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Online Degree Or Competency-based Education: Which Is Right For You?

by Kaitlyn Wightman
Marketing Specialist

February 20, 2015

Ten years ago, the question you had to ask yourself before earning a college degree was if you want to earn your degree in person or online

Today, we take that question one step further: How will you earn your degree online? 

With rapid advancements in technology, you can earn an online degree in the traditional sense or pursue the innovative learning model of competency-based education like Personalized Learning

So, which online degree is right for you to earn? That’s the question we hope to help you answer. 

What Is An Online Degree?

An online degree is a college degree you can earn in the comfort of your home. Instead of commuting to a campus classroom, you sign in to an online platform where you attend class as well as receive course materials and assignments. Conferences with your instructor and connecting with your class peers also happens online. 

When you graduate from an accredited institution, the diploma you receive won’t say that you earned your degree online. That’s because accredited universities hold the same rigorous standards for all offered degree programs, traditional degrees and online degrees alike.  

Is An Online Degree Right For You?

Should you earn your degree online? Consider earning an online degree if you agree with all of these statements: 

  • You are unable to attend class in person due to your professional or family commitments.
  • You prefer adhering to a class syllabus and set assignment deadlines.
  • You are comfortable with learning online, from navigating online learning platforms to communicating with your instructor and peers.

What Is A Competency-based Education Degree?

An online competency-based education degree, such as NAU’s Personalized Learning, is a new and innovative way to earn your college degree online.

This self-paced, competency-based approach reimagines the college experience by allowing you to focus on developing key skills and knowledge areas called competencies. You complete coursework by demonstrating your understanding of each competency—so you can move faster in areas where you bring prior knowledge, and slower in areas that are more challenging. 

While online degrees follow a traditional college class format with fixed deadlines and set schedules, competency-based education degrees allow you to set the pace. You choose the order of your classes and when to start. You choose how much time you dedicate each week to your lessons, assignments and tests.

You also have access to a faculty mentor who is ready to help you earn your degree online.

Is A Competency-based Education Degree Right For You?

Do all of these statements sound like you? If so, an online competency-based education degree can be a great fit for your goals: 

  • You are self-motivated and can dedicate a substantial amount of hours each week towards earning your online degree.
  • You excel at and enjoy learning in an online, self-paced setting.
  • You want to earn a degree with rigorous standards at your own pace when it fits your schedule.

Still not sure how to earn your degree online? Let us help you decide.

Additional Story Info
For more information, contact:
NAU-Extended Campuses
(800)-426-8315
ec.marketing@nau.edu