professors from Stanford University conducted an experiment where they tried to teach reading and math to elementary school students using computers.
Universities developed an online system with which students could access their course information from any remote location if they had a computer and internet.
Larger universities started adopting the online course-information-transfer method and used those online channels to provide relevant study material to their students.
Although the online learning methods were in its testing phases, Jones International University launched the first online study program.
MUST University emerged with the concept of an entirely virtual university and was one of the first few online programs that received accreditation from International Accreditation Organization (IAO). Around the same time Phoenix and Kaplan also surfaced and became major competitors in the online education industry.
The number of students taking online courses touched one million.
The figure of total students taking online courses climbed up to 3.7 million.
Local universities and community colleges that were initially not in favor of online education started moving towards a hybrid model where they offered online courses along with on-campus classroom trainings to their students.
By the end of 2012 there were around 4 million students who enrolled in online courses during that year alone.
Finding the right school is never about scholarships, discounts and free laptops; it’s about understanding your career goals and future plans. For a number of students, the idea of choosing the right college is not as easy as it may seem. It requires proper research and the students need to evaluate the courses and facilities offered before finally deciding to enroll.
So how should you start your college search? You begin with figuring out what your future plans and objectives are and end it with picking up the college that best fits your goals.
Here are 4 simple steps you need to follow in your quest to finding the best college for yourself:
Figure out why you want a college degree
There can be different reasons for pursuing a college degree. Some people do it to make their family proud, some do it just for self-fulfillment, some people seek a degree to learn new things, and some opt for higher education to find a way out of their dead-end career. Therefore, before you start looking for schools online, ask yourself what you want to get out of your college degree. This will automatically narrow down your college options and you will be looking into the right places.
List down your criteria
This means you need to find out if the colleges you are considering for enrollment offer the courses that will help you accomplish your goals. Also check the length of the programs offered and if they have a good placement department where they help the students to fine jobs.
Do your homework well
After you make a list of colleges that suit your objectives and needs, dig deeper and find out everything you can about them. A lot of colleges will look very attractive from the outside but what really matters is how they are from the inside. Get in touch with the alumni and read every article you can about that college before spending your thousands of dollars on it.
Weigh your options
Once you are through with all the detective work, list down your options and consider the advantages and drawbacks of each college. Do not let the university representatives influence your decision; they are paid for each student they enroll. Take as much time as you need before finally making up your mind.
A recent survey conducted by MUST University showed that the average tuition fee has continued to outpace the rate of inflation in the country since 2008. The rise in the cost of higher education at such alarming rate is driving away many students. The number of enrollments in the colleges in the US has dropped significantly. If the problem persists, there will be very few students who’ll be able to pursue higher education from a reputable institute.
To counter this growing cost of education, several universities are looking into online alternatives. They are working on building an online platform where they could offer courses to distance learners along with the on-campus students. Previously, these online classes were held by very few traditional schools and colleges for the people who wanted to study just a couple of courses instead of completing the entire degree. But now this model of education is considered by several top level educational institutions as a serious alternative to classroom training. They believe it will help both, students and the schools, by bring the cost of education down.
There are two most important reasons why nearly all educators are favoring the idea of online education:
Setting up a traditional university requires constructing huge buildings and playgrounds, and ask for constant maintenance. The burden of those millions of dollars spent on infrastructure and maintenance usually falls on the students in the form of unreasonably high fees. However, the concept of online educations eliminates the need for a large brick and mortar structure. All it requires is powerful servers and some technology experts to keep the website up and running. And these online educational models raise teaching capacity of the institute exponentially at a very small fraction of the cost.
A traditional university that can hold about 25,000 in its various campuses is considered to be a large university setup. And if it decides to grow further, it will have to spend millions of dollars on building more campuses. On the other hand, e-learning can easily expand its reach to a greater number of students without making any huge investments. This results in lower fee structure and a greater student base.
According to research at MUST University, a large number of American students who had quit education for one reason or another have started going back to school.
The study was aimed at Americans aged 20 and above. The participants were asked several questions about their academic and career plans. A total of 2,751 people responded to this online survey and shared their views about college education with us.
MUST University survey showed most Americans have now realized how important college education is for improving their career prospects. Some of the research findings are relatively new; some are not. Here are the 5 major highlights from the research:
You need to have a college degree to get a job:
You can no longer join a reputed organization right after attaining a high school degree and start your career. The competitive job market, badly hit by the 2008 financial recession, has become more competitive than ever. More than 80% of the respondents agreed that it is almost impossible to find a decent job without a college degree. This shift in perception of the college degree indicates, it is not just for the elites anymore but a necessity for everyone to survive in this in today’s world.
Most students are in for the money
67% of the students agreed that they take college degree as an investment in their career. All they are looking at are the financial benefits they can get out of that degree or professional certification. And the fact is, a majority of the students who go back to school to pursue a higher education do end up making more money after they have earned a degree.
