Taking Your College Online

The preference of taking classes in a classroom setting over taking those same courses online is understandable. You normally don’t get the same kind of engagement if you were to take an online course; but does that necessarily mean that one is better than the other? Here, I’m going to go over what to expect out of an online college course (in case if you’ve never taken one before) and how you can get the most out of it.

For many students, their experience of an online class ends up being a version of a “textbook course”. In other words, all you do is read out of the textbook required for the course, do a few practice assignments, and take a test at the end. Now since online education is still relatively new, this kind of teaching approach from professors is understandable since they’re not used to teaching in any other way, other than the traditional method of lecturing in a classroom. There are, however, professors out there that make better utilization of the online environment to satisfy the variety of learning styles¬†that are out there.

As most online professors should know, the key to creating a successful class is to create one that provides engagement; this can include things like group discussions, project collaboration, visual/auditory instruction, and the sort. I once took an online course in technical writing and I must say that I enjoyed it more than any of the offline classes I had taken that semester. Each student was paired up and set for each assignment to critique each other’s work. Each student then had to log their experience with the assignment in the discussion board by answering a few questions and then comment on two other posts. It was very mechanical at first, but it required everyone to interact and get to know one another. Throughout the week, the professor would post up extra content for us to read or watch, some of it not even having anything to do with the course, if only for the purpose of inspiration. Now I happened to stumble upon this course by mistake. For you though, it would help to ask around on campus to find the ones that do online the right way.

What I’ve mentioned so far is just throwing online courses into the mix. Another option too that colleges usually offer is hybrid courses, which consists of regularly meeting for a classroom lecture and then doing the course work online. If you’re comfortable with it though, you can take your entire degree online, and there are many universities out there that provide good online degree programs. For many universities though, tuition costs are about the same for online and on-campus students, plus they tack on an online fee for just not utilizing their campus. But there¬†is an advantage to this, as you can acquire all your credits sitting at home and having flexible hours at work no longer becomes a concern. Some offer tuition-free courses as well, but they may not be for-credit courses, so you may want to look out for that.