7 Ways to Determine How Reliable an Online Degree Is

One question that may be going through your mind right now is How Reliable is an Online Degree? You may also be asking Are online colleges legit? What are the best online colleges? Are online colleges good? Are all online degrees good? Well, your doubt will be cleared after reading this article.

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You will get to find out the right answers to the following question: How Reliable an Online Degree Is, are online colleges legit, what are the best online colleges, are online colleges good, are online degrees good, all online college degrees.

As a future online student, it is not always easy to judge the quality of a course, especially given the wide variety of options available on the web. Open and distance-learning universities, conventional universities, as well as private educational institutions from all over the world, deliver a great variety of distance learning programs.

So, to make it easier for you to choose, check out below some details you should take into consideration before making a final choice.

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1. Accreditation of an Online Course

The main criteria when you choose an online course or distance learning degree is related to the formal accreditation of a course. Actually, in most countries, accreditation systems award certificates that are recognized by the public authorities.

In order to receive accreditation, universities and other institutions providing online courses must pass some strict quality assurance procedures. However, accreditation is a basic, but not a sufficient requirement to make a course appropriate for open and distance or online learning. In most cases, the accreditation is mainly based on the content and level of a course or program.

Other factors that support the accreditation of an online course or degree include contact with staff, student support, learning communities, access to libraries, etc.).

One simple check on the website of the university can tell you if the institution is certified by at least one of the international accrediting bodies. Some examples include:

  • ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education)
  • EURASHE (European Association of Institutions in Higher Education)
  • ENIC Network (European Network of National Information Centres on academic recognition and mobility)
  • EABHES (European Accreditation Board of Higher Education Schools)
  • CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation)
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2. Clear Application Requirements

When considering distance learning studies, you should adequately inform yourself about the course or program and about the entry requirements, as well as the requirements for the study. Get full information on deadlines, starting dates and study options for the requested study program.

Most common entry requirements are:

  • a completed Bachelor’s/Master’s degree (most times, should be relevant or equivalent for the degree you currently wish to apply to, but that is not always the case)
  • language requirements – such as provide proof of English proficiency, so check the accepted tests (IELTS, TOEFL, etc.)
  • GPA, computer skills
  • a portfolio of your work or projects
  • interview – this can be conducted via videoconference using a basic webcam
  • personal statement
  • work experience

I hope you get to find out the right answers to the following question: How Reliable an Online Degree Is, are online colleges legit, what are the best online colleges, are online colleges good, are online degrees good, all online college degrees.

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3. Quality of Provided Course Materials

A distance or online learning course is more than just a conventional course, transmitted into a digital format. As such, learning materials have to be adapted to the online environment.

A distance or online course should:

  • include clear learning outcomes to give you directions
  • course content should be well explained and structured
  • the program should provide information about examinations
  • deliver learning materials via the virtual learning environment, including interactive instruction, online labs and the opportunity for individual assessment.

Some universities offer free access to online course materials through specialized platforms. Such is the case of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology that provides students access to MIT OpenCourseWare and Edx.

Read Also: Top 20 Cheap Online Bachelor’s Degrees you Can Take.

4. Tests and exams in distance learning

Assessment methods should be appropriate to the program and topic. You should be informed about the conditions and outcomes of the assessment before and after completion. To ensure the security of assessments, distance learning providers make appropriate arrangements related to data protection and other privacy procedures.

One form of assessment is the interaction you will have with your peers and professor/instructor during online classes. Paradoxically, in distance learning, there is more interaction, as usually, students have more courage to ask questions in an online medium rather than in a traditional setting of a class. In addition, instructors have a clearer and more precise method to evaluate students’ understanding by checking their questions and level of interaction during classes.

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Self-assessment is another important component in distance learning, as you will have to learn to schedule and manage your time for studying. You might be able to take pre-tests at the beginning of the lesson and also re-take the test once the lesson is completed so they can assess their achievement. These are available in some online courses and they help students determine their current knowledge.

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5. Access to study materials

It is important that the online virtual learning environment and services are available and fully functioning 24 hours per day, seven days per week over the planned learning period. Users should be clearly informed about the level of personal equipment they require and technical support services available. For some online courses, you may have to access and thus download specific software or applications.

Preparatory materials for the acquisition of required learning skills should be available to students in advance.

Some universities may send you a part of the course materials by post or you may have to buy additional textbooks. At the beginning of the course, you should receive a study pack that contains: a student handbook, information on how to access the online library and the virtual learning environment, podcasts, audio lectures.

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6. Libraries, virtual learning environment, and communication tools

Sufficient library resources should be available to all e-learning students either online, through an effective system for distribution of physical materials, or other means.

Library resources are accessible out of normal office hours. Online libraries should include academic journals, professional databases, research papers, and e-books, carefully selected to meet your study requirements.

The institution is committed to enabling the establishment and proper functioning of communities of e-learning students via its virtual learning environment or other online communication tools.

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I hope you get to find out the right answers to the following question: How Reliable an Online Degree Is, are online colleges legit, what are the best online colleges, are online colleges good, are online degrees good, all online college degrees.

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7. Study Centers and Student Support

In case you don’t have access to an internet connection, most universities will help you out and coordinate you to a study center provided by one of their distance learning agents. Most times, universities can offer you the possibility to attend study centers within the campus of a local university.

You should be clearly informed about the locations of study centers, the facilities, and support which these offers, and the occasions during their program at which you will have to attend a study center.

I hope you get to find out the right answers to the following question: How Reliable an Online Degree Is, are online colleges legit, what are the best online colleges, are online colleges good, are online degrees good, all online college degrees.

It goes without saying that you should be able to contact staff from student support for any question related to the online course.

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