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Online Continuing Education

Online Continuing Education

Online Continuing Education FAQ

Online continuing education means you can now learn at home and obtain a degree from the comfort of your La-Z-Boy. Online study courses sound good, and there's quite a selection to choose from, but what exactly do they entail? Read on to find answers to some frequently asked questions.

Q: Who offers online study courses?

A: A number of companies, universities and professional organizations offer online continuing education programs. The Internet is a great way for instructors and students to communicate and advances in technology is making the process easier and more user-friendly.

Q: How do I know that the provider is legitimate?

A: Public and private universities that offer online courses are usually pretty reliable. You can even find courses with top schools like Harvard and Cornell. Companies and professional organizations that offer online continuing education must have their courses certified. For example, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) certifies legitimate continuing education courses within the field of medicine.

Q: Please explain the idea of a 'virtual classroom'?

A: It's thanks to technology that we have the 'virtual classroom'. The term is used to describe any 'place' online where an instructor may meet with students. This ranges from designated online chat rooms where participants communicate via chat to real-time streaming video broadcasts that bring the lecturer right into your PC. As technology advances, it's even possible to interact and communicate with your instructor and classmates via two-way audio and video conferencing.

Q: What technology does online study require?

A: If your virtual classroom is broadcast via one-way video and audio, you need a media player that will show the video clip and play the audio file. Sometimes your online continuing education program requires you to install and download certain software. For example, UMass Boston Online requires Centra Symposium software to provide an online virtual classroom. If you use two-way video and audio, you might be required to purchase and install a computer camera with microphone.

Q: What makes a good online student?

A: "Excellent writing skills are critical in an online course," says UMass Boston, as "the instructor will be basing some of his assessment of student work on the quality of the writing skills". The online student must be able to clearly convey any questions, comments or suggestions in writing. UMass Boston also suggests that students plan to spend between 6 to 8 hours a week working on their online course.