Accelerated Online Programs Explained
November 12, 2021
Online degree programs offer the benefit of expanding your education without making major lifestyle changes such as quitting your job, overlooking the time constraints of your family, or commuting to a physical campus. A program’s ability to adapt to your needs is an important factor in helping you become a successful student.
What may not be obvious is how some schools’ degree programs may be less flexible than others. For instance, many online programs are synchronous, meaning that they meet virtually on specific days and times throughout the week. Furthermore, some online schools employ a cohort model where students remain together throughout a program, requiring learners to maintain a certain pace for courses in the degree.
Fortunately, a different option is available to you with Accelerated Online Programs — or AOPs — at The University of New Mexico. They are fully online programs with classes offered in an eight-week format. You access classes and interact with others regularly, and complete weekly assignments. While the courses are fast-paced, you would have the flexibility of completing assignments when and where it works for you. And you’ll learn from the same experienced faculty who teach on our Albuquerque campus.
Creating Opportunities for Those Who Need Flexibility
UNM’s Accelerated Online Programs were developed especially for people who work full-time, have family responsibilities, or other circumstances that might prevent them from obtaining their degree. Compared to traditional face-to-face classes or typical online programs, Accelerated Online Programs offer a high degree of flexibility.
“What’s unique are the expectations in the eight-week format,” Austin Megli, Strategic Support Manager for UNM Online, said. “There are no required weekly meeting times; classes are fully asynchronous meaning that students can work on them at the time of their choosing. And there’s no expectation that students need to continue with a cohort.”
“Because there’s no cohort approach, students can take time off between eight-week periods for any reason. They are welcome to take eight weeks off or half a year. No reapplying to the University is needed.” That high level of flexibility can really make the difference for someone who wants to earn a degree.
Megli was quick to give an example of how that can help those serving in the armed forces. “Think about military students being deployed to places that don’t have reliable internet access,” he said. “With the flexibility to pursue the degree with interruptions or gaps between 8-week periods when they want – or need to – students in the service have one less thing to worry about when their unit gets shipped out.”
“As a bonus,” Megli adds, “when they leave the service, their degree from our Accelerated Online Programs creates job opportunities for them to enhance their futures.”
Affordability and Quality Standards
In addition to the convenience of UNM’s Accelerated Online Programs, cost and quality emerge as other highlights.
When it comes to affordability, these programs can really fit your budget. All AOP students enjoy the same fixed per-credit-hour rate as in-state residents regardless of where in the U.S. — or the world — they live. There are some additional fees and differential tuition costs depending on the specific program, but the savings are still substantial.
As for quality, Accelerated Online Programs are peer-reviewed using standards endorsed by Quality Matters, an internationally recognized program that evaluates online courses and has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education and has more than 60,000 members.
Further enhancing the accelerated programs’ value are the top-notch instructors. “All courses are taught by the same faculty who teach traditional courses,” Megli said. “There’s no change in who you’d be learning from in-person. The only difference is the modality; it’s the exact same material.”
Tips for Balancing Education With Other Priorities
Engaging in fast-paced eight-week courses while balancing everyday obligations might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
“The first thing to remembers is that these programs were built with those scheduling needs in mind,” Megli said. “We know that students will have requirements outside of the classroom, like families and work. Because of the asynchronous nature of these classes, they are able to find time to work on coursework throughout the day.”
If you combine an ability to study and complete assignments when you’re able, along with some good time management secrets, you should be able to manage it all.
Another success tip that Megli has found helpful personally — he’s currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Organization, Information and Learning Sciences to go along with his law degree (J.D.) and MBA — is to embrace those around you.
“Notify family and friends that you’re continuing to go to school and can’t do everything they normally expect from you,” he said. “Students that have a strong support system—they are the ones who are most successful in these programs. It’s the family and friends will help build that support around you.”
Tapping Into UNM’s Support System
Pursuing one of the Accelerated Online Programs means that you’ll instantly receive access to support that UNM provides.
Another of these support highlights is the Center for Academic Program Support (CAPS), which is available to all undergraduates at the University. CAPS is an award-winning learning assistance program that offers free live tutoring and academic support services for more than 800 classes each semester, and many of those services are available online. A similar service for grad students is GrOWL, the Graduate Online Writing Lab, an online support service which is available to graduate and professional students seeking feedback on their writing and research projects. Students can submit their written work, online 24/7, for review by one of their trained GRC consultants.
Another benefit of the Accelerated Online Programs are the enrollment coaches. They will help you find and apply to a program that will help you achieve your long-term goals. Going a step further, your coach will provide personalized support for getting into your program before transitioning you to one of the academic advisors, who are embedded within each of the programs. Your academic advisor will help you set the right plan for your success, analyze your transcripts, plan your course load, and provide support throughout your academic journey.
If you’re interested in receiving that type of support in a degree program that lets you maintain your current commitments, you can take a look at the list of Accelerated Online Programs that span nearly twenty undergraduate and graduate areas.
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