Today’s technology is a field that is changing by leaps and bounds and many online programs are looking to capitalize on its use to reach students across the country, and in some cases, the whole world.
While email, intranet, and online portals are standard virtual tools that each school may use, students participating in online classes can learn at their convenience and their own pace providing an online experience that is flexible, one that anyone can use!
It is safe to say that most reputable online distance learning degree programs are very tech-savvy. After all, they do rely on modern technology to provide you with a degree program that is easily accessible and provides you the proper skills. Being tech-savvy is a must!
Use the Jump-To links to explore this article:
- What does “tech-savvy” even mean?
- Why is it important that my online school is tech-savvy?
- How will I receive my coursework? What are the different types of Learning Management Systems?
- Should I enroll in Synchronous or Asynchronous classes? What is the Hybrid format?
- What other valuable resources are available from a tech-savvy school?
- What if I have technical difficulties?
- I’m new to online learning… and using a computer. Can I do it?
- What type of equipment do I need to be tech-savvy?
- Can I use my favorite brand of computer or operating system?
- What sort of “tech-savvy” qualities should I look for in an online program? And, why are they important?
- What’s the future of online learning?
- Looking for a tech-savvy online school? See our list of the 30 Most Technologically Savvy Online Schools in 2020
- Tech Bites for Thought
What does “tech-savvy” mean?
“Tech-savvy” is a term used to describe our world today. It relates to the technologically advanced equipment we use on a daily basis, especially computers.
Now, you must admit, that nowadays technology-driven components are in most everything we own. Besides computers, we have Smartphones, televisions, and even kitchen appliances that all require a technology-minded soul to operate them.
This won’t apply to young adults of today; however, for those of us who never learned how to use a VCR or set the time clock on the microwave, the technology used in our everyday life now can certainly be a challenge.
Why is it important that my online school is tech-savvy?
So, it seems as if you are not tech-savvy in this particular place and time, you may get left behind. And, if you would like to continue your education, whether you are a recent high school student or a working professional planning on changing careers, you need to get with the program, right?
Online schools today provide an easier option for those with busy schedules. More than ever, now is the time to locate online courses that provide the most efficient way of program delivery through technology.
What makes a school tech-savvy? Simply put, they must offer the most innovative and up-to-date technology available on the market today.
How will I receive my coursework? What are the different types of Learning Management Systems?
The idea of “online distance learning” has become a big business. And as with everything else, everyone wants a piece of the pie; therefore, online schools use “Learning Management Systems” to help them manage their distance learning programs.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of your online learning experience is your school’s Learning Management System, or LMS. As they provide an intricate component to your program… some of the “miscellaneous fees” you may incur will go towards your LMS program that the school has selected to use.
According to Softwaretestinghelp.com, the top 10 Learning Management Systems for 2020 include:
A quality LMS will make it easy for the student, as well as the instructor to properly receive assignments, do them, and return them back for review.
Your tech-savvy school will select a learning management system that will reflect – in the best possible way- the technique they would like to use to accommodate your needs in an online degree program. Depending on the subject matter, your LMS program should be efficient, usable, and compatible with your equipment.
A learning management system will allow you to communicate with your professors, give you access to resources, and will allow entry to your courses from anywhere and at any time, night or day. The faculty will be able to track your progress, answer your questions, and most importantly, help you succeed!
Web Conferencing, another online learning tool, will also be used and may include companies such as Zoom, or another trusted alternative, so professors and students can interact face-to-face or use other live streaming software that allows students to watch virtual lectures in real time.
Should I enroll in Synchronous or Asynchronous classes? What is the Hybrid format?
Whether you prefer to learn in real time or prefer to learn independently, there is probably an online program out there that fits your needs and your preferred style of learning. Carefully research each school you are considering and weigh your options as to whether their technology offerings would enhance your learning experience.
Along with your school’s technical qualifications, you may be faced with another important decision when choosing an online program. Depending on your degree choice, your courses may be offered through one or more of these three selections:
- Synchronous – Through this format you will be required to attend your classes online at a specific time of day. Often this is an extension of the on-campus version in which you are there virtually as the class is taking place in real-time.
- Asynchronous – Through this format you have much flexibility. You may attend your classes any time and from anywhere you have internet access. This is the best option for those who need to maintain a full-time job, or have family responsibilities, such as providing childcare or caring for an elderly parent.
- Hybrid – For this format, you will want to live close to the school in which you are taking online coursework. The reason is because through a hybrid degree program, you will be allowed to complete most of your coursework via online; however, there will also be some components that will require on-campus attendance. This is not uncommon for programs that require hands-on clinical or lab requirements.
