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Benefits of Online Learning for Non-Traditional Students

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Shorter University (SU) offers a variety of online programs to fit the unique needs of each student. Our programs are offered in accelerated eight-week terms that are 100% online. That means our students never have to commute! However, all SU students have the option to come to campus to use the library and other on-campus resources. Our online programs are formatted so that students never have to log on at a specific date or time; instead, they follow weekly due dates that are specific to each course; this feature gives our program the flexibility that most of our students need. As such, our online program is great for anyone that works, has a family or just a busy life and needs the option of flexibility.  With that being said, here are our top five benefits to online learning:

1. Reflective and Collaborative: Online learning is engaging to the learner because it allows for reflective and collaborative thought processes. Studies have shown that learner-to-learner interaction results in the most effective learning.

2. Improved Performance: Online learning can open the doors to communication between peers and students. As a result, students who integrate technology into their coursework outperform students who do not because they are forced to use critical thinking and strategic planning in a whole new way.

3. A sense of Community: While many programs that are exclusively online can lead students to feelings of aloneness and anonymity, the online program we offer is designed in such a way that students are encouraged to foster a community atmosphere with the availability of on-campus resources and the ability to communicate with their professor and/or with other students. A great benefit we offer our students is the ability to talk with their professors either online or by phone during set office hours each week.

4. One Program, Many Approaches, Lots of Flexibility: Many people have the preconception that online learning has to have one distinct look. However, we challenge that norm and provide our instructors with resources and training that allows them to tailor assignments to fit the needs of their students.

Additionally, our program is very flexible. Classes last eight weeks, and each week students receive assignments to       complete. Typically, there are no fixed times when students need to be online; therefore, students have a good deal of flexibility in how they organize their studies day-by-day – making this program ideal for working adults, those currently serving in military and/or those with a family.

5. Virtual Communication: The inclusion of virtual communication, such as online chats, increases the social aspect of online learning. At SU, online classes are accessed using a web browser and take place in what is known as a Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS that SU uses is called Canvas. In Canvas, a student can view the course materials for the class, send messages to the professor or to other students, take part in online discussions and chats, take quizzes and easily submit assignments.

Alternate education models, such as our online program, are vital to the needs of our present and future society. In fact, different disciplines can effectively use technology in new ways when it comes to online learning, and we are proof! Check out our online program today to lead yourself down the path to a better tomorrow.