Can you finish a degree online? “Young Bits” – Chapter 2

Education has become an increasingly important factor in the labour market. Leaving education early can have significant consequences for the individual, as well as for society, in the long term, so, as youth workers, we need to be aware of all the opportunities available to support young people in their educational development.

The overall dropout rate for college students is statistically significant in many European countries, with lots of youngsters dropping out before their final year. Dropping out of higher education is a complex process and students have very different reasons for leaving university without obtaining a degree, but this is not our topic here.

To answer our question – yes, you can complete a degree online. In today’s world, from the ivy leagues to junior college, many different types of institutions offer online courses, certifications, and degrees. So, if conventional school commitments and studying full-time on-campus do not work for the youngsters anymore, it might be a good idea to transfer their attention toward an online degree.

The flexibility of an online learning format lets students arrange coursework around professional and personal responsibilities, allowing them to complete a variety of programs throughout the country without the need to relocate. In plus, usually there is no difference between a bachelor’s degree you earn on campus and the degree you earn online.

Here’s what you can expect from a top-quality, student-centered online college course:

  • Live, online meet sessions where you can learn from and collaborate with your instructor and peers;
  • Interactive virtual assignments, including group projects and virtual presentations that help you learn through collaboration and first-hand experience;
  • Multifaceted learning experiences, including videos, illustrations, gamification, interactive polls, quizzes and more;
  • Industry-standard tools and technology integrated into each course for hands-on learning applied to real-world challenges;
  • Case studies used to help translate theory into practical and professional knowledge;
  • Recorded lectures and activities for students who can’t attend classes or for reviewing course content;

So, if you want to provide the correct guidance to the youngsters and support them to find the best studying opportunity, here are some tools that may help you:

    • Distancelearningportal – Part of the Studyportals websites Suite, it helps students around the world to discover thousands of online courses worldwide! The platform was founded to solve students’ problems and is fuelled by a strong belief in the value of international experiences. They are collaborating with both student and academic organizations worldwide so they provide a great overview of the fast-growing number of studying opportunities online.
    • Class Central – an aggregator of courses from many providers that will help you find the best courses on almost any subject, wherever they exist. It allows you very specific browsing based on the criteria you need, from the subject, provider, university, and institution to rankings based on quality, popularity, and costs.
    • The DAAD is an association of German institutions of higher education and their student bodies which provides an experienced intermediary between university systems and a worldwide network of external partners. The DAAD itself does not offer programs of study or courses, but awards competitive, merit-based grants for use toward study and/or research in Germany at any of the accredited German institutions of higher education. Although their online degree offer is not big, they are moving towards so you can find some interesting options. 
    • GetEducated is a free online counseling center for adult students. Their mission is to help consumers make informed choices on college degrees by providing research tools to review and compare more than 15,000 online degree programs. Since studying in the USA is not a cheap choice, even for an online degree, so this may help you to find the best option for you.
    • Udemy is an open online course provider aimed at professional adults and students. The platform has more than 52 million students, 196,000 courses, and 68,000 instructors teaching courses in over 75 languages. Udemy courses are typically well-organized, informative, and not very costly, so, for most students, the classes are worth the money. The platform provides also free classes.
    • edX is an American open online course provider created by Harvard and MIT. It hosts online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide student body, including some courses at no charge. edX courses consist of weekly learning sequences. Each learning sequence is composed of short videos interspersed with interactive learning exercises, where students can immediately practice the concepts from the videos. The courses often include tutorial videos that are similar to small on-campus discussion groups, an online textbook, and an online discussion forum where students can post and review questions and comments to each other and teaching assistants. EdX offers certificates of successful completion and some courses are credit-eligible.
    • Coursera Inc. an open online course provider founded by two professors of Stanford University. Coursera works with universities and other organizations to offer online courses, certifications, and degrees in a variety of subjects. Coursera courses last approximately four to twelve weeks, with one to two hours of video lectures a week. These courses provide quizzes, weekly exercises, peer-graded and reviewed assignments, an optional Honors assignment, and sometimes a final project or exam to complete the course. Courses are also provided on-demand, in which case users can take their time in completing the course with all of the material available at once.

The content for this post is part of our online campaign called “Young Bits” which aims to increase the quality of Digital Youth Work by providing the interested parties with knowledge and tools that exist on the internet, but are not structured in a handy manner. The campaign represents the main result of the project „DIgital Technology as a TOol”, a training course that was financed with the support of the European Commission through Erasmus+ Programme. This blog reflects only the author’s views, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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