Online education has been around since the ‘80s when American households started having access to the internet. It started as an alternative for adult learners, who are multitasking with schoolwork and either part-time employment or parenthood.
Fast forward to about twenty years later, this modality has further evolved to include Learning Management Systems (LMS) to house its curricula, lesson materials and syllabus, feedback and question boards, student submissions, exams, grades, and other resources for both the faculty and students. Think Blackboard, Canvas or Moodle. It has everything both a teacher and a student would need to replicate and virtualize the classroom experience.
By the new millennium, many universities and colleges not only offer online subjects but complete higher education programs (associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate) that can be purely taken and completed online.
The University of Phoenix would be one of the trailblazers in the game, offering an all-online curriculum for different levels of higher education – undergrad and graduate. Other universities, both elite and other for-profits, would eventually follow suit, all to reach adult learners or those who place a high premium on flexibility and control.
Online learning has become mainstream. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) uncovers that almost 7 million students are enrolled in a form of distance education as of fall 2018. Of that number, 3 million are entirely enrolled in an online program. What started as a targeted offering for returning students has become a viable option for ALL students. The social distancing restrictions still in place today because of the current pandemic—not to mention the closure of several brick-and-mortar institutions—leaves students with the option to complete their studies online and remotely.
What’s in this guide? Check out these quick links for easy navigation!
- What is an Online Bachelor’s Degree?
- Who Is This Guide For?
- The Appeal of Online Bachelor’s Programs Over Traditional Programs
- Is a Bachelor’s Degree Still Worth It in These Times?
- What Would I Need to Start My Online College Journey?
- Choosing an Online Program – What to Look For
- How do I apply? What are the scholastic requirements (SAT, GED, etc.)?
- What Financial Aids are Available to Me?
- How Long Will It Take Me to Complete an Online Bachelor’s Program?
- Will My Credentials Be Honored and Accepted by Employers? Why Does Accreditation Matter?
- Wrapping It Up – Strategies to Maximize and Succeed in an Online Bachelor’s Program
What is an Online Bachelor’s Degree?
Simply put, an online bachelor’s degree is a bachelor’s or undergraduate program that is taken through the internet. Online education through a school’s learning management system is a vital part of this modality. Let’s deep dive a little on that concept.
First things first – let’s define what online education is. Online education is commonly used synonymously with other terms like e-learning, distance learning, and up until recently, remote learning. In a journal article published by ScienceDirect, of these terms, distance learning is primarily considered by many as the central term. Distance Learning is any type of instruction that is held either synchronously or asynchronously with the instructor and participants located at different venues. It makes use of various instructional media like video, audio, presentations, etc.
Meanwhile, online education is when a course or courses are being taken through the internet. It makes use of recorded lectures, videoconferencing, video presentations and simulations, audio transcripts, podcasts, and modules. Students have total control over the pace, accessibility, and level of mastery of the lessons, meaning, if necessary, students can repeat the lesson sequences for better comprehension and understanding.
Online education leverages technology to deliver engaging visualizations and instantaneous feedback, both from professors and peers. For consistency purposes, the term online learning will be used synonymously with the terms of distance learning and remote learning here. The terms traditional degrees or traditional learning will be used here to denote brick-and-mortar or in-campus/on-campus bachelor’s degrees.
So how do bachelor’s degrees fit in this online setup? Basically, with an online bachelor’s program, the activities are similar to any form of online learning. The classes, discussions, and coursework submissions are done virtually, feedback and grades are also delivered virtually.
Your completion of the course, while earned and delivered virtually, will be and should be honored by hiring managers and employers, as long as the online program is accredited. The stigma that online degrees previously had is no longer applicable, as traditional institutions are quick to adopt a purely online curriculum either for the time being while the outbreak is still upon us or for good.
Who Is This Guide For?
This guide is for all incoming freshmen faced with the daunting change from traditional learning to online learning; they may or may not have enrolled in an online program before, and this guide will lay out all the pros and cons and what to expect with this type of learning. This is also for students seeking their way back to school, whose only option is to enroll in a flexible program such as those offered online. These adult students might be overwhelmed or taken aback by the different ways an online bachelor’s is structured.
This guide is also for the parents of new undergrads, who are wondering if their children can finance their college education – even if it’s online – with an aid or a scholarship. They might also be wondering if online education is going to cost less than a traditional one, which is a warranted concern for both parents and students. This guide is also for transfer students who are shifting to online education for many reasons, but with one main concern in mind – can online courses be credited towards the completion of a degree?
