What to look out for when choosing your online degree
Online degrees provide a flexible alternative to classroom-based study, leading to highly respected qualifications, including both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. They open up the opportunity to study for people who might otherwise not be able to access university qualifications. With so many universities offering online degree courses, it can be hard to know how to select the best program.
Follow these tips to find the most suitable program for your needs:
Ranking and accreditation
Not only does a higher-ranking university offer you a better educational opportunity, it also helps you to stand out from the crowd when you apply for jobs. Choosing a university with a good reputation and accreditation will give you an advantage over candidates from less highly regarded schools. Employers will consider the caliber of the university you graduated from when they review your job application. When employers are familiar with the good reputation of a nursing college, they know they can rely on the quality of training, and it gives employers confidence when recruiting graduates from the college into nursing positions in their organization.
Baylor University’s online DNP leadership programs is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), so you can be assured of an excellent standard of teaching and content when you study this program. The DNP course helps to develop your business acumen and leadership skills, giving you the knowledge you need to move into areas such as developing transformative care models and implementing the latest healthcare technology. It is taught entirely online, and you can complete the doctoral project component in the area where you live. Baylor University, Texas, ranks in the top 10 nursing colleges.
Online degrees are available in a range of formats, including 100% online study and hybrid programs, which blend predominantly online study with some in-person learning and work placements. If on-campus elements are core to the program, it is essential that you are able to attend these, in order to achieve your qualification. Before signing up for an online degree, make sure that the in-person elements of the program are practical for you, particularly if the location is not close to where you live. If hybrid learning is not possible for you, it is not a problem, as there are plenty of courses offering 100% online study, such as the Doctor of Nursing Executive Nurse Leadership program from Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing Online.
The areas of study included in a course can vary from one university to another, so it is important to review the curriculum carefully for each program you are considering. If there are particular specializations you would like to study, make sure these are covered in the programs on your shortlist.
Quality of delivery
Online learning has evolved considerably over recent years. With online qualifications now commanding the same respect as programs delivered in class, and with the growing demand for online study and more competition between providers, the quality of online courses is continually being driven higher. Look out for courses that make use of the latest technology to bring you interactive and customized content, for more engaging learning. Passive learning cannot compete with active and interactive learning for the effectiveness of imparting knowledge. Some courses will give you the opportunity to try taster sessions, so you can see for yourself the style of online learning and course content provided in the program. It is important that you find the course materials engaging, as this will make it easier for you to stay motivated, even when the workload seems particularly challenging.
Look for a program where the tutors and course providers have a good breadth of experience. These tutors will be your guides and reference points, so the more experience they have, the better able they will be to support your learning and help you to expand your knowledge. Some tutors may also become long-term mentors.
An online degree course should give you access to the same quality of resources as you would expect if you were attending classes in person. Books and other educational materials should be accessible in digital format. You should also be able to make use of facilities such as careers advice and other student support services, as you would if you were on a campus-based program. For degrees where work placements form part of the program, make sure you can get the support you need from the university in finding a placement. Some schools will have specialist placement coordinators who are dedicated to arranging your work experience. This means you do not have to take up precious study time on administrative tasks to secure a placement as this will be arranged for you.
Online social forums are very helpful when you are studying remotely. They give you a chance to discuss your studies with fellow students and enable you to get to know them socially. Although you may not have the opportunity to mix with your fellow students in person, you can still expect the university to provide online alternatives to facilitate the kind of peer support you would experience if you were studying on campus. Peer support can help to keep you motivated through challenging parts of the program and will make the overall experience more enjoyable. You may find you stay in touch with, or even eventually end up working alongside some of your fellow students.
An online degree course also gives you an opportunity to build your network of mentors, which not only helps you to learn and develop skills during your studies, but may also be useful through your career in nursing.
Taking time to compare the details of the online degrees you are looking into will ensure that you decide on the course that is best suited to you and will help to advance your career in your chosen field.