graduate degree http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12908/all en-US Is Taking Classes Online Right for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-taking-classes-online-right-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-taking-classes-online-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/studying_outside.jpg" alt="Woman studying outside" title="Woman studying outside" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re looking to start a degree, finish one, continue your education, get some new certifications, or just expand your horizons, there&rsquo;s probably an online study program out there that would give you what you want.</p> <p>While many students find these programs a boon to their education, the truth is that there are both benefits and drawbacks to studying online. As someone with experience teaching college courses online, I know that they work well for some students and situations and don&rsquo;t work well at all for others. If you&rsquo;re considering taking the next steps in your education online, think about these factors before you jump in. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-as-an-online-student">How to Succeed as an Online Student</a>)</p> <h2>The Benefits of Online Classes</h2> <p>Though some of the benefits of taking online classes are obvious, others may not be as clear. Keep in mind that all of these will not pertain to every situation, but they should help you see how studying over the web could benefit you.</p> <h4>Take Classes You Wouldn&rsquo;t Otherwise Have Access To</h4> <p>Are your interests obscure, or would you like to get a degree in something that&rsquo;s only offered in a few places around the world? If you choose an online study option, you won&rsquo;t have to relocate to get the knowledge and certifications that you want. Since moving around isn&rsquo;t an option for some people and isn&rsquo;t desirable for others, online classes can mean the difference between getting a university education and not having that opportunity.</p> <h4>Get the Education You&rsquo;ve Always Wanted</h4> <p>Whether you started a degree but couldn&rsquo;t finish it or you never got going, online classes offer you the chance to get your degree right where you are. Since all you&rsquo;ll need is a reliable computer and an Internet connection, you won&rsquo;t have to move around or spend too much money to get up and running. In addition, there are all sorts of online study options out there. Some programs, for instance, specialize in helping people finish degrees already started. Others work with those who have not started and try to get them through as quickly as possible.</p> <h4>Work on Your Schedule</h4> <p>One of the best things about studying online is that you don&rsquo;t have to change your schedule to accommodate a class schedule. Instead, you can work whenever it&rsquo;s convenient for you. This makes online classes a great option for people with inflexible work schedules, or for those who care for small children and don&rsquo;t have a good childcare option. In addition, if you know <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-your-best-work-hours">your best thinking hours</a> are at night, you can make sure those are the hours when you do your classwork.</p> <h4>Work at Your Own Pace</h4> <p>Similarly, most online classes allow you to work at your own pace, at least within some broad parameters. Usually, you&rsquo;ll have to complete your classwork within a semester or a year, but when you turn assignments in and take your tests and quizzes is entirely up to you. Sometimes you&rsquo;ll have more of a schedule than that, but for the most part you&rsquo;ll get to choose your own deadlines and due dates. This means you don&rsquo;t have to worry if something comes up and you can&rsquo;t get that paper written. It also means you can complete a whole course in a couple of weeks if you&rsquo;re especially focused.</p> <h2>The Drawbacks of Online Classes</h2> <p>Most people, especially when excited about a new online course of study, don't realize some of the drawbacks until they're signed up and in the middle of a course. While these shouldn't deter everyone from taking online classes, thinking them through should help you decide if this method of study is right for you and your situation.</p> <h4>Course Quality Varies Drastically</h4> <p>While most online courses hit at least a minimum standard (because they&rsquo;re offered by accredited institutions), the quality of an individual course often depends largely on the professor. If you have a prof who enjoys teaching the subject matter and who is comfortable and experienced working online, you can have a great experience. If, on the other hand, you get someone who is just doing it for the money or because teaching online is supposed to be easier than teaching in the classroom, you could be in for a struggle.</p> <h4>Getting Feedback Can Be Difficult</h4> <p>Though most online professors are supposed to be accessible by email or through the course delivery system, actually getting someone to answer your questions can be difficult and take longer than it might for a class in the traditional format. If you save an assignment until the very end and then don&rsquo;t understand how to complete it, you might not be able to finish on time. And if you end up with a big question or very confused about an important concept, explaining it online may be nearly impossible.