Technology has undoubtedly helped facilitate the learning process, especially for colleges. Students can earn degrees online at their own pace from the comfort of their homes or while working. Online classes have reduced the number of hours spent on commuting and time wasted between lectures to almost zero!
But how exactly do online classes work for college? Here we address the five top concerns many people have.
Student interaction & group activity
You are certainly not alone when you enroll in an online degree. Along with fellow students, you will be able to learn, discuss, and complete group work using online tools.
Similar to a physical classroom, you will be required to participate in class and discussions. Communication will primarily be in message boards, forums, and social media platforms, where you would meet to solve problems and complete group assignments. So that you know, your participation can count towards your grade.
Sometimes you may be invited to campus for face-to-face meetings. However, this will be entirely optional for most degree programs. Other gatherings may be for team building activities and networking.
Proactive online students would introduce themselves to their professors and faculty to forge good relationships. Online colleges should have good technical support via phone, email, and chats to facilitate communication.
Assignments & Exams
Online degree assignments vary between majors. The commitment to complete and hand in projects and research papers will be similar to on-campus students.
For sure, it will not be any easier for online students. Online college students need to embrace technology to upload assignments and conduct online presentations. You will learn to overcome these little challenges as you progress.
Online classes hold exams in multiple formats. Again, exams are not easier for online students. They can be open-book, timed, online proctored (virtually monitored), or proctored at a local exam center near you.
Online classroom structure
When you enroll in an online college, you will have access to the Learning Management System (LMS). Here, you can view the syllabus, grades, lessons, course materials, contact the professors, faculty, and support staff. Your classmates will also be on the LMS, where you may interact and network.
There are a few things you should be concerned about right here. Firstly, your devices. You will need a laptop to do work. Next, inquire if you could access the LMS on your smartphone, as you need to attend classes on the go.
Thirdly, you will need a stable internet connection with adequate bandwidth when attending classes. Finally, enquire if your college provides all the software necessary to succeed in the course.
How flexible is it?
The most profound feature of online classes is self-paced or asynchronous. All this means is that students get to learn and complete coursework at their own pace but meet the given deadline. It is a flexible learning format.
However, do also note that there may be instances where professors require you to attend live lectures where you can participate through video-conferencing a platform.
Some programs would allow accelerated completion, primarily if you enrolled in an accelerated online associate degree program.
Online colleges typically do not stick to a standard academic calendar. A year can be divided into the regular 14- week semesters or broken down into multiple smaller terms.
Some colleges may allow you to choose the number of courses you take in a semester. Others may require you to complete a term as a cohort.
Investigate this further if you already have work or family commitments. Also, discuss with your employers and family members and see how you can manage time better.
Is online college right for you?
Online classes do not mean you will go through it all alone. You want to participate, interact, and network with fellow students and professors, as you would in a traditional college setting.
Most online colleges design their LMS to keep online classes as flexible as possible. Therefore, it is totally up to you to be self-disciplined and self-motivated to achieve your academic goals.