5 Things You Might Not Know About Online Classes

By Alicia Geigel on August 11, 2018

Every year, when registration time approaches, picking courses may be either a breeze or a nightmare. Piecing together a schedule of courses all while taking into consideration the day of the week, time, location, etc. makes choosing courses even more of a hassle. However, one convenient option when choosing courses is taking courses online, which not only eliminates the stress of putting together a schedule that doesn’t overlap, but it also gives you better control over how you spend your time.

Making the decision to enroll in courses online can be intimidating and overwhelming for some students entering into uncharted territory. While online classes are great in some ways, each student has to make sure that the learning method and responsibility of an online class is suitable for them. Are you a student considering taking classes online? Unsure of what to expect? Here are five things you may not have known about online courses! 

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Distractions: Because the online instructional method is different than being in a classroom, your obligations and priorities are different. You are more vulnerable to distractions because of the mere fact that your class is online and requires you to be on a browser.

Unfortunately, there are many distractions that can be super tempting when you’re working on schoolwork for your online course, such as engaging in social media, texting, listening to music, and watching TV. To help minimize distractions, set yourself a timer for 10-15 minutes, indulge in your Twitter feed or texting your s/o, then get back to work. Once you set a time limit for yourself, you’ll not only feel better after your break but you’ll also be able to jump right back into work.

Attendance: Part of the reason why online classes are so great is due to the fact that attendance is not as strict and rigid as regular classroom attendance. In contrast to the traditional classroom method, most online courses do not typically hold attendance. Instead, credit is given in the form of either weekly quizzes, discussions, or assignments.

Some online courses, depending on which kind you choose, can hold sessions weekly at a specific time, which in that case, attendance would be mandatory in order for you to engage effectively in the course. Regardless of the online course you select, you are in control, which means you can decide whether you want a more open course or rigid one with exact times!

The routine of your teacher/course: Not all teachers run their courses the same way, and when it comes to online courses, you will find that some teachers hold virtual meetings while others encourage discussion board participation. Evaluating these differences is important when it comes to your learning style because you can distinguish which kind of approach works best for you and which ones don’t come as easy.

Because of the nature of online courses, teachers and professors have to be mainly available through email or some other form of contact, which allows for you to get in touch with them at any time to voice any questions or concerns you have about your learning pace or your progress in the course. Being in contact with your professor in an online course is especially important since they aren’t physically there all the time to notice if you are struggling and/or what you are struggling with.

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Hours Spent Online: Just like a regular classroom course, an online course requires hours of invested time. For example, almost all online courses have some form of classroom engagement, whether that is through a voice-thread post or discussion board entry. Discussions allow you to share your knowledge of the topics and lessons of the week as well as bring forward any questions you wish to ask fellow students.

In most cases, instructors will ask a prompt and require you to answer the prompt based on the knowledge of the lessons given that week. Following your response, instructors typically request that you respond to another student’s answer to the prompt with either an agreement, disagreement, or another question.  In addition to discussion posts, Stephanie Larson of US News states that your teacher may require you to watch/listen to lectures, participate in group projects and complete other assignments such as a quiz, homework exercise, or exam.

Credit Transfers: One very important thing that many students forget to take into consideration when looking into online classes is whether or not the credits will transfer to their institution. Now, this is only the case if you were taking a course(s) at a different school than your main, however, it is still knowledge that all students should know.

Perhaps you’re taking a course over the summer to lessen the number of credits you take in the fall, or maybe you need an easy course to take to fulfill certain criteria in your major — regardless, connect with an academic advisor before enrolling to make sure that the credits transfer correctly and how you expect them to. You don’t want to waste time or money on a course that doesn’t count toward anything!

Though online courses can mistakenly be viewed as easy or not engaging enough, they are quite the opposite! While taking courses online is not for everyone, if you find yourself in a situation where it works for you, my advice is to go for it! Do not let the fear of going against the traditional college experience keep you from doing what works best for you. As always, good luck!

By Alicia Geigel

Uloop Writer
Temple alum | columnist at Uloop News | photographer | food blogger if you want to learn more about me, visit my profile and check out my articles!

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