For You or Not For You: Online Classes

August 25, 2012 Category: Distance Education

online college coursesOnline classes are not for everyone.  There are a lot of benefits to them, but just as many negatives depending on the type of student you are.  Some students are more successful in traditional face to face classroom where your comfort level may thrive having an actual instructor in front of you to ask questions to.  Before deciding on an online course, perhaps evaluating yourself as a student may be a good course of action.

Online college courses are recommended for those who students who are independent, determined, and highly motivated due to the fact that you will have to self-regulate.  There is not a teacher reminding you of due dates or assignments, so you need to learn how to pace yourself according to the class.  All assignments must be turned in on time and you will need to stay on top of everything.  There is also minimal supervision given to online classes such that the teacher simply states his/her expectations and you in turn follow through with them.

When taking online college courses, the recommendation would be to take as few classes as possible given each class top priority.  Make sure you not only read and print the syllabus, but know it by heart.  Most of the class’s responsibility will be on your shoulders, so make sure you know what is expected of you.  You will receive tons of information up front and it is you responsibility to absorb it.  Online courses should be given at least 10 hours a week of attention if not more.

You might want to read up on online etiquette for these classes also.  You should have the basic understanding as to what is expected for communicating within the course timeline.  Communication is pretty straight forward such as using blogs, email or chat forum, but do not do things like type in all caps.  Things like that are considered rude; it is the online equivalent of shouting.  Also, be certain to proofread all your emails and posts before you submit or send them.  Keep in mind that without body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and other nonverbal cues, emails and posts can come across rather harsher than intended.

Once you have taken your first online college course, you will probably know if online classes are for you.  Do not get too discouraged if you feel they are not.  Sometimes it takes more time to just get used to this type of learning style.  Do remember though, to be a successful online learner, it takes a great deal of time and self-discipline.

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