Deciding whether the cyber classroom will be the right learning environment for you can be a tough task.
Not everyone is suited to distance learning . You won't have tutors there to hold your hand, you won't be able to engage in the conversational-based seminars, and you'll need a heck of a lot more motivation than the average student - but don't let all that put you off! There are plenty of compelling arguments for online postgraduate study.
At the end of the day you have to do what is right for your individual personality and circumstances. Whatever you decide, keep the following in mind when determining whether online postgraduate study will suit you.
Self Discipline and Motivation are Essential Due to the flexibility that online postgraduate study offers, students require a certain degree of self discipline and motivation to be successful. It's easy to put an assignment off when you don't have the added worry of bumping into your tutor. If you're the sort of person that requires that extra push to spur yourself into action, then distance learning may not be the right avenue for you.
To achieve success you will need to set realistic, achievable goals and self-imposed deadlines. What about combining work and study - are you ready for that? Do you have the necessary discipline to set aside a certain amount of hours each week, and possibly on weekends, when you've got the added responsibility of a full-time job?
Solitude is to be Expected If you've always found that you work better alone then you'll thrive at online postgraduate study. If, on the other hand, you crave social interaction, you need to seriously ask yourself how well you will cope without this support system being in place. It is easy to become demoralised when you're spending a lot of time studying alone.
Thanks to technology there will always be plenty of opportunities to mingle with your virtual classmates, either through interactive lessons and lectures, or designated chat rooms set up by your course instructor. Establishing these essential communication links with other home study students is great, but it won't compensate for what you would experience by attending a university or college.
You'll have to Juggle Commitments If you have a young family at home and/or a hectic social life, fitting online postgraduate study into your already busy schedule might just be the straw that could break the camel's back. If your life is already jam-packed, chances are you won't have enough time to dedicate to home study to achieve the best results.
As well as dedicating a specific portion of your time to your newly embarked upon studies, you'll also have to continue to honour your existing commitments, as well as find time to let off steam and have fun! Overloading yourself is a recipe for disaster. Before diving in headfirst eliminate some of your other commitments or try holding off until you have more free time available.
A Suitable Working Environment is a Necessity If you're planning on choosing to study online then you will need to make sure you have a suitable working environment . Obviously you're going to need a computer, but you'll also need a quiet location within your home in which to study where you won't be disturbed. If you've got screaming kids running around distractions will be rife. Then there are the general everyday distractions that could keep you from your studies too such as chores, neighbours, and pets.
Having a suitable working environment isn't just a worry for those studying from home either. If you're choosing online postgraduate study because you work away or travel regularly, consider if studying in these conditions is a viable option. How realistic is it that you will be able to concentrate whilst on the go?
Now it's down to you...
There is no doubt that online postgraduate study is an amazing alternative for many students. Without it, hundreds of thousands of people wouldn't have the opportunity to follow their dreams of furthering their education.
Whatever you decide, be sure to take these invaluable factors into consideration.