Online classroom structured varies, experts say. But normally, online students regularly log into a learning management system, or LMS, a virtual portal where students can view their syllabus and grades; contact professors, classmates, and services to support you; access course materials; and monitor their progress on lessons.
LMS from schools is accessible on mobile devices so they can complete coursework anytime and anywhere. They will also likely need a strong online connection and any required software, like a word processor.
The same as in traditional courses, the workload for online classes varies — but do not expect your course to be easier simply because it’s online. Many online students say they spend 15 to 20 hours a week on coursework.
While some online degree programs follow the traditional semester-based program, others split the year into smaller terms, and graduation credit requirements may vary rather than 14-week semesters. Sometimes students can select the number of courses they take at one time, while in other programs, they must stick to a set curriculum roadmap as a component of a cohort. Prospective students should determine whether the academic calendar is structured in a manner that will allow them to balance work, school, and family.
When to attend courses
Online courses typically have an asynchronous, or self-paced, portion; students complete coursework on their own time but still have to meet weekly deadlines. Sticking with just this style of studying can be ideal for people who juggle work and family commitments and may not be able to log in at a certain hour. You should find out more about what to ask about flexibility when enrolling in online courses.
Some online classes may also have a synchronous component, where students view live lectures online and at times take part in discussions through video conferencing, this allows learners to participate and build stronger relationships.
The necessity to attend the campus
Several online classes issue policies for students to attend a residency on the school’s campus before or during the program. The policies itself could be changed at any time.
Students must complete activities such as team-building, network and attend informational sessions. Especially in health fields like nursing, certain online applications may require working in a clinical setting.
Interact in an online college classes
If a course requires students to travel to campus, that’s a good way to get to know classmates, experts say. Students may otherwise communicate through discussion forums, social media and — especially for teamwork — video conferencing, in addition to phone and email.
Online learners interact with Professors in similar ways, even though they may have to be more educated than doctoral pupils to develop a strong relationship. That may involve introducing themselves to their teacher before classes begin and attending office hours if offered.
These depend largely on the discipline. But generally speaking, students should expect assignments which are similar to those in on-ground programs, such as research papers and proctored examinations — along with online-specific assignments, such as reacting to professor-posed questions in a discussion board.
Online college classes can also require group jobs where students communicate virtually, in addition to remote presentations. These are types of assignment that usually occurs in attending online college classes.
- Read then respond: This type of assignment carefully reflects the face-to-face lecture. Instructors give video lectures, articles or book chapters and assign students a set of questions. Students can read or watch the material at their own speed, provided that they meet the deadline for their answers.
- Research papers: Writing about research is a required skill for many graduate levels, and publishing original research is a measure of expertise in many disciplines.
- Discussion boards: the discussion forum is meant to replace the in-class discussion or seminar. Some discussions require students to submit responses before having the ability to find out what classmates wrote.
- Journals: The journal assignment is usually a private way for online students to communicate with the teacher. Sometimes, journal topics are prescribed and formal, but usually, these assignments allow students to express ideas, opinions, concerns, and questions regarding course material.
- Case assignments: These are more popular in certain fields than others. Generally, an assigned reading or movie vividly depicts a real-world example of the issues or concepts the class is learning about, describing each the salient details and information. Well-constructed cases force students to examine problems and research, test and present potential solutions.
- Self-paced adaptive assignments: Flexible learning is growing in popularity, especially in areas such as math and science.
- Exams: are also common in online courses. However, the rules and testing environments can differ based on the institution. Some will use proctoring services that track students through webcams and identity verification questions.
Online learners may need to visit a local testing site, using an on-site proctor. They may also take virtually monitored exams online, where a proctor watches via webcam or where computer software detects cheating by checking the test-takers’ displays.