Many of the best universities in the United States have developed competitive digital learning models and adapted their curricula to online education methods to offer students some of the best distance learning courses possible. The range of distance learning programs provided by universities around the world is very wide, making it difficult for you to choose the right distance learning university. To begin with, we want to give some basic tips to make the correct choice.
Choose accredited online programmes and universities
Distance learning programs are generally recognized by the national Ministry of Education or an accreditation agency, which examine whether the different subjects are combined and coordinated in a meaningful way, respecting the academic standards. So, you may simply check their website, to get valuable information about their accreditation. Only accredited and nationally recognised distance learning courses and universities lead to a certified degree and are accepted as such by your future employer.
Check the overall costs
The good news is that the tuition fees of distance learning programs are generally cheaper than those of traditional study programs. Of course, you need to remember any additional costs, such as teaching materials or travel and accommodation costs on campus. Alternatively, you might consider switching to a part-time job program. This will mean less income, so you should plan your finances carefully. You can always look for a university that offers financial help in the form of a discount or scholarship.
How flexible is the distance learning programme?
Flexibility is what you are looking for, if you chose to go for an online programme, compared to a degree taught on-site. However, this flexibility varies according to university and study programme. So ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the university have a fixed six-month program or can you attend classes more freely?
- How often does the university have on-site attendance and are those fixed or flexible?
Some distance learning universities offer different dates and locations for mandatory campus meetings, which ideally should match your work schedule, avoiding long and expensive travel times.
Check the quality of the study materials
In distance learning, the quality of the teaching material and the digital learning interface are really fundamental. A motivating environment, with interesting and well-made interactive contents (tasks, videos, quizzes, etc.) is of great support in the study. To stay in touch with classmates, there are social platforms and a virtual campus that allow you to work together. Free trial lessons are often offered. All of this can help you learn more about different learning environments and decide which one suits you best.
Compare support services
The quality of support and personal assistance is crucial because it often has an important impact on the success or failure of your studies. Therefore, pay attention to things like:
- Is it possible to organize flexible personal appointments?
- Is there personal support for the exercises or during exam preparation?
- Are the questions answered immediately?
All of these factors must adapt to your personal learning needs and preferences. For example, if you have a full-time job and are also studying a distance learning degree, it would be important that personal assistance is also offered in the evenings or on the weekends.