Online Universities – Shortening Your List

So you’ve spent some time considering the type of online university program you want to get into. Now what? Well, you may have created a list of prospective colleges to look into. You may have spoken to several academic advisors, teachers and students at the colleges you’re looking into. These can be very helpful steps, but now you just have a lot of data, how do you shorten your list now that you’ve done these things.

We’re gonna help you sift through that list so it doesn’t feel like one of those bad story problems that contain very little actually data needed to solve the problem. This process can be fun. It’s all about asking questions. You can create a chart to help you if you want. It’s similar to comparing cars. Just write the following words along the left side of a paper and list the online universities under consideration up top. Thumbs up or thumbs down, a check or an X, it doesn’t really matter use whatever you like to show that the institution or program either meets or fails to meet the standard posed by the question.

  • Program Match? Does this school/program help me move closer towards my learning goals? Don’t do a program just because it’s offered at a discount, make sure you know where you’re going and that it helps you reach that destination. If you don’t know this yet, you need to spend some more time studying the matter out.
  • Affordable? Can I afford the cost with aid? Some programs have financial aid available. Do your best not to rely exclusively or at all on loans. You don’t want it to be overwhelming to pay for or to pay back.
  • Doable? Can I reasonably add this to my plate and not go under? The work that’s required to complete a program is often no small feat. Make sure you’ve evaluated the real amount of work it takes to complete a class.
  • Meets Needs? Will this institution be able to give me the support that I need? If you have a learning disability, anticipate needing tutoring or additional help or don’t have access to a good library, you are going to want to make sure the online university you choose has these things taken into consideration.
  • Own Speed? Can I work around my schedule and work at my own pace? Granted, this may not be a deal breaker if getting into a program to move forward is the top priority, but it just may be in your situation. Keep it in mind.
  • Feels Good? When all is said and done, would I feel good about selecting this college? You are the one that has to wake each morning, look yourself in the mirror and live with the choices you make. Make sure that you feel good about the choice or you may second guess your decision later when it gets difficult.

You have a list, now make a chart and narrow down your choices. This can be exciting and I wish you the best in your selection.

3 Organizational Principles for Online University Classes

There are several key organizational principles for students of online college classes, heck, any kind of students for that matter, to remember if they want to have a worry free system for keeping track of their assignments, note taking and other files related to their classes. These are just a few ideas that I hope can excite your mind enough for you to then go and create a solution that works best for you in your school situation.

The first thing is to have a system for keeping all your files readily available and safe when you need them. Just having a system is better than no system at all. For example, you don’t want to wake up in the morning, late to turn in a class assignment and go looking for it on your hard drive only to remember that you left it on your friend’s computer that you worked from. Get a flash drive that you can stick on your keychain or in your backpack. Then make sure to bring it home when you’re doing your homework from whatever location you are in to a central place to store your files.

Secondly, in addition to knowing where your files are going to be, you’re going to want to have a backup system in case there is a computer failure of some sort. Granted, it would be wonderful if you installed an antivirus system like discussed in Online College Courses – Additional Software Needs and your computer never had a problem, but chances are that you will have one sooner or later, best be prepared. So, simply use a flash drive you don’t take with you everywhere. Keep it in your closet or somewhere you can quickly grab it and make a back up of all your school documents at least once a week, if not more. It’s easy to do this, just plug in the drive and open up a window for both the location where your main files are stored as well as the jump drive. You can click in the window where the main files are located, click “crtl+a” to select them all, “ctrl+c” to copy them – then click in the folder on the jump drive and click “crtl+p” to paste the files there. Remember, this is just a backup, so, don’t do your work from here. This drive is also separate from any drives that you are using to transport your files from location to location.

The third thing is to go beyond just having a location and having an organized location in which to keep your files. Below is a picture of a possible folder structure you might employ to keep your files well organized. You can see on the left that underneath the School folder I have a folder for the university I’m attending. I then have created a folder for each semester and then one for the online courses I’m taking. I’ve subdivided each class folder to keep documents such as the syllabus, semester calendar, etc in an Administrative folder, homework assignments in a Homework folder, documents such as articles, web resources, etc in a Documents folder and lastly a Notes folder to keep my class notes organized by date. You’ll see that I also added a little description about the lecture’s topic so I don’t have to look somewhere else to see what we talked about that day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, remember, have a system to help you know where your files are going to be, keep a backup so you know they’ll be safe & organize and name your files so you don’t waste time sorting through them. Do these as a start and the organization may just flow over into your actual thinking about your classes.