The Appeal of Online Bachelor’s Programs Over Traditional Programs
FLEXIBILITY AND CONTROL
We cannot stress this enough. Online programs can be taken anytime, anywhere. This is especially appealing to part-time employees or parents who are also college returnees juggling work or parental life and an undergraduate degree at the same time. If you’re an international student, this is also a plus since you don’t have to apply for a student visa, relocate and spend a fortune to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Do you have a spotty connection at home? Most of the materials used for online programs are downloadable. Video lectures also come in purely audio formats, thus reducing the file size. Download what you need at a coffee shop or wherever there’s a good connection, then play and study them at home. Not only is this a convenient method for learning, but it’s also proven to be more effective than structured learning.
According to edX founder and president Anant Agarwal, this promotes active learning and continuous student engagement and retention. It is an approach adopted by MOOCs where, instead of being conducted in hour-long lectures, the lessons are divided into sequences of 5 to 10 minutes. These are followed by interactive exercises that test the understanding of the students while keeping them engaged with the session.
COMPETENCY-BASED LEARNING AND ACHIEVEMENT
The traditional route had students pursue a prescribed set of both essential and elective courses, producing graduates who are competent in a general way but a master of none, so to speak, unless they go through grad school. On the other hand, with the varying skillset demands of the job market today, competency-based education (CBE) is becoming mainstream, thanks to MOOCs.
With online learning, a student can persevere in learning a skill or a concept until he or she fully grasps it. Online learning resources allow students to have an infinite number of attempts to retake exercises or activities until competency – and eventual mastery – is achieved. This, however, is a matter of preference. Some still prefer the structure and objectives of a traditional curriculum, while some are more responsive to competency-based education (CBE).
By leveraging technology, students can seek immediate feedback from faculty and peers. Questions and other insights can be raised through videoconferencing, email, message boards, forums, and even messaging apps. Through technology, verbal, written, or even demonstrative (demonstrating the correct solution or answer through screen recordings), feedback can be coursed through in a timely and consistent manner, which has been proven to be effective, especially in an online learning setting.
MORE COST-EFFECTIVE THAN TRADITIONAL PROGRAMS
Whatever you’re paying for room and board and other miscellaneous fees with traditional programs, you obviously won’t have to pay the same with an online program. For example, at Ohio State University (OSU), its two online bachelor offerings – BS in Dental Hygiene and BS in Health Sciences – total to approximately $20,000 for full-time, in-state students. Add a thousand dollars to that for out-of-state students. Its traditional undergraduate offerings cost around $33,000 for full-time first-year students and transferees. If you’re an international student, add $3,000 more. These figures don’t include the $13,000-bill for room and board at OSU.
Don’t’ be surprised though, as you might see some schools with more expensive online programs than its traditional counterparts. The fee amount is attributed to the high cost of designing courses and curricula, uploading and maintaining content on online platforms, and rolling it out to the public through marketing. Whatever extra amount you’d need to pay, you can offset this in the long run as other expenses incurred in traditional programs (room and board, parking, commuting budget, miscellaneous fees) will not appear in your bill for online programs.
Online programs also share some similarities with traditional programs, which should make the transition from the old to the new way of learning more manageable for students. It also demystifies several notions that cloud the effectiveness and practicality of online education:
Contrary to the popular counterargument for online education, taking online classes is not a solo endeavor. Sure, you may be alone in your room while you’re taking the class, but videoconferencing replicates the classroom experience set in a virtual environment. It is not true that social interactions cease to exist in remote learning. If anything, technological aids like video apps, messaging apps, message boards or forums, and the like foster the values of collaboration and community, just like with traditional classes.
These aids also bridge physical gaps and allow students enrolled in the same class but are from different cities, countries, or time zones to interact simultaneously still. With traditional programs, if you want cross-cultural experiences, you’ll either fly out of the US or wish to have international students enrolled in your class. While there is still debate that no amount of group conference calls can equate to the quality of person-to-person interaction, in today’s virus-infested world, virtual collaboration is not only better but the only option.
With the proper accreditation, online bachelor’s degrees are at par with degrees earned traditionally. This answers the question of whether prospective employers will honor degrees earned online. The Online Learning Consortium has published a list of things to look out for when it comes to checking whether a school’s online offerings are accredited. We’ll discuss this in detail in later sections but simply put, the same accreditation standards are implemented for both traditional and online programs.
