Online classes are becoming more popular among both traditional and non-traditional college students. Before you start one of these classes, though, there are a few things you should know. Below are just nine of the things you should consider before attending your first online class.
1- Online Classes are Real
The first thing you must realize about online classes is that they’re just that – classes. You aren’t going to pass more easily because they are online, nor will you be able to skip out on the work. If you can’t cut it in a regular classroom, you probably won’t be able to cut it online.
2- There’s No Single Type of Online Course
There are many different types of online classes. Some are discussion based. Some are based entirely on papers. Others require you to watch lectures online. Know what kind of class you are taken before you register in order to find a class that suits you.
3- Online Classes Are Changing
Online courses are currently in a state of flux. As technology develops, so too do these classes. Classes can change format each semester, so you can’t count on what you’ve heard about any given class being true. Always check with your potential school or instructor to find out if the format of the class has changed.
4- Online Courses Require Focus
Online classes require tremendous focus. In fact, some think that online classes are ill-suited for younger students because they require a level of focus that’s above and beyond what most find in typical college classrooms. These classes can be a major test of a student’s ability to stay on task.
5- Some Online Courses Require More Work
Some online classes require more work than their in-person peers. In many of these classes, there’s no lecture – you’ll be required to teach yourself from the textbook. This means that you’ll have to do much more work than you’d have to do in a more traditional learning environment. It’s not uncommon for an online course to require students to write a paper a week, for example, simply because there is no lecture time. Don’t go into an online course assuming you’ll get away with doing less.
6- Online Classes Require More Motivation
An online degree requires students to be more motivated. If you need help, you’ll have to go out of your way to reach out. The lack of standardized classes also makes it harder to feel a sense of responsibility. If you aren’t good at holding yourself accountable, an online class might be tough for you.
7- Online Classes Might Be Better For You
Despite the high level of work and motivation, many point out that online classes are great for non-traditional learners. Students have a better chance of going at their own pace in these classes, and those who don’t benefit from the traditional lecture model often find themselves more engaged with the class format. Online classes can be a great way for students who have more focus and motivation to get through school.
8- You’re Saving Money – But Not That Much
One of the major reasons that students take online classes is to save money. Unfortunately, you may not be saving quite as much as you imagine. Many schools have higher tuition rates for online students and tack on heavy technology fees for those classes. Even worse, you might find yourself paying many of the same student fees that on-campus students pay – even if you never set foot on campus. These classes might be a bit more expensive than you’d think.
9- You’re in the Classroom of the Future
Online classes may well be the classes of the future. There are now entirely online high schools and most major universities offer online classes. While you might be participating in an early version of this class style, rest assured – you’re taking the same kind of classes that generations to come will be taking.
Online classes can be great for those who are prepared. Go in willing to work and you’ll find the experience quite rewarding. While it may not be the same as a traditional class, you’ll walk away with the same level of education.