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Three Questions You MUST Answer Before Taking an Online Class

Three Questions You MUST Answer Before Taking an Online Class

Online learning has quickly become mainstream over the last 10-15 years as an option for those who may not be able to attend traditional college classes.  A myth persist that online learning is not “real” learning.  Research shows that online learning can be just as effective as face to face classes (Mccutcheon et. al., 2014). However, this does not mean that online learning will be effective for all students.  Prior to signing up for an online class, you would be well served to answer the following three questions.

Push Yourself

Are You Self Motivated to Meet Deadlines?

“Out of sight…out of mind” is how the old saying goes.  This is never so true as when you are in an online class.  Without the mandated deadlines imposed by having to be in class on specific days and times it can be very easy to continue to put off assignments until it is too late.  For many students, it becomes easy to simply give up once they have gotten behind and thus fail in the class.  Not having a physical meeting with an instructor on a regular basis can make the unpleasant feeling of receiving negative feedback less of a motivator for regular involvement in the class.

One way of being able to minimize missing deadlines is to schedule time, in your calendar, for regular involvement with your class.  The nice thing about this strategy is that it provides a visual and auditory reminder that you need to log into your class.  Yes…you can ignore this reminder, but, if you realize that you are paying for the class, it will be much more difficult to “blow off” the reminder. 


Are You an Online Learner?

Over the last few years the phrase “learning styles” has fallen out of vogue and has been, gradually replaced with learning preferences.  Regardless of which identifier you use, you need to come to terms with the fact that online learning will, often, be a lonely proposition.  If you are a person who considers themselves an extrovert, in the common definition as outlined by the Myers Briggs profiling system (Using Myers Briggs Type Indicator Mbit, 2010), you may find it difficult to motivate yourself to log onto the computer to meet the assignment deadlines. 

This does not mean that you will be unsuccessful as an online learner.  Just the contrary.  It means that you will have to build in social aspects in different ways.  Setting up a closed, private social media page can be very helpful to share challenges and triumphs with your fellow online students.  Make sure that it remains closed to anyone that does not belong in it so that all the members can trust that, like Vegas, what happens (or said there) stays there!


Is the Degree You Are Seeking from an Accepted Accredited University or College

All colleges and universities are NOT created equal.  This is a very important area in which the “buyer must beware”!  You must do your due diligence!  Make sure that the higher education center is accredited by one of the regional accreditation agencies.  For example, all public, and most private, colleges and universities in the southern United States are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  SACS is one of the six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.  Accreditation by SACS ensures that your degree has met stringent standards and any courses that you have taken have a much better chance of being accepted by another regionally accredited college.  You can get an example of how this would work by visiting this link. 

Unfortunately, many, if not most credits from non-regionally accredited schools will not transfer.  That results in more time and money to repeat classes that you have already taken.  Ensure that you see an accreditation statement by one of the above listed agencies as they are required to do so. 

Online degree completion can be an incredible tool of convenience and, yes, even a money saver.  Just like any other enterprise, you must be careful to separate the accepted schools from those who may not be so.  Do this and you will be on your way to improving your life!

About the Author

Dr. Bill Young is the Program Director of the Eastern Kentucky University Paramedic School.  The EKU Emergency Medical Care Program is the first accredited Paramedic program in Kentucky and the second in the nation. We offer well established Associate of Science & Bachelor of Science degrees in Emergency Medical Care that can be completed online or on campus.  If you are currently a paramedic and interested in expanding your career by completing your degree, 100% online, contact us today at      





Mccutcheon, K., Lohan, M., Traynor, M., & Martin, D. (2014). A systematic review evaluating the impact of online or blended learning vs. face-to-face learning of clinical skills in undergraduate nurse education. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71(2), 255-270. doi:10.1111/jan.12509

“Using Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Mbti) For Assessment Success of Student Groups In Project Based        Learning.” Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Computer Supported Education, 2010, doi:10.5220/0002859901560160.

Published on April 06, 2018

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