Another misconception about online degrees is that it poses less academic challenges compared to traditional classes; in short, it’s easier. The notion probably stems from the different ways the lessons are structured in online programs (scroll up to ‘sequential learning’ above). Remember that we pointed out in the preceding item that online degrees are held to the same rigorous standards to which traditional courses are also held. The structure and the way classes are presented may be different, but the message and the curator of the content remain. Online programs are designed and curated by the school’s faculty members, or in the case of MOOC sites, a combination of subject matter experts (SMEs), academe, and even esteemed industry leaders, giving online learning a distinct edge.
Is a Bachelor’s Degree Still Worth It in These Times?
Before we go on and on about online bachelor’s degrees, let’s get this question out of the way first – is a bachelor’s degree, whether earned traditionally, online, or via blended learning, still worth it today? This is a growing concern among college students of all levels, especially in today’s uncertain times. Because of the current pandemic, job prospects and people’s spending power are both low. And the reality is, some – if not most – students would opt to equip themselves through shorter courses that are of value to employers without spending too much money and time. Here is where the many forms of “micro-credentials” come into play.
More companies undergo digital transformation because of the emergence of new technologies such as Blockchain for finance, Python programming and data analysis, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Data Science, Big Data, Machine Learning, and AI. This resulted in the skills gap becoming increasingly apparent. We have so many college graduates but none with the hot skills to match job demands. Micro-credentials like edX’s MicroBachelors programs and Udacity’s Nanodegree programs are available to college students who want to acquire specialized skills that are highly in-demand by businesses today. The lessons are created by partner universities and companies, grooming students to be skilled in a significantly less amount of time compared to a bachelor’s degree.
Associate degrees, badges, and professional certificates also work the same way. Adding to the allure of this widely accepted and disruptive fast-track route is that in 2017, 14 publicly traded companies from various industries hired and still professionals who are not equipped with a bachelor’s degree. They instead prefer applicants with hot skills earned and practiced through fast-track specialty programs and the like. These companies include Google, Apple, IBM, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco, Bank of America, and even Random House.
While this improves job prospects for non-degree holders, a 2019 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that bachelor’s degree holders are still earning more than non-degree holders. The unemployment prospect is also 0.5% to 1% less than the ones who didn’t complete college. A Harvard Business Review article also re-affirms the unwavering value of a college degree, with a good number of employers in the country still opting to hire applicants with college degrees. Meanwhile, micro-credentials are considered as substantial additions and complement to one’s degree, skills, and personality.
So, to answer the question of whether a bachelor’s degree is still worth it in these times, our answer is a resounding YES.
What Would I Need to Start My Online College Journey?
Because of the pandemic, students of all levels are forced to adopt online learning as an alternative to face-to-face instruction, so the app markets and the web are teeming with online learning solutions for a better online education experience, especially for undergrads. Think of these resources and tools as a replica of your school supplies back in the day (millennials, ask your parents).
The resources listed below are a combination of your stuff and the school’s – classroom, blackboard/whiteboard, library, locker room, common area, etc. Of course, aside from a computer, whether a laptop or a tablet, you’ll also need very specific resources to organize schoolwork, notes, submissions, projects, collaborations, schedules and other info to get through school:
- Trello, HeySpace (which is Trello with a chat function) and myHomework;
- Evernote, Microsoft’s OneNote which you can maximize if you use Teams for videoconferencing and chatting, Dragon Dictation which feeds your notes to your computer via dictation, or Rocketbook which lets you upload and share handwritten notes either through the app or your school’s LMS;
- MS Office, LibreOffice, Google Docs or G Suite;
- Zoom, Dingtalk which also checks for attendance, or Google’s Hangouts Meet;
- Zapier to organize your stuff from email to notepad/calendar/office document, or scheduler apps like iCal or Google Calendar.
Tip: If you’re an adult learner who’s going back to school after years – or perhaps a decade or two – of being out of school, don’t just jump right into online programs. Take the time to learn all these new technologies! Navigating through the apps and programs may pose a challenge for someone who’s last known computer activity was when Windows XP or Vista was still powering PCs. It wouldn’t hurt to explore these apps to prepare yourself; after all, most of these are free.
Choosing an Online Program – What to Look For?
