By Amanda Cinquemani
As the importance and convenience of technology increases in today’s society, the trend of online education also needs to be considered. Georgia Perimeter College understands the importance of offering the option of online education, and according to GPC’s website, we are the largest online program in the entire University System of Georgia. This includes 15 online degrees. Cost is another deciding factor, and online courses at GPC are affordable, at $99 per credit hour. This rate applies to both in-state (resident) and out-of-state (non-resident) students.
As universities across the country strive to meet students’ demands, we must ask ourselves why is online- education valuable to current and future students?
“Online education is popular because it is flexible, versatile and it allows students to overcome everything from schedule challenges to job relocation, “ said Dr.Gregory Murray, Assistant Professor of English and Honors Program Coordinator for the Online Campus.“Online education is new, and many students are unfamiliar with it. Our professors find new ways of engaging students, of opening their eyes to new ideas and strategies and practices, of helping them succeed.”
The Fox Business article “Higher Education Trends to Watch for in 2013” by Emily Driscoll quotes Adam Newman, managing partner at Education Growth Advisors as he explained “The college experience is slowly shifting off campus and into the internet as students seek out multiple sources for their educational experience.”
There are a variety of factors to consider when deciding if online education is the right choice for you. Self-motivation and time management are key, especially since online classes do not include specific dates and times to meet for class. These dates and times are at the student’s discretion, as course deadlines and day-to-day obligations are taken into account.
Jeanna Chapman, Coordinator for Student Success for GPC’s Online Student Success Team recommends that students “Be invested…commit to doing well academically by being a good steward of your time. It is important to structure and dedicate a select day and time of studying for your courses. Students should maintain an ongoing and open communication with their instructor and online classmates in order to create an online community of support.”
Sharriette Finley is also a Coordinator for Student Success, and she adds to this point by pointing out that “Taking online classes requires a lot of self-discipline. Though the class structure is more convenient, the classes are not easier. A lot of time and focus is required to do your best.”
Georgia Perimeter College strives to keep online students engaged and included as part of the GPC community. According to Finley, “any online student that registers for a minimum of one on-campus course will pay a student activity fee as part of their registration.” This means they can participate in any campus student life activities that interest them.
As for students that choose to take all online classes, there are a variety of online clubs they can join. Depending on your interest, you may be interested in joining the Online Business Club, the Online Physical Education Club, or the Online Math Club. Also, all GPC students have the opportunity to be a part of the Online Student Success Community at GPC’s eLounge, which includes forums on a wide range of topics from exchanging books with other students, getting help with classes, obtaining information and leads on employment, and discussing art.
Georgia Perimeter College has many online opportunities and a great team to assist students as they decide which course and degree options best suit them. Students just need to be sure they consider how these opportunities meet their needs, if they fit with their method of learning, and how they help them achieve their goals.