Image Credit: Asilah Spanish
Image Credit: Asilah Spanish

Online degree courses are becoming ever more popular, with lots of great universities all over the USA now providing online bachelors and masters courses. Whether you want to get an MBA and become a business mogul, do an RN to MSN online to further your healthcare career, study IT and become an innovator, or just about anything else you can study without the need for hands on training and specialist equipment, you can now get a well respected qualification from the comfort of your own home.

But what do you need to get started in terms of devices and infrastructure?

A Good Laptop

Obviously, to do an online degree you’re going to need a device that can access the internet – that goes without saying – but a good laptop is the best option. A desktop PC won’t give you the same flexibility to study on the go, and while you can use a tablet or phone to read materials and watch lectures online, it’s not going to be great for writing and editing papers and coursework on. You need a reliable, recent laptop that is fast and has a good amount of RAM so you can have lots of tabs and software running at the same time when you are referencing different things and running or streaming lecture videos.

OS wise, it is really up to you whether you prefer Windows, Mac or Linux as it won’t matter for most non IT courses such as an MSN administration degree, though if you are doing a degree that involves programming or the use of very specialist software then Windows is generally the best choice for compatibility reasons – so if you usually use Linux or Mac, it is best to have a Windows partition.

A Fast, Reliable Broadband Connection

Studying at home with anything less than a super fast, very reliable broadband connection is possible, but very frustrating. Some things you will need to do, such as streaming videos of lectures, will take up some bandwidth, so trying to do this over a 3G connection or a slow or patchy Wi-Fi will not be fun. If you can’t get good broadband at home, then make sure you know of a place you can go where you can do things like download videos or larger course materials – for instance a relative’s house. Upgrade your package to the fastest you can get with the highest bandwidth and data limit if you can.

A Good Mobile Device

Tablets can be a real asset if you want to try studying while traveling or take your study sessions outdoors without having to lug your laptop with you. You can use your smartphone instead, of course, but most people find watching or reading things on a tablet a lot more comfortable. If you invest in one, it is often best to go for one with a SIM so you can access the internet on it on the go, rather than just in Wi-Fi hotspots.

With these things, you have basically everything you need to study effectively for your online degree!

Credit: Staff Writer