What other valuable resources are available from a tech-savvy school?
Many schools may offer an online listing of resources for students to choose from, while others provide eTutoring. Some schools may develop customized social media channels where online students can interact with each other and their teachers.
Most schools have also moved to include most of their library’s materials through their online portals so that students can access journal articles and complete research for papers and projects.
What if I have technical difficulties?
Since online learners can run into snags when logging on to watch a lecture or virtually turn in an assignment, many institutions offer around-the-clock IT support to troubleshoot and fix any issues.
So, no more delays or lost time, as you will conveniently have access to help twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week if you run into a technical problem.
I’m new to online learning… and using a computer. Can I do it?
We have discussed the impressive technological advances that online distance learning programs have come to offer; however, it begs another question. Are you tech-savvy yourself? One of the essential aspects of successful online learning is familiarity with your own computer’s operations, proficient in a word software program, and how to solve fundamental computer problems.
You will need to know how to properly use other computer components, as well, such as a web camera, microphone, and headphones. In addition, you will need to know how to participate in discussion boards, send e-mails and submit your assignments promptly.
Honestly, as you know, technological computer advancements are implemented daily. If you have not worked on a computer in a while, chances are, you are behind in the latest and greatest in computer technology. Before enrolling in an online distance learning program, you should consider taking a hands-on computer class offered at a local college or community center. This type of program will help you excel in your online studies.
Here are a few other tips for you, too:
- Think positively – You can do it! If you have a good attitude and a desire to learn, you’re halfway there!
- Practice makes perfect – Just dive in. The best way to learn is by doing.
- Don’t be scared – Facing your fears is often hard; however, with some experiential training, you will get the hang of it in no time.
- Ask for help – Don’t be embarrassed. Everyone must start somewhere. Then pass it on… Share your knowledge with others.
- Google and Youtube – will become your best friends! There are so many websites and videos to help you navigate in a pinch!
What type of equipment do I need to be tech-savvy?
You will need to examine what type of technology you prefer using. Many schools may offer apps or technology optimized for several kinds of devices, which means you can learn from anywhere and on the go.
Before signing on to an online degree program, check your school’s website. Most often, they will tell you what your program will require as far as technical equipment you will need.
In addition, we have also updated our list for the computer requirements that you may need in 2020, generally speaking. Check it out: What computer requirements are needed to take online classes in 2020?
Can I use my favorite brand of computer or operating system?
Most likely, yes! But, it is always a good idea to double-check if this is important to you. As many students already have computers and the necessary equipment at home, it makes sense to use it if you can. Cutting your start-up cost is a great idea!
What sort of “tech-savvy” qualities should I look for in an online program? And, why are they important?
When searching for a tech-savvy program, there are definitely a few “must-haves” to check out. All distance learning education programs are not created equal. Although many online programs adhere to the requirements put forth by reputable accrediting agencies, you should inquire about its technology requirements and practices before signing on, because once you’ve paid tuition costs… it’s too late.
Here are a few suggestions to look for:
- Must combine classroom learning with technological online delivery methods,
- Must have faculty that is dedicated to staying properly trained and updated on innovative practices and technology,
- Must be able to access coursework easily,
- Must have clear virtual webinar access,
- Must have online resource availability,
- Must be compatible with a wide array of operating systems,
- Must be able to communicate effectively with faculty and fellow students through emails or message board discussions,
- Must be able to track your progress,
- Must have access to a Technical Support Help desk 24/7.
Online schools that are tech-savvy offer you the best in education. They offer innovative degree programs, they provide faculty that are also well-versed in technology and provide you with the skills that you will need tomorrow and in the future.
What’s the future of online learning?
Without a doubt, now more than ever (due to the pandemic and a lot of other reasons… you choose), online distance learning is convenient, allows for flexibility, and is just as credible as any other college diploma. The traditional brick and mortar college experience is not always best for your schedule, your personality, or your budget. Online learning… it’s here to stay!
And, by the way, in case you are wondering… Employers now widely accept diplomas earned by the online graduate. In fact, they may not even know unless you tell them, for online schools typically do not put the word “online” on the diploma.
Looking for a tech savvy online school?
If attending a technologically savvy online school is important to you, check out our profile featuring The 30 Most Technologically Savvy Online Schools to see how these schools stand out from the crowd.
Tech Bites for Thought
“Technology is best when it brings people together.” -Matt Mullenweg, Social Media Entrepreneur
“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” -Stewart Brand, Writer
“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” -Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft.