Some degree programs can be presented 100% online and still offer students the equivalent of an in-person educational experience. While most lectures, assignments, tests, and class discussions can be conducted virtually, certain types of programs may require additional resources to facilitate a comparable experience. If you’re wondering how to create an online degree program of distinction, read on to learn a few of the creative workarounds Apollidon Learning can help your school implement to ensure online students receive a high-quality, robust education.
Offer Local Options
Face-to-face human interaction is essential to the completion of some programs. But how practical is this when an online program’s student roster may include individuals from across the country and even around the globe? The solution may be to offer a local option for these interactions.
Internships enable your students to learn on the job and make key professional contacts while completing their degree. Your school can offer online students the option to pursue an internship that’s local to them. As work-from-home arrangements become more commonplace, your students may even be able to secure virtual internships.
Nursing students must complete in-person clinical experiences, which are understandably vital to their training. Your institution can allow students to work with a local nurse preceptor of their choice to complete their required clinical courses.
Offer Home Laboratory Options
Many science- and medicine-based programs require a laboratory component. However, this doesn’t mean remote students need to use your campus lab facilities.
A growing number of technology companies offer 3D virtual applications that realistically simulate chemistry, biochemistry, physics, biology, physiology, and other types of lab experiments. These can be conducted from any computer meeting the technical requirements and can give students the opportunity to collaborate with classmates and AI-driven virtual lab assistants. Virtual labs can also help your institution navigate student objections to some kinds of experiments, e.g., students who are ethically opposed to dissecting animals.
Hands-On Home-Based Labs
You may have some programs with lab assignments that students can complete by conducting real-life experiments from home. Students gather readily available and affordable materials to conduct experiments independently or as directed by your course faculty.
Employ Local or Virtual Proctors
It’s essential for any educational institution to ensure the academic honesty and integrity of its students. If your school or select programs require proctored exams, you have a few options that don’t obligate online students to visit campus:
- Have a live person monitor students via webcam while they’re completing assessments.
- Use software that locks down a browser and/or monitors screen activity, preventing test-takers from searching the web for answers.
- Arrange an in-person proctor service that’s local to the student.
Maintain Your Branding
While an online student may never walk the halls of your campus, it’s still crucial to help them feel like they are and will always be part of the “Tiger/Falcon/Eagle/Gator/Badger/‘Insert Your Mascot Name Here’ Nation.” How? Let your institution’s brand—mission, culture, and unique advantages—shine through in official communications and in your online learning management system. Providing a rewarding and memorable learning experience doesn’t stop at academics.
Encourage This One In-Person Aspect of Your Degree Programs
One component of the online college experience that doesn’t need a workaround is graduation. Invite your online students to walk in their graduation ceremony to celebrate their educational achievements and solidify their bond with their alma mater before they go back out into the world full time. Most students with the time and means find making the travel arrangements worthwhile. Alternatively, you could hold a virtual graduation ceremony that allows online students who cannot travel to campus to still be recognized for their achievement.
Apollidon can help you translate your campus-based programs to the online environment while maintaining the quality instruction and student engagement for which your institution is known. Discuss your specific needs with us and you’ll see there are many more proven ways to match and even surpass the traditional classroom experience!