Dream tools for your online degree

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In our digital world almost everything is available online – including a world-class university education.

With more internet-based offerings, university students can access a wide array of full degree programs. From bachelor degrees to doctorates, community colleges to Ivy Leagues; online learning is booming.

It’s not hard to see why. Online learning boasts many benefits. Anyone can access it so long as they have an internet connection, which means less hassle with transport to get to a brick-and-mortar institution. For international students, this removes the trouble of getting a visa and the cost of relocating to a country thousands of miles away.

For postgraduate students, there’s the added boon of being able to remain in your career or maintain other commitments, but still advance your professional goals to keep up with the global economy.

A 2016 Adult Learner Motivations and Expectations study by Pearson found that 72 percent of adults who are enrolled, or planning to enroll, in a degree or certificate program in the next two months say “they will need additional education to keep up with advancements in their field in the next five years.”

This partially explains why demand for online degrees are on the rise, while overall higher education enrollments are declining. According to a 2017 survey by Best Colleges, an overwhelming majority (98 percent) of universities report that demand is either increasing or has stayed the same for the past few years.

“Learning is no longer limited to four walls – learning can happen anywhere – and it already is happening everywhere, every day,” says Todd Hitchcock, Senior Vice President of Online Solutions at Pearson Learning Solutions.

Still, some concerns remain. Will distance impact contact hours with lecturers? Can you still access career advisors and social settings that enhance the collegiate experience?

At the University of New Mexico (UNM), you can put those worries aside.

Anne Compton, Associate Director at the Center for Academic Support, says: “As online students, you’ll have a lot to balance. We all have busy lives with work, family and friends. But you’ll be scheduling your time to watch lectures, do coursework, participate in discussion boards, and write papers. With planning and effort, you can succeed in your online courses.”

UNM’s Managed Online Programs – online courses offered five times a year in eight-week formats – provide many incentives for working professionals to pursue their academic dreams.

The reasons are well-reported; it’s flexible – working adults tailor their study schedule around commitments, or even restart their program multiple times during the year. It’s cheaper – full Master’s programs here are affordable whether you’re an in-state, out-of-state, or international student.

Quality is assured – UNM’s online programs have been continuously accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1922. The New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) recognises that UNM is authorised to offer programs in post-secondary education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. All Managed Online Programs are designed according to Quality Matters (QM) standards.

But what really sets UNM apart from others is its wide range of support services.

Student support is available as soon as you enroll. Through each step of admissions, an Enrollment Coach will be assigned to guide you through the process. Meanwhile, UNM Online Student Support connects online students with the tools and resources needed to be successful in their program of study.

Personalised insight and regular communication with lecturers are key features at UNM. The Center for Academic Support (CAPS) provides a range of services, including interactive online tutoring, which helps students meet the challenges of their courses and develop the critical thinking skills that empower academic success.

Anne Compton, Associate Director at CAPS, says: “We have resources that will help you succeed as an online student.

“At CAPS, we know that asking for help isn’t always easy, but no one succeeds alone. Successful students use resources and get connected to the university. One great way to make sure you meet your goals and stay on track in your online courses is to reach out to our online tutors.”

At the Online Learning Center (OLC), between 5-10pm, Sunday-Thursday, students can connect with tutors specialising in economics, Spanish, management, statistics, biology, algebra and physics.

For those writing papers, the Graduate Online Writing Lab (GrOWL) lets students submit academic papers  or even résumés online 24/7, for a personalised review on style, sentence structure, grammar and general flow, offered by consultants who are PhD students and have been trained to provide peer review feedback.

Instructional and learning assistance is available for some online courses, too. Here, students receive feedback and answer questions in ways that help deepen their understanding and engagement with course materials.

For graduate students, the Graduate Resource Center (GRC) connects learning communities across UNM through writing, statistics and research support. These are facilitated by peer consultations and workshops that help students develop strategies to be effective academics, researchers and professionals. Through this center, UNM increases graduate student retention and reduces time to degree completion. Since online graduate students are considered the same as full-time campus students, they are able to access GRC services, too.

With these tools, an online degree from UNM is a quality investment for your career in this digital age.

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