online-college-professorOne of the best ways to get the most out of a distance education degree program is to research the qualifications of online professors before enrolling in a specific course or section. The good news for today’s students is that it has never been easier to do a sort of “background check” on professors who teach online classes. With the combination of social media sites and student-focused professor review websites, virtually any professor’s background and qualifications can be understood in advance. Before enrolling in another semester of classes, make sure to check a few sites for a professor’s profile, reviews, and overall reputation.

LinkedIn.com

LinkedIn has long been known as the best site for professionals who are trying to build a professional network outside of the office. This is not its only function, however. Online degree students have found that in many cases that LinkedIn is actually a great way to research a professor’s qualifications and abilities. Whether the professor is a tenured member of the school’s faculty or a part-time adjunct, LinkedIn will likely reveal their employment history, the courses that they teach to online students, and how prepared they are to help students with their basic needs and questions for the duration of an upcoming course.

RateMyProfessors.com

Another excellent resource for online students is RateMyProfessors.com. Unlike LinkedIn, this popular website is specifically designed to review professors’ performance in class, outside of class, and everywhere in between. Students can rate their professors based on metrics like easiness, helpfulness, and their use of the textbook. It’s even possible to see how strict professors are with online attendance policies, how tough their tests are, and the average grade obtained by students that professor’s classes. For those who wish to do so, even the professor’s attractiveness can be rated.

RateMyProfessors.com proudly touts tens of thousands of users in its community, with ratings that date back more than a decade to the site’s inception. This long history of data allows students to see how a professor has performed over time, making it easier to determine if negative reviews are statistical outliers or the norm. From this information, it’s possible to determine which professor would be a better bet for any online class.

School and Departmental Websites

Finally, it’s worth remembering that information about a professor’s qualifications can often be found right on a given school’s website. Whether it’s a general section that details each professor’s background, or a departmental website that features a short biography of each instructor, these pages are often a great place to start. Information about a professor’s qualifications is usually paired with phone or email contact information, making it even easier for students to contact the instructor directly and inquire about their past experiences, teaching style, and any unique benefits or considerations that they bring to the online classroom when they teach a distance education course.

Researching a Professor’s Qualifications Has Never Been Easier

The Internet has dramatically transformed the typical degree program and classroom. For students who wish to research their professor’s qualifications and overall ability to manage a digital classroom, the Internet has just as many answers and advantages. Using popular websites that range from the LinkedIn social network to professor rating sites and university homepages, students can research the qualifications of online professors with ease.

See also: What Are the Responsibilities of an Online College Instructor?

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