Going Back: Preparing Your Busy Life for Modern Online Education

September 2, 2015

4:00 pm

It’s that time of year again. Summer has nearly run its course, and a more scholarly schedule is on the horizon. Kids all over the world are being sent off to school. In regards to pursuing an education, so are their parents. There’s no shame in going back to college at any age. Society has become more and more accepting of all generations trying to further their lives through education.

With the modernization of higher education, online courses have definitely changed the scope of what’s possible for a busy lifestyle. However, it is all too common for those going back and trying online schooling for the first time to make some very crucial mistakes. Like everything in life, we learn from these kinds of mistakes. If it’s possible to identify these mistakes beforehand, why not save ourselves a ton of time, effort, and of course money?

Tech Will Drastically Help Your Online Learning Experience

Education is always progressing, just like the technology that surrounds it. We live in a world where notebooks have been replaced by laptops and tablets; the rigid ‘pen and paper’ mindset is disappearing. What’s the most logical approach to this shift? Simply embracing the change and using it to your advantage is a great start.

What’s more relevant: a physical textbook, or a digital copy? And what makes more sense: cluttering your life with a hodgepodge of tech and old school educational tools, or an integrated approach?

Is Online Education Worth the Costs?

One of the biggests concerns behind continuing education in general is the increasingly expensive cost of tuition. When asked the question “Is higher education worth the cost?” Rutgers University’s Vice President for Distance Learning, Richard Novak responded:  

“Students, stakeholders, providers and supporters alike are asking this question across all forms of media. Critics of higher education are louder than ever as they tell stories of student levels of debt that will never be erased by the jobs they attain with their degree. And yet a closer, critical read of data does reveal that those with more higher education generally fare significantly better than those without—in times of recession, when the economy slumps and jobs are scarce, and across a lifetime of earnings…As students evaluate the worthiness of making a personal education investment, they are certainly asking the obvious question of sticker cost, but they are now more thoughtful about the ‘opportunity costs.’ Here, the considerations are perhaps not so obvious, but equally important.”

In short, the answer to this question is somewhat subjective. It’s all about how a person plans to invest for their own future. In most cases the long term benefits outweigh the associated costs.

Procrastination, On Your Own Schedule

The freedom to control your schedule, and the flexibility of online classes can been viewed as both a major pro and con of online learning. When given freedoms become a ‘problem’ it’s usually time to recollect your approach.

Luckily, even if you find yourself in a panic moment of failure, there are many steps to take to get back on track. The fact of the matter is, if voice your concern you will be able to get help. First step is to contact your advisor or instructor. More than likely they will be willing to work towards a tangible goal, and

Consider reorganizing yourself if procrastination is consistently hindering your success. A fresh minded approach can go a very far way, whether it’s a change in time management or a new outlook.

Related: Read this previous article if you are struggling with motivation while pursuing online education.

Have a Solid Point of Contact

Whether it’s an instructor, an advisor, or a very knowledgeable friend you will need help along the way. Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. While face to face contact is much more limited within online education, increased quality of video chat systems make it possible to feel like you’re actually there.

Don’t Let Your Age Be a Factor

The bogus stigmas that used to flourish are beginning to deteriorate. Older generations are feeling more comfortable with finishing previous endeavors or even going to college for the first time. Since online learning can be done remotely, the doors are open to an ever increasing number of people.

There is even a rising number of senior citizens succeeding in online education. View this as a  motivator. If our slightly less technologically inclined elders can do it, anyone can! Where there’s a genuine desire to learn, there’s certainly a way!

Balancing Parenting and Online Education

As if parenting was not difficult enough, combining that with the new wave of modern secondary education creates the potential for so many things to go wrong. Balancing college, careers, and kids is never going to be easy. If you have a family and a job online education will more than likely be the best option. This allows for extra flexibility. You’ll never have to worry about.


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Robert Parmer is a freelance web writer, a student at Boise State University, and a chef. Besides writing and reading avidly, he enjoys creating and recording music, caring for his pet cat, and commuting by bicycle whenever possible. Follow him on Twitter @robparmer