A growing number of senior citizens are giving up a relaxing retirement in
favor of returning to school. Some retirees are taking just one or two classes to learn about
something new, while others are looking to earn a certificate or degree that could help them work in
an industry they’ve always been interested in. Either way, virtual learning is an amazing option.
Seniors can benefit from online college in a number of different ways, not the least of which is
that it offers the flexibility and convenience of doing everything from the comfort of home. Plus,
it’s also often less expensive than campus-based college.
One thing about online school that’s slightly intimidating for some seniors, though, is that it
requires being comfortable using new technologies. If you’re considering taking classes online,
here’s a guide to navigating the technological aspects of virtual college:
Understand Technology Basics
There are some tech basics that every student looking to take an online class needs to know. These
are all part of what’s called being “digitally literate,” and they include tasks like creating a
Word document, being able to navigate a search engine and other online resources, and comfortably
interacting with others over the Internet (by email, in discussion groups, etc.). If you aren’t sure
whether you have the basic tech skills needed to take an online course, there are a couple of ways
to find out. One is to call the school and speak to an admissions representative who can give
you an idea of what to expect. Or, look into Microsoft’s free Digital Learning
Curriculum. The online program will help you determine your technology skill level, then
start you on an online course to help you become more digitally literate.
Orient Yourself with the Student Site
If you have all the basic skills needed to succeed in online school you’ll simply need to
figure out how to navigate the classes themselves. Your online college will more than likely have a
student site where you’ll be able to submit assignments, communicate with
professors and classmates, check your grades, pay tuition and more. As soon as you sign up for a
class, login to the student site and take a tour of all of the options on it. The student site
will be the foundation of your online classes, so check back frequently for messages from your
Ask Your Professor for Help
Some seniors worry that they’ll be the only ones with any technical difficulties throughout the
course of their learning, but that simply isn’t the case. Because online learning is so flexible,
you’ll find there’s a wide array of generations in your classrooms, from millennials looking for an
alternative to traditional college to stay-at-home parents and fellow baby boomers. Everyone
will have a different level of familiarity with technology, so don’t be afraid to ask your
instructor for help if you ever run into an issue or can’t figure out how something works. There may
also be times when the student site is down or you can’t complete an assignment because of
Internet problems – just call or email your professor as soon as you can and he or she will be happy
Call a School Representative
If you’re struggling to navigate the student site, call a school representative for assistance.
Representatives are available to answer any questions, whether you’re having trouble submitting an
assignment or making a payment.
Remember, if you’re interested in learning online, there will be tons of resources available to
you in case you have a tech-related question. Don’t let technology keep you from exploring
interesting classes and learning new things!
U.S. Career Institute also offers online training for many other great careers
Do you focus your energies on wellness for yourself and others? You might find satsifaction with a career as a massage therapist. Take a look at our
online massage therapy program.
If other types of service careers hold more interest for you, you should investigate our online wedding and event planner course, our online home inspector course, our online child daycare specialist course,
or our online caregiver course.