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Online Education For Dummies

ISBN: 978-0-470-53620-9
364 pages
December 2009
Online Education For Dummies (0470536209) cover image


From admission to graduation-your personal guide to studying online

Online Education For Dummies explains the ins and outs of attending a virtual classroom, and provides you with the tools you need to hone your skills or obtain additional certification and degrees. This practical reference not only helps you get the most out of an online course, but also offers a wealth of advice to help you pick the one that matches your interests and needs.

  • Identifies the software and hardware needed to study online
  • Reveals how to get financial aid, transfer credits, and manage online time
  • Explains how to locate legitimate online programs and avoid scams

Whether you want to earn a degree or just increase your knowledge through an online course, Online Education For Dummies is the only guide you need.

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Table of Contents



Part I: Introducing a Different Kind of Classroom.

Chapter 1: Heading Online for Your Education.

Chapter 2: The Traits and Benefi ts of Online Education.

Chapter 3: The Technology and Technological Skills You Need to Succeed.

Part II: Preparing to Be a Student.

Chapter 4: Discovering What’s Available Online.

Chapter 5: Doing Your Homework: Evaluating Schools.

Chapter 6: Applying to School and Securing the Cash.

Chapter 7: Getting Accepted and Prepping for Class.

Part III: The Virtual Classroom: Being an A+ Student.

Chapter 8: Navigating the Classroom.

Chapter 9: Meeting the People in (And around) Your Classroom.

Chapter 10: Communicating Clearly Online.

Chapter 11: Developing Good Study Habits for Online Courses.

Chapter 12: Getting a Handle on Group Dynamics.

Chapter 13: Understanding Netiquette and Ethical Behavior.

Chapter 14: Finishing and Submitting Your Assignments.

Chapter 15: Transitioning after School.

Part IV: Special Considerations in Online Education.

Chapter 16: Educating Students from Kindergarten through High School.

Chapter 17: Connecting with International Students.

Chapter 18: Accessibility in Online Education.

Part V: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 19: Ten Myths about Online Education.

Chapter 20: Ten Nationally Recognized Online Schools.


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Author Information

Kevin Johnson is CEO of The Cutting Ed, Inc., an education consulting company focused on instruction design and technology and on distance education.

Susan Manning, EdD, is a certified Master Online Teacher and an online instructor for the Illinois Online Network at the University of Illinois and for the University of Wisconsin at Stout.

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Press Release

September 09, 2010
Get a Legit Online Learning Experience

The legitimacy of online education took a hit in August 2010 as the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GOA) reported the outcome of a two month undercover investigation into the recruiting practices of 15 for-profit online institutions.  Noting that enrollment in for-profits had risen from 365,000 in to 1.8 million students in the past several years, these findings impact a substantial number of future online students.  Questionable recruiting practices included over-estimating the value of the degree while under-estimating costs and suggesting that applicants commit fraud in reporting data for financial aid. What’s a student to do?

Online Education for Dummies authors Dr. Susan Manning and Kevin Johnson suggest the following tips for ensuring a legitimate online experience:

√ Look at accredited institutions ONLY for an online course, program or degree. Accreditation is a process by which a school is sanctioned as having met quality standards.  These accreditation standards are monitored by non-governmental agencies that have been authorized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Students should be sure the institution is recognized by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Unfortunately, there are nefarious organizations that promote themselves as accredited, but the agencies are bogus.  Buyer beware!

√ Shop at your local traditional college first.  In the wake of the GAO report, having a real person to connect with and knowing the institution is one way to safe guard your educational investment.  Many traditional institutions offer wholly online courses or blend seat time with online resources. Plus, you can sit down with a financial aid representative to discuss what options may be available.  Again, this is where accreditation pays off.  Only accredited institutions have access to federal programs.

√ Research every institution as if it were a potential diploma mill.  Use online services such as geteducated.com or elearners.com to see if your institution raises any alerts or red flags.  Use your favorite search engine to see what others are saying about a potential institution.   And by all means, don’t stop with one source!  Unless you are aligning yourself with a land-based accredited college or university that also offers online courses, you need to take the initiative to be sure the institution is legitimate. If you are at all concerned that the information you are getting from the institution is biased, another thing you can do is interview someone who has taken classes in the same program you are wishing to attend.  References count!

With these strategies, learners can get about the business of taking courses that count!  It is a wise investment in one’s future to become better educated, but only if that happens within a legitimate institution.  For further information about selecting an institution and knowing what questions to ask, consult Online Education for Dummies by Kevin Johnson and Dr. Susan Manning.

The full report can be downloaded at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-948T

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