Tennis Industry magazine

 

Busy Making a Living? College Courses Are Just a Mouse Click Away

By Donald Leavy

Tennis teaching professionals must be self-motivated and goal-driven to be successful. The organization that the pro works for has the responsibility to provide them with the necessary environment in which to perform their tasks, but the professional must be able to market his or her abilities to their customer base. A club professional essentially runs his own business, so having the skills and training to perform his duties will provide the foundation for that success.

But how does a pro acquire the necessary skills and training when he’s spending 35 hours a week on court teaching and hours off the court trying to fill appointments for the following week? The answer may be distance education.

The U.S. Distance Learning Association defines distance learning as the acquisition of knowledge and skills through mediated information and instruction, encompassing all technologies and other forms of learning at a distance. Online distance-learning courses are offered to students anytime, and online higher education is part of a growing trend that is providing accessibility to a segment of the population that, for whatever reason, may not have the ability to attend traditional college courses.

Regional Accreditation

What should someone look for in a college or university that offers distance education? The first concern should be accreditation. In general the most widely recognized and sought-after form of accreditation in the U.S., by both colleges and employers alike, is “regional” accreditation.

Six regional accrediting bodies exist in the U.S. Because the standards and requirements associated with receiving “regional accreditation” are so high, many colleges will only accept credit from other regionally accredited colleges or universities. Additional information regarding the regional accrediting agencies can be found at http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html.

Many students are curious to know if a degree online is different from an on-campus degree. Keep in mind that the development of online classes or degree programs must adhere to the same stringent accrediting standards as the development of on-campus courses and programs. The only difference is in the delivery. Online classrooms do a great job of maintaining all the value of classroom interaction with classmates and the instructor, while maximizing the free time of individual students.

In addition, graduates of online programs tend to show a number of distinct qualities of benefit to the employer, such as:

‘Asynchronous’ Classroom

One of the barriers prohibiting many busy working adults from going to college is the requirement to be in a particular place at a particular time — a “synchronous” classroom in “real-time.” But online programs have been specifically designed to take advantage of technology, meaning that an online classroom or program can easily be “asynchronous” — neither time- nor place-dependent. You go online to read lectures, participate in discussion, and possibly complete exams. Many of the assignments and exercises required in online courses will still be completed off-line using word processing software. This system is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If a tennis teaching pro is looking to attend college for the first time, complete or finish his or her undergraduate degree, or is looking into a graduate program, distance education can provide the quality and flexibility to balance one’s professional and family life.


About the Author

Donald Leavy is a USPTA teaching professional in Grand Blanc, Mich., and holds a BA in economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Baker College. He is the development director for Baker College Online Center for Graduate Studies. If you have questions regarding the benefits of distance education, you can reach him at donaldleavy@comcast.net.

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About the Author

Donald Leavy is a USPTA teaching professional in Grand Blanc, Mich., and holds a BA in economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Baker College. He is the development director for Baker College Online Center for Graduate Studies. If you have questions regarding the benefits of distance education, you can reach him at donaldleavy@comcast.net.

 

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