</p> <h4>A Lot Depends on You</h4> <p>Are you a self-motivated person who gets things done without being nagged, or do you tend to forget deadlines on things like bills and other paperwork? If you struggle to complete what you start or to finish things on time, think twice about taking an online course. These are real classes, after all, and your grades will show up on your transcript. Since you may need to submit this for further educational opportunities or to qualify for certain jobs, you&rsquo;ll want to be sure it shows you at your best.</p> <h4>It Can Get Expensive</h4> <p>For some reason, most people think that online classes are going to cost less than traditional studies. While some schools will offer a small discount for these courses, others actually charge more. After all, someone has to reimburse the professor for rewriting the course for an online format. Besides, schools need all the money they can get these days, and they know that many of the people taking courses online are doing so simply because they don&rsquo;t have other options. When you&rsquo;re backed into a corner, you&rsquo;ll pay more to get out of it.</p> <h2>Finding Online Programs</h2> <p>If you've sifted through the benefits and drawbacks and decided that studying online is right for you, the next thing you need to do is find a program to pursue. When you're looking for an online course of study, you first need to decide what type of course you want. Are you looking for an undergraduate or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-a-masters-degree-can-boost-your-career">graduate degree</a>, to finish an incomplete degree, or for a quick certification in something new? The following sites can help you find the programs you want and need.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2010/03/26/online-certificate-programs-offer-a-fast-track-to-a-new-career">U.S. News: Online Certificate (Non-Degree) Programs</a> &mdash; An overview of how an online certificate could help advance your career as well as links to schools that offer these programs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.college-scholarships.com/ssac.htm">CollegeScholarships.com: List of Accredited Universities Offering Online Degrees</a> &mdash; This is a long list of colleges across the U.S. that offer both online degrees and degree-completion programs. If you're looking to complete a degree, run a &quot;Find&quot; search in your web browser for the words &quot;degree completion,&quot; so you don't have to read all the entries.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://onlinesapiens.com/">OnlineSapiens.com: List of Online Degree Programs by Major</a> &mdash; If you know what you want to study, this can be a great way to go straight to those programs without having to sift through everything else. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive, but can be a great place to start.</li> </ul> <p>Once you've found some programs you're interested in, try to talk to representatives of the university, as well as to a current student or two. That way, you'll be able to get a better feel for the programs and what they're really like. Then, make your final choice based on all of the information before you.</p> <p>When you've done that, work hard and reap the benefits of a quality education.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-taking-classes-online-right-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/download-a-yale-lecture-more-universities-offer-courses-to-the-public">Download A Yale Lecture: More Universities Offer Courses To The Public</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-online-classes">7 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Online Classes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-a-legit-business-education-online">3 Ways to Get a Legit Business Education Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/continue-your-education-online">Continue Your Education...Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-a-masters-degree-can-boost-your-career">3 Ways a Master&#039;s Degree Can Boost Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training graduate degree online classes studying online Thu, 03 Nov 2011 09:48:16 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 765291 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways a Master's Degree Can Boost Your Career http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-a-masters-degree-can-boost-your-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-a-masters-degree-can-boost-your-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/486123189_e6f1db2295_z.jpg" alt="graduating group" title="graduating group" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever considered going back to school for a masters degree to get ahead in your job? Let me guess: You&rsquo;ve never made it past the consideration stage because it&rsquo;s a lot of work and can be pretty expensive? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-pay-less-money-for-a-college-degree">6 Ways to Pay Less For A College Degree</a>)</p> <p>The prospect of spending all that time and money leaves most of us wondering if we'll get our money's worth out of a master's degree, asking questions like &quot;<a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/is-an-mba-worth-the-money/">is an MBA worth it</a>?