My Online Experience: What a Digital Degree Is Really Like

NCU graduation cords

A dozen years ago, there was skepticism about the rigor and academic outcomes from an online degree program. No more. Degrees earned from an online university don’t carry the stigma of not being a real degree – particularly for institutions that are accredited, have exceptional instructors, and programs aligned with today’s industries.

A 2015 article, The Effectiveness of Online Learning: Beyond No Significant Difference and Future Horizons by Vanderbilt University, noted that there were many studies, “…that find positive, statistically significant effects for student learning outcomes in the online or hybrid format compared to the traditional face-to-face format.” Some of the outcomes include improved test scores and greater perception of course materials.

So, what are the unique benefits of an online experience? The disadvantages? Read on for the real scoop.

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NCU MBA student Michele Pejlovas

There are multiple reasons to choose an online university, and Michele Pejlovas knows the benefits of the Northcentral University’s (NCU) learning platform from both sides.

She’s currently a Master of Business Administration (MBA) student and the Assistant Director of Admissions at the school. Her early experience as an Enrollment Advisor convinced her that schools that have a physical location were not for her.

“Online is an educational option that is in-line with today’s fast-paced world,” she said. “It’s the ease of it and the world that we live in today; online has opened up educational opportunities to everyone.”

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Access Advanced Resources

The opportunities to access and master current digital and online resources is a benefit of online learning. The tools are accessible on the learning platform and include:

  • Google Hangouts and Skype for meetings
  • Google Docs for collaborating on projects
  • Slack for easy communication
  • Other eLearning platforms

Pejlovas found the convenience useful and supportive of the pace of today’s busy lives, “Learning resources are laid out and readily available. Online education has changed over the years, everyone is adapting to the marketplace.”

No Physical Requirements

Traditional classrooms aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. A unique benefit of NCU’s online program is there are no physical requirements, it can be a completely online learning experience. As the Assistant Admissions Director, Pejlovas has heard students say one of the reasons they chose NCU was because of this benefit. “A big feature is no physical residency requirements,” she said. “Many online programs require a physical residency component and it’s a big deal that we don’t.”

One-to-One Engagement

NCU DBA student Freddy Armijo

Another unique feature of NCU’s online experience is the one-to-one engagement between students and their professors. This allows for more of a mentoring relationship, but Freddy Armijo, DBA and Marine credits his professors’ and advisors’ support for helping him graduate.

Armijo, specifically chose the online program at NCU because he wanted to focus on the theories, strategies and opinions from his professors, not classmates.

“If I didn’t have the one-on-one to wake me up, I wouldn’t have finished my degree,” he said. “I needed someone to understand, the professors were supportive and understanding but they still kept me accountable.”

Self-Motivation is Key

Both Pejlovas and Armijo agree that online students must be disciplined and self-directed to graduate, despite having resources to guide you through the program.

“When I came to NCU, I didn’t look for support,” Pejlovas said. “You’re responsible for the classes – your toes are held to the fire. There are reminders, but it’s up to you – you have to be self-motivated to succeed.”

The message to students who are considering online learning is you must be able to push yourself to study, complete assignments and turn them in. If you are not an organized self-starter, consider a traditional, brick-and-mortar school.

If you’d like to learn more about online learning at NCU, contact an advisor at 866-776-0331, or fill out the form below to request more information.