Sorting through and choosing an online program is not much different than when you’re doing the same for traditional schools. It must start with YOU – your goals and aspirations. Other questions would follow, like what things are you willing to compromise? For example, are you willing to pay twice or maybe even thrice the cost for an Ivy League online course? If yes, then are you willing to find other sources of income to add to your increase in overhead, thus eating up a big chunk of your time that you could’ve used for more studying?
Location used to be a strong factor in these decisions, but since remote learning is the only way to go these days, this factor has become irrelevant except when then matter of tuition fees comes up. Even for online programs, there’s still a significant difference over in-state and out-of-state tuition fees. For instance, there’s a $420 difference between the University of Florida’s tuition fee per credit for its in-state and out-of-state enrollees for its online bachelor’s programs.
The sudden adoption of online education, especially at the undergraduate level, means more options for students. The bounds of physical location no longer limit them. So, to help you sort through the haystack, here are the other things you should put in your checklist:
Just as online programs expand a student’s choices, you might find some needles in that haystack, or fly-by-night schools offering online programs with too-good-to-be-true guarantees and certifications. Mind you, these are rampant, especially now that students have no other way of getting an education but online, so this is their perfect opportunity to lure unsuspecting victims.
When you have no way of checking the existence of an online school, check for its accreditations instead. Go to the online school’s website, and in the ‘About’ section, you should quickly see accreditation information which you can cross-reference using this database from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Otherwise, be suspicious. For transfer students who earned credits from nationally accredited schools, they must check with their prospective schools to verify if these will be honored upon transfer since there is a disconnect between nationally accredited institutions and regionally accredited institutions.
Tuition fees for online programs greatly vary from private to public to for-profit institutions. According to US News, the tuition fee range for online bachelor’s programs for the school year 2019-2020 is $53 to $1,034 per credit. Private colleges and universities have the priciest online bachelor’s offerings, with in-state public institutions as the most cost-effective. There are ways in which student dependents aged 24 and below can avail of reduced out-of-state fees at public institutions.
Aside from the tuition fees, know that there are other fees that you also need to factor in like textbooks or modules and other course materials, and on top of that, the “online delivery fee,” which is sometimes called a “technology fee” and is charged on an hourly basis. This is not a new fee in higher ed. This nominal fee is for the technical infrastructure needed to maintain and deliver online classes, student databases, and academic repositories. Think of the “miscellaneous fees” in traditional courses which charge you for the use of the school’s physical facilities. Lastly, some online colleges implement an “out-of-district” hourly rate, which is usually seen among community colleges, and this is aside from the in-state/out-of-state paradigm. That’s something to consider as well.
Check out the curriculum and how it is structured. If this information is not available on the school’s website, these can be requested. Ask around, read message boards, or forums to see what other people think of your prospective school. Also, factor in the availability of career services, a strong alumni network, and a dedicated resource or office for online program affairs, as these will be helpful during your enrollment and your job-hunting phase after graduation.
For transfer students, check with your prospective school if they will honor course credits you’ve earned from another school(s) as this could also significantly reduce your costs and completion time.
How do I apply? What are the scholastic requirements (SAT, GED, ACT, etc.)?
First, what’s the difference between the SAT and the ACT? The SAT focuses on testing the logic and reasoning capabilities of students. The ACT, on the other hand, with its dedicated science section, focuses on the analytic skills of students. Whether you’re a local or international student, you need to take either one of the tests – or both, if you have the money and the rigor – and score well as part of college admission requirements. Both tests have an optional essay component, which is added to the test fee.
However, with the pandemic disrupting academic schedules, several universities, including some Ivies have announced that they will be suspending the acceptance of the SAT and ACT results for the academic year 2020-2021. Harvard even went further to say that the non-submission of the SAT or ACT results will not put applicants at a disadvantage. Other Ivies like UPenn and Princeton do not require SAT or ACT scores. Other schools are keeping up with the new development, submitting test results completely optional.
One thing though, SATs and ACTs might help you with your scholarship applications so, if for that reason alone, spend the $60 and a few hours of your time daily to prep and take the test(s). Now is the right time for a scholarship, right?
On the other hand, GED scores in lieu of a high school diploma will still be required. Select GED Testing Centers to continue to accept test appointments amidst the pandemic.
