A Guest Post by Alvina Lopez
So you’ve decided to take the plunge with an online education. You’ve followed the necessary steps so throughly summarized in a recent Daily MBA article about pursuing an online degree. Even if you’ve already gone through the whole brick-and-mortar, traditional university experience, it helps to be forewarned that the online experience is completely different. Here are a few pointers for serious business managers who want to make the most out of a distance education.
- Be prepared for less structure
Unlike the traditional university system, online universities lack the structure you may be used to, and this is true both in a physical as well as in a scheduling sense. You won’t constantly be reminded of deadlines, and rarely will you have to attend class at a specific time. Therefore, you’ll have to create reminders for yourself. While it can be a burden, it’s also a blessing, simply because an online education in and of itself helps you practice management techniques—in this case, time management.
- Be sure to familiarize yourself with all the online tools your classes employ, BEFORE beginning assignments and study
Although this may seem fairly self-evident, you don’t want to have to put yourself in the stressful position of figuring out how everything works while trying to submit assignments, post on class forums, or accomplish other potential tasks. All good online education schools will have extensive tutorials and orientations to help you get accustomed to their specific platform. Make sure you take advantage of this help.
- Remember– “The medium is the message.”
Philosopher and communications theorist Marshall McLuhan uttered these now famous words almost half a century ago, but the quote still applies perfectly to the manager seeking an online degree. What McLuhan meant was that what we strive to communicate (in your case as manager, a cohesive entrepreneurial vision) is the same thing as how we communicate it. As a manager seeking an online degree, you are being granted an unprecedented chance to explore the Internet in all of its connected glory. Once you complete your degree, you will have had enough experience with computers such that you will be a better business manager by proxy. You will know how to manage anything, whether it be people or time, in a way that makes full use of the future of business. It’s all about the Internet. So remember to be mindful of this powerful tool.
Granted, these are only the most basic tips in successfully completing an online degree while you build your business management ambitions toward loftier goals. But you will learn so much more as you undergo the actual process. Learning by experience is, simply stated, the best way to learn. But before you begin your journey, sometimes the simplest advice yields the best initial results.