||by Sharon Fross
Senior Academic Advisor
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Over the last six months so much has happened that many of us barely recognize our lives now. In the blink of an eye, the on-campus college experience was turned upside down for millions of students – leaving many to wonder what the Fall ’20 semester and beyond will look like.
Now Fall is here and the questions still remain. Some students have decided to continue to pursue their degree on-campus while others are turning to online learning as it offers the same high-quality education with more flexibility for adult learners – enabling students to study anytime, anywhere and earn a degree while maintaining their busy lives. Some are taking a gap semester, gap year or have begun to rethink their future on a much deeper level.
In this new “normal”, states, communities, and businesses are starting to re-open, for the most part, while others have re-opened and are closing again. Students are trying to figure out what the right choice is for them. And with so much uncertainty, we don’t know what life will look like – in the next couple of weeks, through the end of the Fall or well into 2021.
Can an Online Degree Help Fill the Gap, Expand My Skills, Keep Me Moving Forward in My Career?
Such ambiguous times can be tough to plan for, especially if you’re a working professional who is now unemployed. There’s a good chance you’re actively searching for new work or thinking about how to regain your footing in the workplace – asking yourself questions like…
- Should I to upgrade your skills or complete your college degree to maintain a competitive edge in today’s workforce?
- Should I need different credentials to enter a new field?
- Should I need more credentials to even find a job?
These are incredibly difficult times, and difficult questions to wrestle with to find the right answer.
Whether you’re a working professional, a traditional college student or an online adult learner, the big question is, “How do I begin to plan my life when the future is so unclear?” While we don’t know when life will return to “normal” or even a new normal, we can begin to plan how to upgrade our skills and/or complete unfinished degrees to strengthen skill sets through online education.
Remote Learning vs. Online Learning
Due to the coronavirus, businesses, schools, and colleges had to switch to a remote learning model overnight – using videoconferencing software (such as Zoom, GoTo Meeting, JoinMe) to hold meetings and classes.
But there’s a big difference between ‘remote learning’ and ‘online learning.’
These just-in-time remote options have allowed us to work, meet with family and friends and complete coursework – but this approach doesn’t have the carefully planned technology features or customized curricula needed by adult learners who are pursuing online education. While these features helped students continue their studies, in the midst of what then was a mid-term crisis with little warning or ability to have a backup plan, remote learning is a tool to connect those who would traditionally be in a physical classroom. Whereas online learning takes months, sometimes years, to build curricula, courseware with defined rubrics, gradable discussions, student engagement, technically trained expert faculty, and defined outcomes built into every aspect of the curriculum.
As you navigate through the options in front of you to upskill, advance your degree without taking time off, or pursue that dream of earning your degree, consider the difference between remote and online formats and those institutions that excel and have a history of providing an online format purposefully built for adult learners. This perspective and appreciation for the many demands placed on adult learners has never been more important.
A number of colleges and universities have been committed to developing and offering learner-centered, outcomes based online programs. UMass Online, an early pioneer of online education, has a longstanding history of helping adults looking to finish their degree, change careers, or advance in their field for the past 20 years. Whether you’re taking classes 100% online or hybrid (on-campus and online), the overall experience and educational outcomes are critical to your success, both in the classroom and after you graduate. Creating programs, learner experiences and support services, specifically with students in mind, are all factors we consider when developing online curriculum. Every facet of these programs and student services is carefully planned. This has been the hallmark of UMass Online.
As a recognized leader in online education, UMass Online knows what the most important factors are when considering online education. As you evaluate which online program is the best program for you, here are six important factors to consider:
While we live in uncertain times right now, you can select an online program that will support your goals and needs. UMass Online has carefully designed their online programs and services, specifically with adult online learners in mind. These online programs provide dynamic learning opportunities to prepare you for the next chapter we all face.
As you navigate through this important decision, we are here to help. Click here to reach out or call 1-877-698-6277 and we will connect you with a support representative.