Why Study an Online Degree?
Online education opens unprecedented opportunities for learning, bridging the gap between high quality credentials from top universities and those who want to learn, but have limited access because of schedules, funds, or geography.
Today’s possibilities are vast, but the online learning landscape is still relatively new. Approaching a more intensive program like a master’s degree can feel intimidating, especially if you’ve never encountered a massive open online course (MOOC) or participated in online learning before.
“I looked for courses at institutions near me but couldn’t find what I needed. Online learning brought resources from around the world to my door, and I was able to find the course I was looking for. Without online learning, I’m not sure how I would have closed the gap in my knowledge base.” – Ruchi Garg, a data analyst at IBM subsidiary The Weather Company.
Find Your Work-Life-Learn Balance
One of the biggest benefits of online courses is flexibility. Learners have the freedom to work full-time jobs, spend time with their families, and optimize their course time for when and where they learn best.
“The courses are efficient, effective, and incredibly flexible. I can set up my personal schedule and pick and choose when to listen to the lectures. I don’t have to sit in a classroom, push off my own career, and add stress to my life. Without a program like this, supply chain managers can struggle with having to self-teach and bring themselves up to speed on their own. The course teams and course content make this process easy – Danaka, a supply chain consultant in Canada.
Maximize Your Free Moments
Find pockets of down time like commuting or working out, or take advantage of free time right after work or lounging at home.
“The freedom to decide what and when to study was liberating. Regular trainings in my professional life require me to travel and stay in a hotel. With edX, I can learn Saturday and Sunday mornings directly from home!” – Andreas, an adjunct professor in Germany
Learn When and How You Learn Best
Flexibility also comes in learning through video content. Absorb and learn the information in the way that works best for you, whether it’s watching at a faster or slower speed or rewatching sections several times. In addition to maximizing free time, learners also find it helpful to balance the pace of coursework with the pace of their work life.
“I was able to be successful in these classes due to the self-paced nature of the courses. As a teacher, we have weeks that are wildly busy with projects, grading, grades closing, and more. I was able to power through coursework on my light weeks and snow days, and put it off when I needed to. I felt like was able to do coursework when I was rested and ready to learn – something that is not true of traditional courses.” – Jessica, a middle school teacher
Schedule Your Time Effectively
Especially when you’re new to online learning, it can help to be diligent from the start. Make your learning time a structured routine.
“The flexibility of edX allowed me to pace my learning to suit my lifestyle and abilities. I was very skeptical about my success but committed to spending at least an hour every day working on the courses. For the first few days, it was challenging to sit through, but by the end of the third week, not only I was enjoying the course work, I was logging 3-4 hours easily.” – Venkat, a supply chain consultant in California
Learn and Connect With a Top-Notch Global Community
Access to top-ranked programs comes with connections to both world-class professors and a global community of passionate classmates. Hear how edX learners enjoyed connecting with their communities, from participating in the forums to networking with fellow professionals:
“What I liked the most was the convenience of taking the class online. I also liked the interaction with cloud computing faculty at UMUC and how quick they were able to respond to students’ questions.” – Anderson, a cloud solutions architect in Maryland
Presentation is Everything: Look for Online-First Programs
edX online courses are designed for online learning, where presentation is key. Recordings of on-campus classes don’t always cut it — be on the lookout for programs that demonstrate an understanding of online learning as a unique environment with its own strengths and opportunities for engagement.
“While completing the courses, I was most impressed by the way that the material was presented. It was exciting! Also, the mixture of quizzes and short videos helped me to remain engaged.” – Harleen, a data security specialist and consultant at Microsoft
Leverage Your Learning to Get That Promotion or Change Careers
As the pace of technology hastens, skills gaps widen. Companies are increasingly looking for employees with a versatile mix of human skills, business enabler skills, and digital building blocks skills that often aren’t transferable from degrees working professionals may have received years ago. Online courses provide the opportunity to gain skills in these areas and set yourself apart, in your current company or future endeavors.
Professional Courses Online
Develop additional skills to improve yourself to get ahead in your career or to just bulk up your resume.
- FREE Professional Skills courses – Learn online from Harvard, MIT, Microsoft and more
- FREE Data Analytics courses – Learn online from Harvard, MIT, Microsoft and more
Just Get Started! Three Next Steps and Final Words of Encouragement
Not sure you’re ready to apply to a full online master’s program? Here are three steps you can take towards exploring your options.
- Try before you buy: edX courses are designed to be stackable, with the option of stacking courses into certificates or degrees. For example, some learners will try a professional certificate course to test the waters, go on to complete a series of graduate-level courses that stack into a MicroMasters® program, and then apply to the university offering credit for the program and pursue an accelerated master’s degree.
- Check with your employer: Does your company offer tuition or digital learning reimbursements? If no or you’re not sure, suggest edX For Business to your manager.
- Get inspired: Read these final words of encouragement from our learners to motivate yourself to get started:
“I would tell new edX students to simply have fun. edX is such an amazing online learning platform. Some courses may be challenging, but have fun, try the exams and assignments to the best of your ability, and simply enjoy the class because edX courses are really enjoyable.” – Mikella, a student in St. Lucia