How to Evaluate an Online Program

Evaluating an Online Program -- 5 Important Questions

1) How is the Course Presented?

There are many ways that an instructor can lecture: online as text, with accompanying slides, with or without student interaction, video or audio, etc. Since content is more easily understood if it's presented in a dynamic and engaging manner that involves an interaction between the students, the instructor, and the material, you should make sure that your online school utilizes multiple methods for conveying information. Also look into whether or not exams are given and how assignments are turned in; the format of the course can be just as important as the content.

2) How Do Students Interact with Each Other?

Some standard options for online student interaction include chat rooms, instant messaging, teleconferencing, and video conferencing. Finding a program that facilitates, and even requires, student interaction is an important aspect of choosing an online program. How the online community functions should be very important to both the instructor and the institution.

3) Are the Instructors Qualified?

Ask about the credentials and the degrees the instructors hold and find out the extent of their knowledge about online learning and its differences from classroom learning. Is there technical support available if you or your instructor in the event you encounter problems? Remember that both of you must be able to easily adapt to changing technology.

4) How Are Students Evaluated?

You will be required to actually do work in order to earn your degree. If students aren't evaluated appropriately and degrees are handed out with little or no verification that the students have actually learned anything, the program is not likely worthwhile and even less likely to be accepted by employers.

5) What Kind of Library Facilities Are Available?

Ensure that the school you are interested in has a good system for providing reference materials and texts-they should be accessible from anywhere. The school's online references should be up-to-date and available at any time.

Source: howstuffworks.com

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