Should I get an education degree online? One of the fastest growing degree segments in distance learning is education. Many schools are offering online education degrees or education degrees that have a large online component. A number of colleges offer certain classes only online. If you need a flexible class schedule or you cannot attend a traditional classroom because of your job or other responsibilities, an online degree may be your path to becoming an educator.
How are online classes different from traditional classes? Modern distance learning classrooms use asynchronous learning, which is simply learning when you are available to learn. Students may log in and discuss topics in forums throughout the day. This is very different from the traditional classroom where students sit, listen to the professor, and take notes. An asynchronous learning environment allows the education student an opportunity to explore various learning styles and develop individual study habits. The internet allows connections and networking across traditional boundaries, and removes the time-and-place constraints of the traditional classroom. Distance learning classes often have a cross-section of people, bringing richness to the interaction in the online classroom.
Is an online education degree faster than a traditional degree? The length of time to completion can depend upon how many (if any) credits you have when you begin the program. You will start with the basics or core classes, and then narrow your focus by moving into the specialization courses. Some students are able to take several courses at a time and complete their degree early. Many online degree programs are not structured around semesters or quarters; it is possible to take classes all year long, one right after the other. This will certainly speed up the total length of time it takes you to complete your degree.
What is the workload for an online education degree? As with any education degree, you can expect the workload to be significant. You will research and write papers, work on projects, develop curriculum, and design lesson plans. Much of what you will learn will be self-discovered through your texts and the online library. Today’s online classroom is typically interactive through forums where you will “discuss” by writing responses to the instructor’s written questions and to others’ responses.
What kind of time commitment does an online education degree require? Plan to spend several hours a week initially for the introductory courses, and several hours per day for advanced classes. Once you get used to learning online, you will find your rhythm and be able to structure your time. You will eventually hone your study habits and be able to work through assignments faster.
Will my online education degree be recognized by my state as a valid degree? As long as you attend an accredited program with state approvals, your degree is just as valid as a traditional degree. However, every state has its own specific requirements. You should review what those requirements are before making your final school choice. Your eligibility to teach often depends upon taking specific licensure tests.
Will an online education program prepare me for the Praxis? Most distance education degree programs include preparation for the Praxis, the test that evaluates academic skills and subject knowledge. There may be classes or seminars available to review topics prior to taking the test. Check with your school to see if they offer any specialized training.
Will an online degree prepare me for a traditional classroom? The traditional classroom of teachers lecturing students is almost extinct. Visit any classroom in your local school district and you will find technology in use. Computers, audiovisual equipment, special whiteboards, and ebooks allow the modern educator many more tools at his/her disposal. The goal of teaching is learning, and today’s internet-savvy students respond to the use of technology in a significant way. An online education degree will certainly prepare you for teaching in a traditional classroom or any other modality.
How do I complete my student teaching requirement? Most distance learning education programs encourage you to select a local school in which to do your student or demonstration teaching. Observers and advisors are assigned and you must show your competence in planning and in the classroom. Even if you are specialize in distance learning, you may be required to student teach in a traditional classroom.
Can I specialize in a particular field? Absolutely! In recent years, online universities have expanded their curriculums to include a number of specializations, including early childhood, middle school, high school, and special education, as well as school administration, curriculum development and adult education.
I want to specialize in distance education. Is that possible? Yes, you can! Think about how valuable your online education degree will be: not only can you teach online, you bring your experience as a student to your classroom. Your personal know-how will help your students be better prepared for their own learning experience.
Online learning creates self-motivated, disciplined students. When you earn a degree in education online, you will have fine-tuned the skills needed to be an effective educator in all types of classrooms. There is more good news: many universities now offer distance learning masters and doctoral degrees in education. If you have dreamed of a career as a teacher, make sure that you consider the benefits of earning an education degree online.