There are probably thousands of things you could check when choosing an online university. However, from personal experience I recommend that you check at least these 7 things.
1. Is this online degree program offered by an accredited institution?
Accreditation is a nationwide system of checking the quality of the education you receive from a university or any other institution of higher education.
Only choose a program that is offered by an accredited university. Avoid enrolling in any courses since credits earned from any non-accredited institution can NOT be transferred. Degrees from not accredited institutions are also not accepted as entry requirement for higher, accredited degrees. For example, if you have a Bachelor from a not accredited university, you cannot enroll into an accredited MBA program.
2. Are the degrees offered equivalent to those on campus?
The online education on your resume should not only be good, but also look good. Some universities don’t differentiate between their online and offline programs.
3. Have the courses been specifically designed for online teaching?
Online teaching is not just traditional teaching done online.
Creating an effective course requires a thorough understanding of objectives and appropriate use of new media. Simply putting content online is by far not an online course. Online degree programs should explore all possibilities offered by multi-media platforms.
4. How do people interact with each other?
Communication is the key to success. Before enrolling ask yourself if you can interact with your colleges and how and when your teacher will answer your questions. Communication skills is one of the most important skills on the labour marketplace, so beware that you can develop these in your online degree program. Some online courses have indeed more interaction taking place than on-campus programs.
5. What services are offered to online students?
Customer service is not only there to attract new clients. It should be there to solve any problem. They will need to give you the security that all your needs are met and questions answered in professional and prompt matter.
6. Is technical support available?
Online degrees can be highly technical on the side of multi-media. Some people were apparently born know how to install this or that plug-in. However, I personally experience sometimes problems dealing with new technology and like to have a technical support at hand.
7. Does the institution has a track record?
If you tell me your past, I’ll tell you your future. With online education is the same. Knowing that they have done in the past is the best way of knowing what they will be like in the future. I personally got into online education through advice of friends, who have tested it before and obtained good results. Word of mouth is an excellent way of know what is going on.