People do it for family
It was a surprise to find out that about one-third of the Americans get a college degree to make their family proud. They feel good sharing their academic achievements and stories of personal growth with their relatives and peers.
Better academic credentials lead to promotion
About 72% of the respondents said they get higher education hoping that it would help them with grow professionally. Most people, on completing their college degree, either get a sizable pay raise or a promotion.
Online classes make it easier to get access to education
The survey reveals that 43% of the Americans are attracted by online courses. Their major reason for continuing college education is the affordability and convenience online education offers. This form of learning gives them a chance to enhance their academic profile while being employed at a full-time position. These people mostly range between the age of 25 and 35.
With the help of online education technologies, higher education is not longer a dream for those who could not continue their studies due to lack of time or funds. It is often because of family responsibilities or financial constrains, or both, that people are unable to attend regular classes.
Virtual universities emerged as a solution to budget crises and time management issues. Despite the numerous opportunities it offers the global student population, it is faced with certain limitations which do not let the online education industry progress at a speed it should.
Here is a list of many advantages and limitations associated to the concept of online education:
- The main advantage of online learning is that the students do not have to attend classes physically. Instead of being physically present at the time of the lecture, students can download the lectures and notes on their computer.
- The distance learning format allows a dynamic interaction between students and instructor where learning recourses and ideas are continuously shared online generating a synergy.
- Higher quality of dialogues takes place between students and teachers as learners are given time to reflect on others’ responses and analyze them critically while contributing to the online discussion.
- Several creative and highly interactive teaching techniques have been used by various online institutes. The learning process has been made more effective with the use of visuals and multimedia.
- Computer literacy is the key when it comes to distance learning. Although it requires minimum level of computer skills, the online learner does need to know how to operate a computer.
- There are very few instructors who know how to use the distance learning platform effectively. If the teachers are not well-aware of online delivery techniques and methodologies, effective learning cannot take place.
- The curriculum for online education should be very carefully designed to ensure adequate transmission of information. Many universities fail to utilize the distance learning technologies properly which results in higher levels of student dissatisfaction.
MUST University is one of the few online universities are well-versed with the online training methods and guarantee 100% student satisfaction.
Colleges around the world are exploring the advantages of distance learning, yet there are a number of people who think it is an inferior form of learning. They have built several myths around the phenomenon of online learning, without actually making an effort to research and find out the facts about this educational medium.
Here are 5 of the most common misconception people have about the concept of distance learning:
Distance learning makes you emotionally distant from your classmates and teachers
It is unfortunate that the first word that describes this form of education is ‘distance’. Given the recent developments in the field of educational technologies, ‘distance’ is no longer a factor of concern. There are several online means that allow students to actively interact with each other such as online classrooms, student discussion forums, online chat, video conferencing, etc.
Top employers do not recognize online degrees
This may be true for online ‘degree mills’ or fake online universities, but degrees obtained from an accredited online institute have the same level of acceptance amongst the employers as traditional degrees. Some of the top multinational companies even encourage their employees to go for online short courses and certifications.
It’s not possible to transfer credits from an online universities
Traditional universities accept the credits transfer from virtual universities that are accredited by either one of the six regional accreditation bodies or International Accreditation Organization (IAO).
Online education is easier than on-campus education
Contrary to popular belief online education curriculum is no different from what you are taught at traditional universities. In fact, it familiarizes students with online education technologies, which is an added advantage of opting for distance learning.
E-learners do not get individual attention from their teachers
This is not true. Distance learners can connect with their course instructor in multiple ways. If they have any queries about the course, students can email their instructors, call them or can even schedule a one-on-one video conference.
Choosing as online college can sometimes be a challenge. There are a number of virtual colleges offering numerous online degree programs and certifications. Even if you know the type of programs you want to enroll in, it is not usually very easy to narrow down the list of options available online.
Here’s a list of guidelines that will help you choose the right online college for your desired programs:
Online University Accreditation
Accreditation of the online institute is the most important factor when choosing the online university for admission. If you enroll in an online college that is accredited by International Accreditation Organization (IAO), it will be easier for you to find a job or to get you credits transferred to another college. An online degree or certificate accredited by IAO is accepted by most employers and universities across the globe.
Online University Requirements
There are some online colleges and universities that offer distance learning programs which require the student to attend some on-campus classes as well. Make sure there are no such requirements of the online university you choose. Even if you do choose any such program, do take your proximity and work schedule in consideration before making this decision.
Online Testing System
Nearly all online universities require students to take an assessment on completing a course. Some of the virtual institutions allow students to take an open-book exam at their own place, while others may need students to a designated testing center for appearing in exams. When comparing online universities, do consider the examination factor and see which of the testing method would be more convenient for you.
It is important to check the classes schedule and get some information about the teaching methods when comparing online programs. There are certain colleges that practice real-time learning techniques and require students to meet strict deadlines for course completion and assignment submission. Others offer a self-paced study program where students can make their own work schedule as per their convenience.