Online learning is a great opportunity to further your education, but it takes a little research to make sure that it is a legitimate opportunity. No one wants to be taken advantage of; however, the U.S. Department of Education reports that some online colleges can be diploma mills, handing out worthless certificates and diplomas. Other programs may have legitimate credentials, but the program or teaching may be lacking. Researching an online learning opportunity can ensure you get a quality education.
1.Check to make sure an online high school is accredited. Any online school offering a high school diploma has to be accredited by the state in which it is offering the diploma. Legitimate diplomas have to be state issued. Contact your state’s education department to verify the accreditation.
2.Verify the accreditation of online colleges. Ask the online college about its accreditation. Then, check whether the agency is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Then contact the accrediting agency to verify.
3.Contact the Better Business Bureau. Find out if the online school has had complaints filed against it and, if so, how did it resolve the complaints.
4.Verify that the instructor’s certification. Instructors teaching any grade level online course should meet state teaching standards and should be able to produce credentials when asked.
5. Ask for a syllabus or course outline. Online programs should provide thorough course descriptions and outlines for its courses, according to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.
6. Evaluate the online program. The International Association for K-12 Online Learning reports that good online programs will provide group instruction that includes group interaction and frequent instructor feedback. The instructor should lead online discussion groups, provide structure to activities and provide additional resources to students.