&quot; While hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars does seem like an awful lot to invest in knowledge, what I&rsquo;ve found is that the information you absorb is only a portion of the benefit.</p> <p>The technical knowledge you learn about your trade can make you better at the work you do, but the people you meet and the perspective you gain can really help propel your career forward.&nbsp;Here are three things I noticed as I earned my degree that didn&rsquo;t show up on the diploma, but can make a big difference in career advancement.</p> <h3>1. Industry Connections</h3> <p>There are some great networking opportunities available when you&rsquo;re regularly in close contact with 10 to 20&nbsp;professionals in your field. The relationships you form during the course of your classes can yield benefits for years down the road.</p> <p>The most obvious benefit is&nbsp;a list of contacts if you ever need a job or are looking to hire good people. For example, two people I met in my classes were mid-level managers with a different company. They weren&rsquo;t doing the hiring when I applied to that company years later, but I was able to use them as references and got the job.</p> <p>For those in an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-taking-classes-online-right-for-you">online degree program</a>, don&rsquo;t think that you&rsquo;re missing out on all the networking opportunities.&nbsp; I was introduced to another software engineer virtually through one of my online courses who has helped me out several times throughout the years. It may take longer to build relationships online, but when you work closely together in a few classes, you get to know people &mdash; whether it&rsquo;s in person or virtually.</p> <h3>2. Experienced Mentors</h3> <p>One of the things to consider when you <a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/choose-an-mba-program/">choose an MBA program</a> or other master's degree is the background and experience of the instructors. One of the things I really liked about my program is that they followed a practitioner-based approach. This meant all the teachers were still working in the field and only taught part-time.</p> <p>Some of them were entrepreneurs and owned their own companies. One was a CEO of a medium-sized business and several were executives at major companies. For example, many of my project management courses were taught by the head of the Project Management Office at a Fortune 500 corporation. I also had the Chief Security Officer of the same company teaching me courses on information security.</p> <p>The real world experience they shared with us was extremely helpful, but even if your instructors are no longer actively involved in your industry, they&rsquo;re still likely full of tricks of the trade. Your teachers probably enjoy helping develop upcoming professionals, otherwise they wouldn&rsquo;t be there teaching in the first place. They&rsquo;re perfectly suited to help mentor you and give you guidance in your industry. Having access to experienced professionals like that can give you a definite advantage over your peers at work.</p> <h3>3. Expanded Job Opportunities</h3> <p>When I told my boss that I might be enrolling in an online master's degree in information systems, he asked if there was anything he could do to help me get real-world application out of what I was learning.</p> <p>I didn&rsquo;t realize it at the time, but it turned out that his offer was good for me from a career perspective. Every class at the master's level had some type of big project associated with it ,and I always tried to work through the class project steps using a real-world project from my job.</p> <p>Since the projects were &ldquo;extracurricular,&rdquo; I wasn&rsquo;t tied down to the standard types of work I did in my day-to-day position. Not only did I learn about parts of the business that I wasn&rsquo;t normally exposed to, I was also able to help my boss and his manager address issues they&rsquo;d always had on a wish list but never had time to work on.</p> <p>These projects put me in contact with higher-level managers in the company and also helped me stand out in my annual reviews &mdash; both of which were good for my career.</p> <p>So when you see the price tag of a graduate degree, keep in mind the potential benefits in addition to the technical knowledge you&rsquo;ll gain. Be sure to think about things like industry connections, potential mentors, and expanded job opportunities when you&rsquo;re evaluating graduate programs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ben-edwards">Ben Edwards</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-a-masters-degree-can-boost-your-career">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-a-legit-business-education-online">3 Ways to Get a Legit Business Education Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-taking-classes-online-right-for-you">Is Taking Classes Online Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-certifications-that-add-big-to-your-salary">7 Certifications That Add Big $$ to Your Salary</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now">The 8 Best Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Right NOW</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-freebies-for-college-students">20+ Freebies for College Students</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training graduate degree masters degree MBA Thu, 13 Jan 2011 14:00:09 +0000 Ben Edwards 428101 at http://www.wisebread.com