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. Typical online learning platforms can include Blackboard Collaborative, Canvas, WebEx, and BlueJeans, to name a few.
Online learning will include using Skype, 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. 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. And 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.
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. Also, examine what type of technology you prefer using. Are you more of an iOS or Android person? Many schools may offer apps or technology optimized for one or two kinds of devices, which means you can learn from anywhere and on the go.
Here, 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, such as a web camera, microphone, and headphones, as well as, 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.
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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.