When My Child Wants to Take Online Classes

I am pleased to share a guest post from Jessica Socheski today.  Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who cares about education. You can find her on Twitter.

Parents are often called upon to provide their kids with advice, whether it is related to career, relationships, education or otherwise. It can be difficult at times to know what to say, which path to recommend and when not to say anything at all but trust your children to step out on their own.

When it comes to helping kids make decisions about college, there are lots of questions to ask. Financing, room and board, sports, extracurriculars, internships, study abroad and the list continues. A newer question comes from the potential of taking online courses. Depending on your child’s situation, researching online education may be very helpful, either for earning extra summer credit or an entire degree.

Student on LaptopHere are some of the basics you may need to know to help your children decide if and when to take classes online.

Catching Up on Credits

In some cases, online classes can be a fantastic way to take summer and winter break classes. At large universities, it can prove difficult to get all of the classes you need to graduate on time. And other times students who change their majors may fall a few classes short of graduating on time. Taking a few units online can help to catch up on any missed credits.

The convenience of online courses comes into play especially if students are taking units interim when they may be at home for winter break or on a family trip during the summer instead of living on campus. Online courses can also be less expensive if taken at a local community college and then transferred back to the student’s university. This can help families save money while keeping students on track.

What Can Students Learn Online?

Many parents may have valid questions about the quality of learning in an online environment. Depending on your child’s learning style, online classes may or may not work well. The online classroom requires self-motivated students who will read all the material and teach themselves through the course.

That being said, online or e-learning, as it is sometimes called, can also teach students to develop new skills like:

•Networking

•Communicating well via email and discussion boards

•Active engagement

•Time management

What to Know Before Enrolling

In 2011, online enrollment reached an all-time high with more than 6.7 million students registered online at U.S. colleges and universities. With the soaring popularity of online education, it is vital to check a few things out before enrolling and writing a check. The first thing to verify is that the school and program are reputable. Not all “universities” are fully accredited. Next, confirm that your student’s laptop or other technology is up to date and will be able to support all of the course’s requirements like video calling, Adobe acrobat, Word, etc.

And for students who will be transferring their online units to another college, clear the online classes with the other institution prior to enrolling. It is imperative that the classes be transferable. Otherwise, the entire course could be a waste of time, effort and funds.

With these tips for guiding your students through online course options, your family can make the best decision possible.

Image from www.onlineuniversities.com

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