Below are some of the other documentary admission requirements based on the University of Phoenix website. These are the minimum requirements common to almost all schools with online bachelor’s offerings:
Add to these the standard essay and letters of recommendation requirements. If you notice, the requirements are similar to the requirements for traditional degrees. The complete list of admission requirements should be posted on the website of the school of your choice. Don’t forget to check the school’s academic calendar for any deadlines and other important events. Some online programs will also have additional requirements specific to the degree, so take note of those as well.
What Financial Aids are Available to Me?
When gearing up for the college application process – which could be a grueling process in itself – one of the first things you have to tackle is not the essay (that can be number 2 or 3 on your checklist) nor choosing a school (though you should already have 2 or 3 schools in mind). It should be applying for a scholarship. Google it, and you will discover that the most common advice from experts is to start the scholarship application as early as possible.
Start by completing the FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. You’ll need to create a student account, complete the forms and enter ALL the schools you’d like to apply to, even the ones that just crossed your mind, even if you think you have no shot at getting accepted.
As stated in this blog by the Department of Education, schools listed in your FAFSA form are not privy to the other schools you’ve listed in there. You can list a maximum of 10 schools, and that should be more than enough slots for all the colleges you’d like to apply to. After answering all the other questions about dependency, demographics, and financial information, submit your FAFSA form, and all the schools you’ve listed will automatically receive your application. It’s not that hard, right?
The financial aids that are available for traditional degree enrollees are also available to online college students. These are:
- Federal Student loans
* Direct Unsubsidized Loans – awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students. Demonstration of financial need is NOT a requirement. The school and the degree program determine the loan amount.
* Direct Subsidized Loans – awarded to undergraduate students only. Demonstration of financial need IS a requirement as this will be the basis of the loan amount, with the amount determined by the school as well.
* Direct PLUS Loans – in the context of undergraduate programs, this loan is awarded to the parents of students who are declared as dependents. A credit check is required, and there are additional requirements for applicants with erratic credit histories.
* Direct Consolidation Loan – all your existing student loans are combined into one loan. The consolidation process is free, and all you’ll need is your FSA ID and personal and financial information.
- Private Loans from banks, organizations, etc.
- Grants – these are financial aids that do not require repayment. An example is the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants for service members and the Federal Pell Grants for undergraduates.
- Did you know that, based on a research by the National Postsecondary Student Aid Society (NPSAS) in 2015, non-traditional or adult students who have not completed their undergraduate studies and are returning to school have a better chance of receiving the Pell Grant than traditional students?
- Work-Study Programs – a federal program for both undergraduate and graduate students, which provides part-time employment either on or off-campus. The nature of the job is related to your degree and involves civic or community activities.
- State and Institutional Loans
- For international students, merit-based and need-based scholarships are also available.
- All other forms of aids, whether from the federal or state government or for military families as listed here.
How Long Does An Online Bachelor’s Program Take?
It’s difficult to put a number on this one as the duration of the program will be determined by how quickly you complete the classes or courses because remember, you’re taking all these at your own pace.
Online degrees, although structured and delivered differently, adhere to the same definitions used in traditional degrees. What this means is that “full-time” means 12 units per term, and so on. Your length of “stay” or enrollment in an online undergraduate degree can be less than the usual four years, precisely four years, or beyond that, depending on whether you’re juggling part-time employment or parenthood or both aside from schoolwork.
If you’re a full-time student who adheres to a strict self-learning schedule, at best, you could finish within the prescribed course length of your program. If you have previous course credits as a transferee or enroll yourself in accelerated tracks, you could cut down your undergraduate studies to 3 or 3.5 years (for a 4-year degree), or a third of your program’s prescribed course length.
The bottom line: Since online bachelor’s degrees are flexible, your time of completion will largely depend on your pace, perseverance, and discipline to complete your online courses.
Will My Credentials Be Honored and Accepted by Employers? Why Does Accreditation Matter?
The short answer is yes.
Several years ago, some employers were still on the fence about hiring candidates who are products of online colleges, and, according to a 2012 study of the Chronicle of Higher Education, employers have a “negative association” about online degrees.
But with the continuous disruption brought by MOOC platforms who have partnered with industry leaders and even traditional universities and colleges in designing and offering completely online offerings – especially in the current pandemic situation – online degrees are gradually gaining credence among prospective employers. Especially after the fact that online degrees close the skills gap created by traditional degrees. In fact, in a 2018 study by Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education & Talent Strategy, 71% of HR managers have onboarded online college graduates, a testament to the respect and acceptance of the labor sector for online credentials.
