The answer to whether an online degree is right for you depends on several questions only you can answer but research has demonstrated online distance education is as effective as traditional education.
Both forms of education require the use of technology and provide ample learning opportunities for students to participate in. Each form requires the student to learn the essential body of knowledge required to graduate with a degree and be prepared to go out into the job market.
Furthermore, studies have shown there are no significant differences in final course grades between distance education and traditional education. It was found many online education methods fit perfectly with students preferred learning style including the ability to work on course material in their own timeframe.
The main advantage of pursuing an online education is accessibility. As an adult, you often don’t have the time or ability to go a traditional school to earn a higher degree. It may be family; it may be a full time job. Either way, an online distant education program provides the flexibility needed to further your education.
You may have a job that requires travel preventing you from attending all your classes. With online education as long as you have access to the Internet, you can “make it to class”. And your classes are available 24/7.
Study Pace – for those of us who don’t learn at the same pace as others, an online degree program allows you to learn at a pace that fits your style. It may take you a little longer to complete a course but achieve a better outcome not feeling rushed.
On the other hand, you may be a fast learner and want to push through the programs more quickly than someone else. In a traditional setting you may be held back by the rest of the class or the teachers pace.
Self Motivation – many employers will look at your online degree and appreciate your initiative and self motivation. Completing a program working at your own pace can be daunting so an employer might consider your ambition an asset to the company.
Flexibility – Web based degree programs allow you to learn when you have the time to learn not when you are told to learn. Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or have a full time job, online campuses give you the flexibility to go back to school for that degree that can help you raise the bar to your success.
Internet Skills – as part of your learning experience, you gain useful web browsing and email skills that are useful in your business career and look good on your resume.
By being able to communicate and get around quickly and efficiently on the Internet, you have access to job market data, applications, message boards, job boards and meet other people interested in a graphic design career. It is one of the ultimate tools for networking.
Self Discipline – to be successful in life and career, you have to have self-discipline. To be successful in distant education programs, you have to have self-discipline. By learning how not to procrastinate and being accountable for getting your work done properly and on time, you gain a skill that is very valuable in the marketplace.
It’s not always easy to get work done if someone isn’t there reminding you all the time. Once you learn the importance of getting tasks done on time and how to achieve your goals, you’ll have learned one of the most important concepts in your educational process.
Participation – you will be expected to participate via email, teleclasses, or discussion boards with your professors and classmates. This tends to work in favor of students who are extremely shy and stay out of conversations in traditional settings.
Work – just because you are not attending a physical classroom setting doesn’t mean you don’t have to work. As an online student you will be expected to do the same amount of work, if not more, than a traditional classroom situation.
You will be involved in group projects, writing papers, posting responses to the class message board while taking practice quizzes and discussing topics with fellow students.
Questions – expect to ask and to be asked questions by your professors and fellow students. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. There are other online students with more experience available to answer your questions or help with a difficult assignment.
Because you will be taking your graphic design classes online via your computer, there naturally will be some hardware and software requirements. First of all, you need a computer with hardware and software that is compatible with the schools programs. It may be required you only work on an Apple Computer and use Adobe software. Another school may have different requirements. It is important you find out these requirements before you sign up.
You will also be required to have an Internet connection and the faster the better. Since you will be spending a lot of time on line, a high-speed connection will make your life a lot easier than a slow dial up account.
Peripheral Equipment - most schools are going to require you have access to a CD burner or DVD burner, printer, scanner, digital camera and digital drawing tablet. Be sure you budget these items into your costs before making a commitment to a school.
If you are interested in going back to school for a degree in graphic design but don’t have the flexibility to go to a traditional school setting, an online education is a great alternative.
As studies have shown, you will get a comparable education at your pace, in your environment. The next step is to find distant learning programs in graphic design that fit your needs. There are several great schools to choose from and are listed at.
Good luck and much success in your endeavor.