Diving Further into Hardware Requirements for Online Universities

In another article I shared with you the basics of hardware requirements for your included making sure the processor speed was sufficient and ensuring that you have enough temporary memory and local hard drive space. Today’s topic is less vital, as there is much room for flexibility, but there are still a few simple things a student will want to consider before diving into their online course.

Probably the most vital of the several pieces of hardware I will talk about today are the speakers and microphone. As most online college courses utilize audio and video media to teach their lessons, you’re gonna need some speakers or earphones that don’t crackle or pop or you may just snap trying to listen to your lessons because of the speakers. A simple set is not too difficult to find if your computer does not already have them. You can get some from a secondhand store for cheap. Even purchasing a new set is not too pricey.

In addition to the speakers instructors in some online classes will ask you to participate in conference calls over the Internet. Sometimes laptops have built-in microphones, but your best quality of communication is going to come through an inexpensive headset. If you’re spending over $20-$25 you’re most likely paying too much.

The next piece of hardware to consider if your classes are going to be live and interactive will be the WebCam. Many newer laptops have built-in WebCams but if you need to go out and purchase one just make sure you talk to a sales person to verify that the WebCam you’re considering is compatible with your computer’s operating system. The online university you are attending should also be able to give you suggestions on which WebCams are working for other students in which one may be right for you. An additional use for WebCam in online schools is to verify your identity when using a product or service for your tests.

Lastly, and most likely a no-brainer (but you never know), is to make sure that you have a monitor. I guess more important than a monitor is making sure that your screen’s resolution is up to par with your online class’ requirements. Screen resolution is measured in pixels. Pixels are little dots of color that combine to display images on your screen. The number of pixels from left to right and the number of pixels from top to bottom combine to give you your computer’s resolution. Most computers will be able to display a 1024 x 768 resolution just fine and this will be okay for just about any course. Your resolution settings will most likely only be an issue if you are taking graphic design or other visually oriented class that requires a very detailed display of images.

So to wrap up in addition to a good processor, RAM and hard drive double check that your monitor, speakers or headphones and microphone and WebCam meet your online college class requirements.

Top Online Universities in the U.S.

Twenty-five years ago an adult with a full-time job and family obligations found going back to college very difficult.  This is not the case in today’s technologically advanced society.  There are many top online universities that give students the opportunity to further their education in a manner that fits into even the busiest schedule.  Potential students have found that in some fields of study, online schools offer degrees as high as doctoral programs.  Below is a look at the current top online universities in the U.S.

University of Pheonix

The University of Pheonix was originally founded in 1978.  When online education first became possible, the University of Pheonix was one of the first schools to offer these programs to working adults.  The entire concept of the University of Pheonix was designed to meet the needs of working students.  Online programs fit perfectly into the model the school had already established.  Students can start out receiving an associate degree and work all the way up to doctoral programs online.  There are many fields of study available; such as criminal justice, education, and nursing.

Ashford University

Ashford University is a top online university with regional accreditation and high graduation rates.  Students can work towards a bachelor or master degree while attending Ashford.  There is a wide selection of majors for the bachelor program.  Although there are fewer options available for the online graduate studies, there is a varied enough selection to meet the needs of many students.  Ashford University offers programs such as Bachelor of Arts in History, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, and more.  Students find that the online portal used for entering the classrooms makes earning a degree convenient by fitting into busy schedules.

Capella University

A top online university with an extensive selection of available programs is Capella University.  Capella offers potential students 122 specialties to choose from.   Capella University participates in the Federal Pell Grant Program and the Federal Stafford Loan Program to help students get funding for their education.  Since paying for college is often a large concern for many potential students, the financial aid department of the university helps students through the funding process.  The affordable tuition and the flexible schedule for class helps students achieve a degree in education, human services, psychology, business, or information technology.  Capella University has a long history of helping students complete their degrees in order to further their career goals.

Kaplan University

Of the many top online universities, very few of them offer law degrees through their online programs.  Typically, online programs will offer criminal justice or paralegal studies, but not degrees which help students become lawyers.  Kaplan University is one of the few schools which offer this to students.  This is however only one of the programs the school offers.  Students can receive a certificate, associate, bachelor, master, or doctoral degree through Kaplan University online.  Using the schools provided software students can interact with instructors and classmates to ensure they receive a high quality education.

For busy adults wishing to further their education, online universities are an excellent option.  There are many schools to choose from.  The schools previously discussed are among the top online universities.  With a commitment to education and a desire to help those with busy schedules, these schools are an excellent choice for anyone looking into an online degree.  In the technologically advanced world we all live in today, students can complete a degree even with full-time jobs or family obligations.