In the early days of online education, serious students viewed the entire concept with great skepticism. And for valid reasons: dial-up Internet connections were too slow, educational institutions popped up out of nowhere that no one had ever heard of, and the list goes on. But technology is forever improving. Below are several reasons why today’s distance learning options are fantastic options for those who are seeking a quality education from an online nursing school.
Since 1993,Wired magazine has chronicled the effects of technology on culture, politics and the economy. A recent article (Lena Groeger’s “An iPad University: Giving It the Old College Try”) recounts features of the virtual school experience, creating the means for online connection between students.
- Many courses today have progressed well beyond one lackluster slide after another. Broadband connections have greatly improved the streaming videos that make an online classroom come alive. Students can now see and hear their instructor deliver a prepared lecture, often in real-time.
- Connecting with fellow students is a reality, due to an assemblage of technologies resembling a mash up of Skype, Facebook and Twitter. Groeger reports students use video chats to speak with classmates and receive notifications when a professor posts a new grade. Outside of class, students view the course “wall” to verify changes in classroom schedule, check grades, read an attached file from the instructor or watch a supplemental video. Who would have dreamed 10 years ago that this would be a common reality today?
- Can you imagine a lively and spirited classroom debate – where ideas and opinions are shot around the room like an elementary school game of dodgeball? Today’s online discussion boards allow real-time conversation with a group of students (minus the dodgeballs, of course). In our multicultural world, this can be an interesting way to open a student’s mind to new ideas, thoughts and ways of problem solving. Imagine the interesting dialogues that might happen between students from all walks of life, from all over the globe.
Implications for online students recently exploded with the release of Google upgrades, including the release of Google+. According toWiredmagazine (Tim Carmody’s “Google+ Suddenly Looks Pretty Busy for a Ghost Town”), more than half of the new features to the desktop version of Google+ relate to the popular feature named “Hangouts.” Upgrades permit users to specify whom they would like to “hang” with. Additional features relate to Google Docs, allowing hangout members to work collectively on word processing and spreadsheet documents. So imagine you live in South Florida and you have two classmates, one lives in Central Texas and one is deployed oversees in the military. You can all collaborate, creating a project together. According to Carmody, Hangout participants can also access the new generation of Google+ apps from their smartphones. In general, Google is moving toward a continuity of features between the mobile and desktop versions.
These technological improvements can open the door to personal and professional fulfillment. Benefits to earning a master’s degree in nursing include:
- Qualifying for management or teaching positions
- Becoming eligible for board certification
- Attaining better opportunities at possibly higher salaries
Numerous reputable and regionally accredited universities offer an online format of their MSN degrees. A student choosing these degree options would generally benefit from:
- Participation in the online classroom, available 24/7; leaving your home, job and family would not be a barrier.
- Ability to complete the MSN degree in two years or less; completing course work anytime and anywhere.
- Access to faculty and fellow classmates via discussion boards, live chats and a dedicated email system.
Before you dismiss the notion of earning a higher degree in nursing, consider the online options. It may be just what you are seeking – the means to “upgrade” your career without uprooting your life.