Minimizing the Bumps of Your Master Degree Online Learning

Learn more on the strategies on how to minimize the bumps and stay ahead of the curve of your master degree online education.

Starting a master degree online course holds similar issues as those encountered in the traditional classroom setting.  Many students understand that course instructor preferences can vary greatly and such preferences can affect tests, assignments and even how the course itself is conducted.  Because the virtual classroom doesn’t provide the benefits of face-to-face meeting with the instructor, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the various aspects of online masters degree program before the actual start of the class to prevent potential anxiety and frustration.

Often, many students find out that the methods for contacting and communicating with the instructor varies.  Some instructors share their personal and professional email address or personal and office phone number.  As far as when to call the instructors, some will be open to communication both day and night, while others set certain hours and are only available during those periods.

Knowing when and how to contact the instructor will help you to lessen frustration and anxiety for both you and the course instructor when problems or questions arise.  Aside from contacting your instructor, you need to locate any support service information from your online school.  This is important because many master degree online programs provide different support services for their students.

In general, support services include the course advisors, technology support, library and the registrar.  The link for these services may be indicated either on the course home page or the institution’s home page.  Make sure you do a thorough review of the school’s website and familiarize the process of using these specialty support services.

Have this information hard copied so it is ready in case problems arise or if any information is needed.  Also, determine the hours of operations as well as the physical location of these student services.  There are situations where the advisors are located in California while the library is found in Kansas.

You have to know when to call in case you need assistance based on the time zones.  When assistance is offered, jot down what the IT personnel told you to do.  You may think that you can recall what was suggested, but it is very easy to forget the instructions when you are under pressure.

When it comes to assignments in a master degree online, it usually comes in variety.  Often, students are required to answer pre-assigned questions and post their written response.  Posting of assignments takes place either in the form of a discussion board or in a live chat room.

In a live chat room, assignments are completed in a synchronous approach when both the instructor and students are ‘connected’ at the same time.  All sides discuss their answers together so that students learn from each other’s insights.  Assignments done in an asynchronous way generally occurs on forums and discussion boards.

In this learning format, both students and instructors are not in the virtual classroom at the same time, but rather read and respond to assignments which are posted in one main location.  This kind of assignment selection is rooted from constructivism and theories on adult learning that offers students a worthwhile opportunity to learn from each other.  These assignments have also been believed to improve written communication skills since they require responses that are engaging and though provoking.

If there is one thing that online learners want above all else, it is scheduling flexibility.  This is the reason why many master degree online programs provide asynchronous courses that enable students to log in and take the classes at any time.  As such, make sure that the school offers both synchronous and asynchronous learning format, as sometimes, asynchronous courses could not equal the degree of interactivity that live courses offer.