Even with these overwhelmingly positive facts about the employability of online bachelor’s degree holders, careful and thorough selection of your prospective online college or university should still be done, and this is where the value of accreditation comes in. The Online Learning Consortium and US News best summarizes what online education is all about and what to look for:
- Legit online programs should bear institutional accreditation, which is at the university-level and is one of the two levels of accreditation. The other is specialized accreditation, which is a program or degree-specific. These should be public knowledge and therefore posted online via the school’s website. Institutional accreditation of the school you’re eyeing will also play an essential role in your application for federal student loans.
- Online degree programs have several accreditors. Avoid becoming a victim of “accreditation mills” or the bulk accreditation of seedy colleges; check if the accreditor appears in the Department of Education (DOE) list or CHEA list of accreditors.
- Don’t assume that simply because the online program is being offered by a well-known school, the degree is accredited. Even reputable schools trip sometimes. On the other hand, many for-profit schools only have national accreditation. This isn’t usually a problem except that most employers prefer a school with regional accreditation as it carries more weight than national accreditation.
- Lastly, traditional and online bachelor’s degrees are reviewed continuously for accreditation based on the same standards. They are held in the same regard; thus, from an accreditation perspective, online bachelor’s programs are equal to traditional programs.
Wrapping It Up – Strategies to Maximize and Succeed in an Online Bachelor’s Program
If this is your first time to attend your undergraduate classes virtually, fret not. The internet is teeming with resources and links, such as the UNESCO site, on transitioning to online learning. They also teach you to get started, manage, maximize and even explore new and innovative ways to make online education for college students like you both productive and enjoyable, while maintaining a healthy and sound mind.
It’s easy to give in to an idyllic state when you’re taking online classes. It’s easy to fall into sedentary habits. To maintain a healthy and active lifestyle despite this tempting environment, follow these tips:
Adhere to a strict schedule if you can. As mentioned, it’s easy to let go of the time and stay glued to your screens. But you must get up, rest your eyes and do something else within the day as well. The average amount of time a college student should be spending for online classes in a day is anywhere between 2 to 4 hours. If you think about it, if you spend 2 hours daily, that’s 10 hours a week, which then translates to 135 hours within a 15 or 16-week semester, which is the average for most bachelor’s degrees. For those 2 to 4 hours, that should include listening to the prescribed course for the day and completing the exercises and other coursework that follow.
Your time management skills will be challenged by the number of distractions lurking on the internet while you’re in class. There is no other way around this but to exercise self-discipline and restraint. Close irrelevant and useless web pages or tabs. Switch off unneeded devices like your TV, your mobile phone (you won’t need it, you’re just at home), and others. Just be disciplined.
Have everything you’ll need for the day ready, either on your desk or launched on your computer. You’ll never know when your professor will utter critical phrases that will be asked in the day’s pop quiz or midterms.
Use the first few days as a self-experiment on what learning strategies work best for you. Do you like to learn all at once for 2 to 4 hours straight? Or do you quickly get bored and restless and would instead do your lessons in 30-minute sequences? Are you a visual learner? Do you like to take notes as the instructor talks? Explore whatever works for you and adjust your tools and aids according to that. If you’re the notetaker type, have your Evernote or OneNote launched before the lesson starts. If you’re the visual learner type, maybe take some screenshots of the figures or images used in the presentation. If you’re a slow jotter, have a recorder ready.
Connect and participate. Online learning can be isolating. While others thrive in such an environment, if you’re the extrovert type, online learning might rub you the wrong way after the first week. Chat apps, videoconferencing apps, and message boards are all easily accessible now. Make use of those to connect with your classmates and peers. Do not limit yourself to the tools embedded in your school’s LMS. Explore, that’s what the internet is for.
Exercise accountability. Remember, this is not some free workshop or complementary class! You’re paying hard-earned money (with emphasis on “hard-earned” because of the pandemic and recession) for this. After all, your bachelor’s degree, while earned virtually, is your ticket to a good and promising career. So, invest well in it, and not only through money but also in time and responsibility. Online learning is a true test of one’s sense of accountability and integrity. Be aware of deadlines, course requirements, and self-assess how you’re holding up in this new learning modality. Do you need a virtual learning partner to keep yourself in check? Assess what else you’ll need to complete your undergraduate studies online successfully. You might find yourself struggling at first to the change, but you’ll get the hang of it.