Online learning is more available than ever.This means students have access to a whole new method of learning, one that might work really well for them. Online learning means you are essentially in a virtual classroom, learning from one instructor through powerpoint presentations, video lectures, readings, etc. You will most likely have assignments, group discussions, quizzes and of course a final exam. Online learning can be a great alternative to in class learning for some people. If you’re interested in taking an online course, here’s what you should consider…
Advantages of online courses
1. The convenience of being able to learn from the comfort of home or pretty much anywhere with a Wifi connection. You can learn and get course credit while lounging in your sweatpants, if you like.
2. You don’t have to worry about spending time and money on commuting to and from class. This is especially nice when the weather is far from perfect, winter is coming folks!
3. The beauty of online learning is that all the information is there for you to access whenever you want or need it. This allows you a lot of flexibility for other aspects in your life. This also means you go at your own pace and apply your own learning style. Just remember that your are solely responsible for keeping up with the course.
Another bonus? Some online courses either don’t require any online textbooks or will include all the course materials for no extra cost!
Disadvantages of online courses
1. There is no face-to-face time with the Professor. It’s definitely beneficial for some learners to be in a lecture hall environment since the interaction helps them absorb the information and makes them feel more part of a community.
2. There may be limited support from other people when taking an online class. Since you are not in a face-to-face learning environment, you are not in the vicinity of other students, TA’s and the Professor to bounce ideas off of or ask questions. However, in an online course you will still have group discussions and have access to a TA, just in an online format.
3. Technology requirements may prevent some people from being able to take an online class. If you don’t have regular access to a computer, it may be difficult for you to stay on track.
Tips for taking an online course
1. Self-motivation is extremely important when you’re enrolled in an online class. Keeping organized is a priority and key to your success. You’ll also have to keep track of your time commitment to the class. Create a schedule where you set aside time to study and complete assignments. Make sure you are reviewing the content frequently, staying on top of deadlines and asking questions when you need to.
2. Set goals for yourself and use a reward system. Treat yourself to a longer break, that sweet you’ve been eyeing or anything that will recharge you after a study session. This will keep you positive during tense school times.
3. Designating a small study area can help you maintain your study routine. Make it a place that is quiet, organized and will help you focus on the task at hand.
4. Utilize the resources available to you. Most online courses will give you access to numerous sites, videos and readings that relate to your course topic. These resources will help you better understand the course!
I hope this gave you a little insight to what is involved in an online course and if you are interested in taking one,you can talk to your academic advisor for more information. Also, check out Brock’s website and keep an eye out for the 2016-2017 undergraduate calendar.
You can also check out OntarioLearn. They provide students with access to online classes that are offered by Ontario colleges.