PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Online courses are becoming commonplace, as complete programs, needed for degrees or just for fun. If you’re taking a course for credit, The New York Times November “Education Life” suggests a checklist.

Look at an instructor’s work experience and scholarship; check bios online for content or expertise. Instructor involvement is critical; some programs require a minimum number of postings weekly from faculty members.

An advisor is necessary to plan a degree program, one who can help with dropping a course if it’s too advanced. Ask about a 24-hour help desk and tutors for tech support you might require.

Since online learners move around to finish degrees, credit transfer is crucial. Be sure you have the minimum required at an institution and accreditation is essential. In cases like nursing and engineering, industry approval is necessary as well.

Don’t forget to find out costs and extra charges like library and graduation fees and keep debt in mind. Evaluate your experience and share it. There’s no better recommendation than “word of mouth.”

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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