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Baby Boomers Attending Online College

This group has a bit of a learning curve when it comes to online college technology, and learning the terminology is a good way of getting up to speed quickly.

By: Tim Burns

A study conducted by the University of Kansas revealed that older adults adjusted to the online delivery method for college courses and reported higher satisfaction ratings than other studied groups. The National Center of Education Statistics reported more than half a million non-traditional students enrolled in colleges are baby boomers. This group has a bit of a learning curve when it comes to online college technology, and learning the terminology is a good way of getting up to speed quickly. After all, college isn’t only for the student fresh out of high school anymore.

First, you’ll need to know how to find the right class. Services such as College Online LLC enable you to search for hundreds of schools and thousands of degrees online. You may also call local colleges and inquire about enrolling in an online class.

Online College Terms to Know

Synchronous and asynchronous classes: This refers to the way classes are scheduled. With synchronous classes, you log on at the same time as a professor for your classes. This type of scheduling works well if you want to have live lectures you can ask questions about. It gives your learning more of a structure. Asynchronous classes are when you log in on your own schedule to look through class readings, recorded lectures and other material. This type of schedule works well for a self-motivated student.

Video conferencing: This is a video chat software or feature that allows you and the other students in the class to be in a conference with the teacher. Some online course software has this built in, while other professors use third party software for this purpose. Find out the software requirements prior to the class starting so you have time to test it. Google Hangout and Skype are popular conferencing options.

Forum: A forum is a discussion board where you interact with the professor and other students. These boards are generally used for announcements and group discussions about the course. Typically, forums are built into the course software used by the college.

Hybrid classes: Not all classes are solely online. Some courses, such as those with a lab requirement, use a hybrid method. Your lectures and readings are done through the online course portal, while labs are done in person. This is common for science classes such as geology and biology.

Proctored tests: Some schools require all of your test taking to be done at a specific test center or on campus. These tests are proctored, and require you to schedule in a slot for your test and quiz taking. This may be the case for all of your tests, or only the final.

Course Management System: The course management system refers to the software used by the online college to deliver courses to you. Some colleges use one unified system, while others allow their professors to choose the platform they enjoy the most. It’s designed to connect potential students with online classes that fit their needs, so make sure you find classes that have management methods you are comfortable with.

About the Author:
Tim Burns is a high school educator from Billings.

Photo: tutorvista2011