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Online College Research

At OnlineCollege.org we believe that we've only scratched the surface in understanding online learning and its potential for transforming society. Because of this, our staff is committed to advancing research and discussion about online education. As we continue to learn about trends in distance education, ways to succeed as an online learner, and best practices to make use of this new and exciting platform, we look forward to sharing our research with you. Please check back for additional white papers in the coming months.

Online Career Services: Supporting College Students On Campus and at a Distance

Students interested in online education have seen options expand over the past several years. Campus-based institutions are offering online courses and programs, online institutions are establishing on-ground student support centers, and blended learning models offer a combination of online and in person learning environments. The role of the career center, and its ability to meet the needs of students who are preparing for life and work after graduation, is more critical than ever. From online career counseling and live chat sessions to LinkedIn Groups and recorded webinars, career professionals are connecting with current students and alumni using a wide array of tools and formats. This new report provides an update to our 2011 white paper titled Career Services and Online Colleges: Providing Critical Support to Online Students. It is the result of an expanded survey and search for information focused on how college and university career centers are using technology and social media to meet the needs of online and on-campus students. Examples and descriptions of current practices are included, as well as advice for prospective students and career services professionals. (April 2014) Download in PDF Format

Social Media in Online Higher Education: Implementing Live Twitter Chat Discussion Sessions

Twitter, a web-based microblogging tool, can be used to facilitate synchronous and asynchronous communication, and is gaining popularity with educators in both K-12 and higher education settings. Live Twitter chats are an innovative solution to the challenges often associated with typical online class discussions and take place through participant use of a designated hashtag (#). This report presents current examples of Twitter use in higher education at the course level, as well as in the development of professional networks. Our recommendations for getting started with your own live chat are organized into three sets of tasks performed before, during, and after your first chat session. Advanced chat strategies to enhance the process are presented along with a list of tools to help manage the logistics and encourage participation. While this type of tool may not be right for every educator, or every discussion, it does provide an alternative that can be explored for use with online learners. Consider attending one of the chats for educators listed in this report and experimenting with live chat discussions in your course. (March 2012) Download in PDF Format

Career Services and Online Colleges: Providing Critical Support to Online Students

Career services are an important part of the support network that higher education institutions, both online and traditional, provide to their students. These students are increasingly involved in online coursework and focused on career goals when enrolling in academic programs. They can benefit from assistance in the development of career decision-making skills and preparation for succeeding in the current job market. This report found that the most popular services – resume assistance, job listings, job search assistance, and career counseling – are similar at both traditional and online institutions. Career centers also offer a variety of additional activities and are involved in innovation of online delivery that includes wider use of communication tools and development of web-based resources that integrate academic and career services. Prospective students are advised to inquire about career services as part of their research and comparison of online programs and career centers are encouraged to continue to leverage technology to meet student needs. (August 2011)Download in PDF Format


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