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Educational Advising / Student Expectations

Decoding Accreditation and the Online College

If you are interested in online education, you probably already know that it is important to compare the components of different programs and look specifically for accreditation. While it seems that accreditation should be a clear-cut issue – a school is accredited or not –in reality, it’s a little more complicated. With so many accrediting […]


On Becoming a First-Generation Grad Student

Just as first-generation undergraduate students often struggle to figure out how the college system works, those who go on to grad school without a family mentor may face some basic challenges in learning the ropes. Add online delivery to the equation and the curve could get even steeper as you navigate the system at a […]


Culture of the Online College

With an increasing number of online learning options to choose from, how do you decide which program is right for you? There are essential components you should research to ensure academic quality and a fit with your goals and resources. Accreditation and affordability, for example, should be at the top of your checklist for comparing […]


Should You Get a Master’s Degree?

This question is a familiar one in online learning circles and recently caught my attention in a post by Marie-Pierre Renaud, (aka The Geek Anthropologist) in which she provides advice from a current student’s point of view. How do you decide if a graduate degree is right for you? How can you prepare yourself for […]


What Can You Expect of Your Online Instructor?

If you are considering enrollment in your first online course, you may wonder how it all works. The online learning environment presents a number of challenges to communication and content presentation, all addressed through the use of technology. Your instructors in these courses are charged with a number of tasks – both educational and technological […]


Don’t Call it a Course

As the popularity of online learning continues to increase, with more than 6.7 million students in higher education taking at least one online course in 2011, new opportunities are emerging everyday. Some are free to experience while others may involve tuition, registration, or assessment fees. And the offerings extend beyond colleges and universities to include […]


Did You Obtain That Degree Online?

While researching a previous post for job seekers, I used an online calculator to estimate how my salary compares with that of others who do what I do, in my local area. After entering information about my education, I was prompted to answer an unexpected question: “Did you obtain that degree online?” This definitely got […]


Critical Components of a Virtual College Campus

There’s a lot more to becoming an online student than navigating a virtual course site. Just as you might tour a traditional campus as a prospective student – to visit facilities, meet instructors and administrators, and just get a feel for the place – consider how you might accomplish this with an online school. If […]


Online Degrees: Transfer Credit and Time to Completion

Last week, a prospective student wrote to me asking about how to “earn a degree online as quickly as possible.” While I am not a proponent of program selection based solely on how long it will take to graduate, I do understand that there are situations in which program length can make a big difference. […]


Get Ready for Online Group Assignments

All students should expect to interact with their classmates and work together on collaborative assignments in their online courses. This was my response when a staff member, working in an ombudsman role to advocate for students, called me with student complaints. At the time, I was working as an instructional designer and responsible for updating […]