Earning a Teaching Degree Online Tips

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How do I get to know my professors and classmates with an online degree?

Getting The Most From Virtual Teachers

One advantage of taking an online class is having the flexibility of taking the class in your living room, but one of the disadvantages is not meeting your instructor or classmates face to face. The peer-to-peer and instructor-student interaction can add significantly to a college education and experience, so how does a cyber-student gain such a perspective?

What about the instructor? If you live within easy driving distance from the college or where the professor's office is, schedule a teacher-student conference to get you both acquainted and give you an idea who the professor is, their personality, and their expectations. Ask for feedback from the instructor and constantly keep an open form of dialogue going. If you're feeling daring, invite the instructor to a study session so he/she can place a face with those email addresses. This also tells the instructor you are there to learn and are taking the initiative to make yourself known.

How can I learn to teach?

Practical Experience With Online Classrooms

Traditional degree plans will require actual classroom time as a teacher's assistant in order to earn an education degree. Online degrees may vary with their requirements but if you are not required to have practical experience as a teachers aide or the equivalent, pursue the option anyway. Textbook situations only give a basic idea of what a teacher will experience. Since all children are different and textbooks cannot account for every scenario, it's to your benefit to volunteer or inquire about earning credit through working as a teacher's assistant. This gives you a better outlook and perspective of how to handle a room full of fourth graders after lunch time or one of the best methods of teaching first period algebra to a group of high school freshmen.

Check with local schools, churches, volunteer organizations (Teachers Count, United Way, Boys and Girls Clubs of America), and community colleges.

Teacher-student interaction cannot be taught through textbooks or lectures, it has to be experienced. You have to find out how you'll handle an unruly teenager, an uninterested classroom of fifth graders, or a self-conscience adult returning to school. In the end, it will better prepare you for your first day of school as an educator and may even land you your first job.

Will I get more out of a traditional or online degree?

Online Education Degree Cirriculum

The great debate continues over whether a student gets more out of a traditional class setting versus an online class. The variety of classes may be more diverse at a larger university or college, but this can be dependent on the institution. Many large colleges only offer certain classes during certain semesters, locking a student into a degree plan or route that may or may not be conducive to life commitments.

Compare traditional and online college curriculums if you aren't sure about classes offered or what the best education degree route is for you. Talk to a counselor and other students from both online and traditional schools to see which option works best for you.

Keep in mind that even if a traditional classroom setting may offer more of a variety, if the student doesn't attend class or complete the required assignments, they will get about as much out of their degree as they put into it. The same applies to an online student, if you sign up and don't do the required work, you will get no more out of the class.

Is an online degree a second class degree?

Earning A Teaching Degree Online vs. Traditional Classroom

The Internet is changing the world everyday. Students take classes from professors half way around the world and events that were only on the pages of newspapers are now at our fingertips to see.

Colleges and universities are taking advantage of the Internet's wealth of possibilities by offering classes and online degrees. Penn State, Tulane University, and Villanova University are just a few of the universities offering online degrees to those who need more flexible class schedules. But are online degrees as valuable as a traditional degree?

“Academically, online degrees are equally rigorous, and in many cases more difficult than traditional programs,” explains S. Lee Beaumont, Director of Administrative Affairs, Distance Learning & Graduate Studies, Liberty University. “The bottom line is regardless of how your classes are delivered, the benefit a student receives from his/her education is based on how much effort a student puts into his/her studies.”

Can I take both online and traditional classes?

Taking Both Online And Traditional Classes

Mixing online and traditional classes can give you a variety of perspectives, but take caution with this approach. You may find that the school you wish to attend won't accept your online class for transfer credits. The best advice is talk to counselors on both ends. There are some colleges and universities that offer both traditional and online classes but again, make sure they apply to your degree plan and get it in writing.


Interacting With Other Online Students

One way to gain interaction with other students is to form a virtual study group or, if the online group is made of students in the same city/town, plan an in-person study group. If you live in a larger city and the college you are attending has multiple students in your area, suggest all meeting the same time and place each week for study sessions. This can help with the isolation aspect of taking classes at home as well as interaction with other classmates on the subject at hand. Discussing the lectures and working together is also a great way to retain the information and better apply it when test time rolls around.

How can I study with life distractions?

Motivating In An Online Study Environment

Home life, school commitments, and work projects will continuously keep your day occupied. With all the commotion, how can a person be expected to thrive in a virtual study environment? One word: Routine. Here are some other tips that will help you succeed in your online learning environment:

(1) Choose the things that simply take too much of your time such as surfing the Internet, answering the phone, and chatting with your nosy neighbor. Cut out any unnecessary activities, television shows, or duties.

(2) Delegate chores to family members. Children are eager to emulate their parents (even when they don't act like it) and giving them a way to help you succeed so you can spend more time together is a great way to keep them occupied. Word of advice, don't freak out when the kids fold the towels differently than you do, just be glad the laundry is done.

(3) Continue to check in with the positive and supportive people in your life.

(4) For working parents, sometimes the hardest distraction is the one that's most dear--the children. Day care can be very expensive so other options to consider: your best friend or trusting neighbor, trading with other working/returning to school parents for study or class time, and never underestimate the power of the grandparents.

(5) Set up "virtual study groups" and meet the same time each week.

(6) Reward yourself with things you love. If you have to watch "Desperate Housewives" on Sundays, tape or digital record the show and use it as a reward for finishing an assignment.

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Jerry Mayo