The online education industry has faced an uphill battle in its attempts to dethrone traditional programs from their reign on the higher education industry. Not only have traditional programs had centuries of experience to develop their reputations and stock of faculty members, they have also established themselves as proven ways for graduates to become employed upon graduation. According to an article entitled “Online Education May Transform Higher Ed,” however, the strides that online master’s programs have made in recent years will become a disruptive force in the higher education landscape.
One of the biggest niche markets that online master’s programs fill is the demand for non-traditional education processes that are deemed to be a one-size-fits-all model for students. Online programs offer students opportunities to learn curriculums by using online news articles, interactive tools, and social media outlets.
Another advantage of completing an online master’s education include improved access to respectable programs that were historically inaccessible due to high costs and static campus locations. Today, however, improvements in the quality of online courses are attracting millions of people to enroll and benefits from such improvements.
First, traditional Ivy-League programs are offering online courses that only cost several hundred dollars. This allows students to pick and choose between taking required classes on campus or online and work towards a respected master’s program on their own schedule and budget.
For students considering an online master’s degree but weary of the effectiveness of an online education, many major universities have been allowing students to audit (take courses without gaining course credit) lectures through webcasts and podcasts for free.
Realizing that many students are weary about the detriments of online master’s degrees to traditional programs, online colleges have developed several methods to increase interpersonal interactions in online courses. For example, many online courses now require students to post comments reflecting on each week’s assignment. Others encourage students to interact with others and the professors, using email and chat as mediums of communication.
Finally, online degrees do not impede students from achieving their other goals and keeping their other responsibilities. According to a USNews article, many Americans opt to go back to school beyond their teenage years. At that point in their lives, these prospective students have responsibilities to take care of, and cannot afford the luxury of attending a traditional master’s program. An online degree can be most beneficial to these individuals due to the convenience of their scheduling. Coupled with accreditation, a flexible online master’s degree can offer graduates with similar credentials of graduates from traditional programs.
As with all master’s programs, conducting research to find a program that best fits your educational aspirations is one of the most important aspects of developing a valuable education. Here are some tips you should follow to maximize your investment from an online program:
Given the gains that online master’s degree programs have made in recent years, it may be worth considering attending one of these programs. When finding a program, it will be important to maintain the same sets of standards students use when researching traditional programs. As we have covered, given the utility of Internet services today, it is possible to complete a valuable education and obtain a reputable online master’s degree.