Berkeley College Online Debunks Popular Myths About Online Learning
A steady growth in online learning is not only evident at Berkeley College. A 2016 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board revealed that the number of students in the United States grew to 5.8 million. Yet, despite its growing popularity, there are still common myths about the validity of distance learning.
Myth 1: Undergraduate students do not have the skill set or discipline to handle the rigor of online classes.
Fact: Reputable institutions using best practices will evaluate a student’s skill set before enrolling him/her into an online program. Berkeley College requires the Road to Success in Online Learning course as a prerequisite to registering for online courses. This course designed to evaluate a student’s motivation, commitment and ability to function effectively in an online environment. Students who do not pass are not permitted to enroll in the online program.
Myth 2: Faculty who teach online courses are not subject to the same kind of teaching evaluation as those who teach face-to-face courses.
Fact: Faculty who teach online are evaluated more often than faculty who teach onsite. At Berkeley College, all faculty are evaluated by students through an evaluation process that occurs twice per year. In addition to the student evaluation process, all faculty who teach online are evaluated once per year by department chairs and seasoned faculty peers. All online courses are reviewed for compliance, quality, and effective practices during course preparation prior to the semester taught and during the term taught.
Myth 3: Faculty who teach online courses are not trained to teach online.
Fact: All faculty who endeavor to teach online at Berkeley College go through the Online Faculty Training Program. The training program prepares a faculty member to effectively engage students in an environment where a mix of multimedia and text-based lectures, assignments, and online discussion forums come together to meet course learning objectives. Faculty are mentored and supported throughout the term in the preparation of their courses by online department chairs, instructional designers, and the Office of the Dean, Online.
Myth 4: You cannot receive the same level of education in an online environment as you can on-site.
Fact: Accredited online programs are subject to the same rigorous standards as on-site programs. Berkeley College Online is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In addition, Berkeley College Online is one of only a handful of institutions worldwide to receive USDLA/QS certification for excellence in distance learning. These institutions have been evaluated using standards that focus on the areas of administration; leadership and management; student affairs; and teaching and learning.
Myth 5: Online students don’t have access to faculty or support services.
Fact: Berkeley College Online students can email faculty at any time, and they have additional access to instructors through discussion groups established for individual courses. In addition, distance learners at Berkeley College have access to the same support services as on-site students, including Academic Advisement, the Center for Academic Success, and Career Services.
Myth 6: Online students miss out on peer interaction.
Fact: Engaged online students benefit from more interaction with faculty members and other online students. In an online course, each student is able to participate in discussion forums whereas in a traditional classroom setting, there may not be sufficient time for every student to be heard when discussing a particular topic. Online groups may be created within online courses, where students may collaborate on projects and share ideas.
Myth 7: Online students miss out on a sense of college community.
Fact: Berkeley College Online campus life experiences include social media engagement, wellness and personal development programs, and virtual workshops that focus on student success. Distance learners can participate in numerous online clubs, including a book club, film club, or the Student Advisory Board.