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Everything you need to know about online learning amid Coronavirus

Australia and New Zealand to reopen borders for international students

Amid the Coronavirus situation, there has been a cacophony about online learning with experts and aspiring higher education students debating its effectiveness. Due to the ongoing travel ban and the closure of universities around the world, educational institutions have resorted to continuing the classes through virtual mediums. 

With the same being continued for the coming intake (September/Fall) as well and many universities already confirming it, aspiring students are confused about whether to go ahead with university applications or not. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about online learning amid Coronavirus and why we believe it is just a flexible option for a short period of time. 

Why choosing virtual learning for the coming Fall 2020 intake is recommended amid COVID-19

Here are a few important points you need to be aware of online learning before you disregard applying to universities abroad for the coming intakes. 

  • You will earn the same credits through online learning as you would through on-campus learning.
  • Only the first semester of September intake is confirmed to be taught through online mode. As situations improve and travel bans are lifted, you can travel abroad and complete the remainder of the program in-person. 
  • You can avoid delays in your study and career plans, and work towards it by starting your program online now.
  • It provides a learning platform that allows you to learn from the comfort and safety of your home. 
  • You will be able to save on transportation, food, and accommodation costs.
  • Study and learn through your flexible schedule while gaining useful time management skills that will help you to set your career. 
  • You will still have access to real-world technical tools and skills that you can implement when you join the workforce.
  • Online learning is not limited to just gaining academic knowledge through a virtual platform but also includes diverse and cross-cultural interactions with students from across the world. 

How are the online programs conducted?

The online learning programs are conducted through high-quality interactive sessions that will include both live and recorded video and voice sessions. This provides a flexible advantage for the students to go through their classes whenever needed. 

Is the online mode of learning available for all courses?

Yes, the online mode of learning is available for all the courses for Master’s students. While most universities have confirmed the available programs for virtual learning, few other programs will be confirmed in the near future. Therefore, make sure that you confirm the details of your program on the university website. 

Who can apply for virtual learning?

Any undergraduate student who has applied for a Master’s program and has received an Offer Letter from the university are eligible for the online program for the coming Fall intake 2020. 

Is the online learning option available to universities in the USA only?

No. The option to choose the online mode of learning is not limited to the USA only and is available to universities in other English speaking countries (UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand) as well. 

Will the post-study work rights be the same if I start the program online and then move to on-campus learning?

Since this is just a temporary adjustment to continue classes during the ongoing pandemic, the post-study work rights will remain the same once you complete the remainder of the course on-campus. The same has been confirmed by countries like Canada.

How do I register for the online program and when is the deadline?

Once you receive an Acceptance Letter from the university and you have made the tuition fees deposit, you will automatically be eligible for the online program. While the deadline to register for the online program differs from university to university, most universities have a deadline of August 1. The same needs to be confirmed from a university’s website. 

Can I join the on-campus program any time after the relaxation of travel bans?

Once you opt for an online program, you will need to complete that particular semester or term before you are allowed to travel abroad and join the on-campus program when the travel ban is relaxed. 

What if I decide that online learning is not for me?

Most universities provide an option for the student to withdraw from the online course if he/she does not find virtual learning as effective or due to other reasons. A few universities have confirmed that these students will receive a 100% refund of their money if withdrawn within 14 days of starting the online program. However, this needs to be confirmed from the university website as it varies from university to university.

What if I start the online program and is then denied a study visa?

A few universities have announced a partial refund of the paid tuition fees in the event of denied entry, provided the student fulfills their criteria. This differs from university to university and is to be confirmed with the university officials. 

To be eligible for a partial refund, few universities have mentioned that the student must achieve the minimum GPA requirements, meet other academic progress criteria, and show evidence of 3 visa denials. 

Do I have to pay the same amount as an on-campus program for online learning as well?

Since this is a temporary adjustment during the ongoing situation and the tuition fee is for the academic quality of the programs delivered by a particular university, you will still have to pay the same amount. 

That being said, a few universities might consider lowering their tuition fees and also provide more number of scholarships. Through the course of the online program, you will have access to the university’s student support services online and other engagement tools. 

Will online learning be the future of Higher(abroad) Education?

COVID-19 has disrupted many fields and higher education is one of the prominent ones. However, it was quick to adapt to the situation and took measures to minimize the damage by employing online learning methods. 

As higher education is slowly reviving from the situation, many doubt if online learning will be the new norm going forward. However, it begs many questions such as why online learning did not become a standard in the higher education field, in spite of it being around for over a decade, and why higher education has not moved to online from offline before COVID-19 when numerous businesses across the world have done so. 

A few possible reasons could be:

  • Less completion rate of online courses compared to in-person programs
  • Absence of practical learning 
  • Inability to participate in research
  • Inaccurate assessment
  • Inability to match in-person experience and efficacy

Due to the above reasons and many more, it is highly unlikely that online learning would replace in-person learning in the higher education industry any time soon. The current change by universities to move to online-mediated teaching and learning is only for time being until things get back to normal. 

I hope this article answers all your queries pertaining to online learning amid Coronavirus.

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