Online degree programs have gained immense popularity recently, especially for medical students. Cost-effectiveness, flexibility, self-paced learning, and less stringent admission requirements of online degrees appeal to many aspiring students and busy professionals. But despite these advantages, online degree programs can be challenging if you do not manage your studies and time well.
You may experience more challenges if your degree program is extensive. For instance, the flexibility of online degrees can challenge some with time management issues. Self-paced coursework can make them more relaxed. No face-to-face interaction with peers and teachers and hands-on practice opportunities can affect their interest in their chosen program.
Nonetheless, it primarily depends on the institute you select to pursue your online medical degree. Most online institutes offer the perfect blend of self-paced learning with practical exposure. So, if you’re a healthcare aspirant or full-time healthcare worker pursuing online degrees, the tips shared below will prove valuable in enhancing your academic experience.
1. Check The Accreditation of The Selected Program
Before selecting the institute for your medical studies, ensure it is accredited. Accreditations offer the assurance that the program and institute follow the quality standards crucial to preparing and training students. If your degree program has no value or recognition, you’ll fail to get a license to practice. Eventually, you will not be eligible to advise or treat patients in a professional setting without professional licensure.
So, for healthcare aspirants willing to pursue online degrees, checking the accreditation is crucial. For instance, if you’re planning to earn a psychology degree, only enroll in online accredited psychology degree programs.
Accreditation is also an equivalence parameter to equate an online degree to an on-campus one for employment opportunities. You can work in a healthcare facility or open a clinic for self-practice.
2. Use Time Wisely
Efficient use of time has incontestable benefits for everyone, but academic and professional endeavors demand more self-discipline and time management. Online degrees are also time-bound and require seriousness and time commitment. So, follow a schedule to avoid needless troubles. Manage other commitments and responsibilities and schedule your time as you would for an on-campus degree program.
If you have classes, virtual discussions, or meetings that clash with your upcoming commitments, postpone and adjust the latter. You will fall behind others if you exploit your program’s flexibility and miss important assignments.
3. Learn to Use Technology and Software
The curriculum of medical studies focuses on theory, books, hands-on practice, and exams to prepare students. Since they hardly use personal phones to study PPT or PDF documents, they know little about new technologies, applications, and software programs.
However, online degrees are different than on-campus studies. You will use mobile applications and software programs you have never heard of, and there are no exemptions. Whether technology jargon spins your head or you struggle with software, you must learn some frequently used applications, such as Google Meet, Google Classroom, Zoom, Quizlet, Kahoot, and other apps and platforms. If you do not know how to use these apps, you will have trouble signing in for classes, checking your class schedule, or accessing your assignments. So, learn frequently used mobile apps to get the best out of your online studies.
4. Avoid Burnout and Fatigue
Since medical studies are demanding, students try to learn, practice, and achieve excellent grades. Online education requires more commitment and self-study to ensure students grasp everything well. As a result, many find online studies more time-consuming and exhausting because you are glued to your screens even after live lectures. Follow-up assignments, quizzes, and redundant surfing will consume your free time if you have poor time management. More sitting and screen time for follow-up assignments and redundant surfing increase physical and mental fatigue and stress.
Hence, manage your workload efficiently. Engage as much as necessary and leave your desk after finishing your work. Set time limits to complete your work and utilize free time for other healthy activities and rest. If your mind is over-occupied, you cannot perform better and achieve anticipated results. Follow a systematic studying method and allow your mind to process and grasp.
5. Follow Instructions Properly
Online learning is different than on-campus physical classes. Technological advancements have simplified learning, but nothing beats face-to-face interaction and discussion within the classroom. You will miss much of a live lecture, discussion, quiz, or exam if you experience sign-in delays, connectivity issues, or other technical glitches. But you can prevent many such problems if you are attentive before and during class and follow instructions.
For instance, log in a few minutes before the start of a session to follow the instructor’s guidelines as they begin the lecture and session. If you miss something, ask your instructor right away. Listen or read all instructions to prevent troubles during a live session. Teachers may utilize diverse task-specific applications for quizzes, assignments, presentations, and other study-related activities. If you are a first-time user of a specific application or program, check tutorials beforehand.
6. Beware of Cybersecurity Threats and Online Bullying
Round-the-clock connectivity to the internet for diverse uses increases the chances of exploitation and fraud. Though no one is immune to cybersecurity threats, harassment, and bullying attacks, lack of awareness and poor technological know-how have intensified these incidents for students, children, and other vulnerable groups. According to a survey report, 23% of students engaged in cyberbullying to harm someone. Among them, 27% confessed they received the same treatment from someone else during their online presence. But what is more concerning is that such incidents can be distracting, time-consuming, and fatiguing when you have time-bound commitments. Some even go to the point of self-harm.
Therefore, beware of virtual world challenges. Increase your awareness of cybersecurity threats and study methods and measures to secure your online presence. Perpetrators can access and steal your information through surfing and logins to risky websites or when you share personal information on social media. So, practice caution and double-check the website when searching for study material or other resources.
Online options for studying medicine or other healthcare fields have simplified academic pursuits for many. Both beginners and professionals have more flexibility and choice to pursue a full-time or part-time degree program without compromising other commitments. But do not take flexibility for granted. Online degrees also require commitment, time management, and effort if you want to see desirable outcomes.