The Tools That Every Online Education Student Will Need

So you are finally there – ready to join the thousands already enjoying the benefits of the education of the future! As exciting as it may be, being part of the online educational system requires more than a notebook and a pen…

The standards are constantly increasing and we are expected to have certain equipment and tools at our disposal more than ever before. This applies to online education students just as much as campus students, if not more so.

There are lists of required tools and equipment specific to each course that everyone needs to ensure that he or she will actually be able to get through the course and perform all of the tasks and functions before the set deadlines.

Many students tend to overlook these initial set-up costs and concentrate solely on course fees and other similar direct expenses. Tools, however, especially for some of the specialised courses out there, could sometimes be quite substantial and the sooner we realise this, the sooner we can begin to budget accordingly and ensure we have everything we need – all ready to support us throughout our journey, at the best price out there.

Below we list some of the most important tools, which can in a way be considered the “non-negotiable minimum” that you would need to account for when planning for your course. They are essential to ensuring your success!

Internet: An online education student will always need the Internet, this goes largely without saying. It does, however, matter what type of Internet connection you have. Dial-up is often unreliable and extremely slow, which will probably not be of use, if you are uploading big files when it comes to submitting your work. It is quite outdated, so if you still have a dial-up connection, we strongly recommend you consider other options. It could also be extremely expensive, when it comes to spending time on the Internet to research material needed to complete your assignments, papers and tests.

Bottom line – a good and reliable Internet connection is essential for anyone studying online. It is your most important method of communication with both tutors and colleague students and your only way to access all of the information needed to actually complete your course, so make sure that you have a good one!

Computer:  This too goes without saying. You cannot connect to the Internet without a computer; neither can you do your assignments without one. A laptop is often far more practical than a PC as you can take it almost anywhere. In addition, tablets and other mobile devices are becoming more and more popular lately too. If you cannot get any work done at home, then you will be able to take it to a coffee shop or a library and complete your work there just as well, if not better. There is no data transfer required. You just have to pick it up and go!

Below a couple of suggestions to hopefully ease your search:
Spro Microsoft Surface Pro

Course texts and other materials: Some courses require you to purchase additional textbooks or course material to be able to complete the assignments given to you, which could be costly. Books, especially specialised literature is quite expensive (even the downloadable versions), but the good news is that with some planning it is possible to find used or shared resources and thus save your budget.

You might decide to pay for access to additional online resources that could be of value to you, but always ensure to check out user reviews or consults colleagues who have used these, before spending a fortune on them. Another tip would be to ask your course tutor or check for ideas specific to your situation on the online community forum of your educational institution, before purchasing.

Even though it is recommended not to purchase your additional course materials before you actually enrol for your course and have access to your community’s forums, your tutor and the other tools your educational institution has to offer, leaving it until the very last minute is also not recommended as for a lot of people this means not getting them at all. It is therefore important that you budget for all these and ensure you have on your “To Do” list to purchase all before the start date of your course. This may affect your initial outlay, but it will ensure that you everything you need at your fingertips.

When budgeting for your costs, include a provision for purchasing access to online libraries or similar platforms that could provide access to old texts and documents you may not be able to find in your local library. If your local library were far from comprehensive, then you would be well advised to actually purchase an online book-lending package. Some universities and colleges will ship books to you under rental terms. Again, this will cost you, but it will give you every chance to complete your degree to the highest standard possible.

Of course, there are many more tools that could prove useful and improve significantly your online learning experience and we will have more articles coming on that, but the listed on here are the essential and “non-negotiable minimum”.

Our goal on this blog will always be to help you investigate as best as possible and help you ensure that you have taken all into account and made an informed choice as to what suits best your particular needs and budget.

Costs can pile up very quickly sometimes and we hope to help you plan and avoid common pitfalls instead of letting this leave you feeling depressed. It is true that one can absolutely not afford to neglect hidden and additional costs, if you do want to obtain your degree through fair means and hard work, but there is always a way and at the end of the day you have made a decision to invest in yourself, so all your tools are actually assets that will help you get the best value and return on your investment!

Best of luck and congratulations for being on the road to success!