You've decided it's time to go back to college to further your education, but there's a problem. You're a working adult with many responsibilities, and you just can't see how going to school the traditional way will fit into your busy schedule. Fortunately though, after doing some research on the internet, you discovered that the best option for you at this time is to get an online distance education degree. Now it's time to get prepared for school.
It's probably been a few years since you've attended school, and you're a little unsure about what you're going to need. To help ease any anxiety you may feel, here is a list of six things you'll need for success with your studies: 1. A computer. You will need a working computer that you can rely on. It doesn't need to be brand new, but should be new enough that you can run any software necessary for the course. Because you're going online, you need to make sure you have adequate protection for your computer such as a virus and spam blocker, and a good firewall to keep out hackers and malicious software.
2. Internet access. The very nature of online courses requires that you have access to the internet. Although a dial-up internet account may be adequate for basic class functions such as sending and receiving emails and making posts in classroom discussion threads, it would be to your advantage to have high speed internet access if at all possible. Some classes may require large file downloads or video streams which will take a virtual eternity to download with a regular dial-up modem.
3. Textbooks. Lectures, syllabuses, textbooks and other course material are generally all available by download from the online school. However depending on the institution and the type of course you are taking, you may need to buy textbooks and other material for your degree study. You will be notified at the start of class as to exactly what material is provided online, and what you will have to buy.
4. Software. You may need to purchase additional software for your computer. In some cases, the software will already be included in the cost of the course.
In most cases however, you will need to have specific software in order to watch the lectures, to attend virtual classes, and communicate with your classmates and instructors. If you don't already have this software, you will have to buy it and have it installed on your computer. 5.
Other materials. As in a traditional classroom setting, there are some standard items you'll need. Pens and pencils, paper, and 3-ring binders for the syllabus and other class material are all essential items you'll need in you study area. And if you live with other people you should have a headset to listen to audio portions of lectures and video streams without disrupting their need for quiet. Your instructor will let you know if you will need anything else for your class.
6. A quiet place to study. Don't underestimate the importance of this one. It is imperative that you have a quiet place to work on your assignments and class projects, as free as possible from extraneous distractions that will sidetrack you away from your study. Of course, you will need to have a computer at this location as well. So there you have it, six things you'll need for your first online distance education course.
When you start class you may need to add some other things to your list, according to the course requirements. But for now, this list of six things can help set you on the path to e-learning success.
Jesse Whitehead earned his B.S. in Business Administration with honors from an online university in 2005. For more information about online distance education degrees click here