Online education has exploded in recent years, and the diversity of programs and degrees offered continues to grow. Completely new, online-only colleges and universities have emerged while existing schools have also brought some of their degree programs on to the web to allow for greater accessibility. This growth of the field had created more opportunities, but also a few pitfalls. Anyone now considering pursuing their degree online must thoroughly research their options because the characteristics and quality of available programs varies widely. To better understand the differentials, we’ve compared the online offerings of three schools: The University of Southern California, Western Governors University and Southern New Hampshire University. School Profiles and Degrees Offered Each of these three schools has a different profile. The University of Southern California is a highly ranked, private, non-profit research university that offers a Master’s in Teaching and a Master’s of Social Work online program in addition to its on-campus offerings. Western Governors University, on the other hand, is a completely online university that was created in 1997 and offers both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in a number of subject areas that include business and information technology. Finally, Southern New Hampshire University, like USC, is a private non-profit school with a physical campus and offers a number of undergraduate and graduate degrees through its online program. Academics Though teaching methods can vary by program, each school uses a somewhat standard approach with their online offerings. USC’s MAT program includes live online classes with small groups of students and a professor using webcam technology, documentary-style videos, online readings and tools, as well as a fully interactive online community where students can have discussions with classmates. The student-to-faculty ratio is the same as the on-campus program, and USC maintains the same high standards for professors in the online program. Instead of courses, WGU employs a competency-based approach, in which students can move past subjects they’ve already mastered by demonstrating their proficiency. Each WGU student works with a mentor who supports them during the program, which they advance through at their own pace. The mentor helps the student identify the resources necessary to build subject competency, resources which can be anything from video lectures and an online library to printed textbooks or learning modules. SNHU organizes its program around classes, which adjunct faculty instruct using materials developed by SNHU’s on-campus professors. Adapted from classes taught on campus, the adjunct professors work from a framework that can include a syllabus, readings, assignments and exams. SNHU does not appear to offer interactive online courses as USC does, but students can still interact with professors and peers through email and the Blackboard learning management system. Admissions USC has the most strict admissions standards of the three schools, and maintains the same standards for its online students and on-campus students. Applicants must submit past transcripts, a resume, three personal essays and two letters of recommendation. WGU requires applicants to take a Readiness Assessment exam rather than any standardized testing, as well as submitting transcripts and work history. SNHU has the fewest requirements with their rolling admissions process that asks for transcripts, work history and an optional interview. Alumni Networks Many online students fear they will miss out on the valuable alumni connections that on-campus students establish. At USC, however, students in the MAT program gain instant access to the USC Alumni Association, which has over 300,000 members worldwide. The Alumni Association has regional chapters and Young Alumni groups that hold events around the country and the world, and alumni serve as resources for each other through these channels. MAT@USC program members have also held their own meet-ups in major cities to become acquainted with classmates. As a younger school, WGU has fewer graduates than USC, but their ranks have already swelled to 10,000. WGU provides an online alumni association for its graduates as well as career services to help connect them with jobs. SHNU also has an alumni association, but how graduates of the online program fit in with graduates from on campus remains unclear. The three schools profiled above share some similarities and are all accredited educational institutions, but in many ways their online degrees are completely different from one another. When thinking about pursuing an education online, one must understand every school takes a different approach, so researching and comparing multiple programs is essential. This article was written by Social Media Outreach Coordinator, Sarah Fudin on behalf of CAREEREALISM-Approved Partner, 2tor - an education-technology company that partners with institutions of higher education such as USC to deliver their Masters in Teaching degree online. Read more » articles by this approved business partner | Click here » if you’re a business Online degree image from Shutterstock
The successful business manager needs skills and talent.
Managerial skills can easily be developed as time passes through experience, mentoring, and training. However, when referring to natural talent, this is definitely something that cannot be obtained.
Productive companies will always invest a lot of money in developing and identifying truly effective managers. If this is the type of job that you are after, you should know that the following traits are necessary.
You Must Have Great Leadership Skills
This is one crucial attribute that so many managers actually lack these days.
Most companies will promote those employees that have great individual results. The problem is that a really good salesperson will rarely be a really good manager. The true leader will always be able to inspire trust, delegate responsibility, and provide direction. A manager won't be a "leader" if they cannot perfectly perform these three tasks.
While leadership skills can be gained in time, the innately talented manager will actually be able to gain all that he or she needs to be a true leader in a short period of time. This is something that is a lot more important than what many believe at the moment. Every single successful business manager out there is a leader who takes the team he or she manages and makes it work better, faster, and more effectively.
You Need To Have A Clear Communication Strategy
It is very important for the manager to have really strong communication skills. It is not enough to show that you appreciate your employees. You need to properly highlight what you want from them so that everything can go smoothly.
The effective manager has to be able to properly decipher, understand, and then relate the vision of the organization to the employees so that productivity is maintained. If communication is ineffective, employees will not understand what the manager tells them. This can lead to so many different problems in the future, and such a chain reaction can have a devastating effect on the profit of any company.
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You Must Have The Ability To Adapt
This is something that makes him/her really effective at the job. If the manager can adapt to the circumstances that are unexpected, the entire team will achieve more success in the future. This also means that a successful manager has the necessary creative thinking skills to find a new solution to any problem that may appear.
You Need To Focus On Developing Your Team
You cannot have employees that remain still when referring to the skills that they have. Any financial blog on the internet will tell you that an effective manager will make sure that employees improve and that they become better at the job that is done.
Developing other people basically involves cultivating talents and then motivating them to channel gained talents towards increasing productivity.
You Have To Build Relationships
It's a shame to see that there are still managers who do not understand the importance of networking. A manager needs to establish good relationships with potential clients and employees. Those employees who feel they are valued will always be more effective and will put in the extra effort that can bring in better results at the end of the day.
When building a relationship with an employee, it is really important that the manager showcases empathy and trust in the ability of the team. This is something that helps everyone enjoy working under the guidance of the specific team leader. Make sure that you know as much as possible about the employees—their strong points, and their weak points.
You Need To Constantly Develop Your Skills
The effective manager is the one who knows the problems that he or she has and constantly works on solving them. Career development is a huge part of career success in this job and in any other job. You need to develop in order to be able to lead employees.
If you remain at the same level, the entire team remains at the same level. That manager that continues to grow will eventually learn how to use the above-mentioned natural talents in order to make the team work flawlessly and even encourage the employees to do the same thing.
The manager who never develops is basically bound to eventually lag behind as he or she cannot adapt to the market. This and adaptability go hand-in-hand. You cannot have one without the other.
Try to improve as much as possible with every single project that you do and always be truthful to yourself about the flaws that you have. Work on them as soon as possible and your team members will see that you put in the effort to change.
It is so much harder to be an effective manager than we think. There is this belief that you can simply learn how to be a great leader in college. This is definitely not the case. Many of the really successful managers from around the world did not have formal training. You need to be sure that you constantly grow. That is, most likely, the most important trait to have if you want to be a great leader.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.