How Online Classes Work

Are you considering taking online classes and wondering just how they work? Read on to find out.

Most people are familiar with correspondence courses, the old-fashioned distance learning method, and how they work. Online learning, which has gained remarkable popularity in recent years with many academic institutions using technological advances to offer education to individuals, is another effective method for those looking for alternative education options. Simply put, an online class is a class that happens with the use of the Internet. There is an increased acceptance and recognition of online education among prospective employers, which is why more and more students decide on this learning method. Add to that other benefits, such as flexibility, convenience and affordability.

Just how do online classes work?

  • The first thing you need in order to attend your classes online is a computer. You will also need a stable Internet connection. In case you do not have a computer at home, you might be able to use the computers at your local library or community college. However, it may be easier for you to get your coursework done if you had your own computer at home since you won’t have to share it with anyone else or wait for your turn.
  • Just because you are taking online classes doesn’t mean that you can procrastinate or ignore your course requirements. While it is true that no professor or instructor will be breathing down your neck, you will be responsible for reading assigned textbooks and turning in all required homework and papers on or before the deadline.
  • Some online courses require students to download exams into a program, usually a word processing software, complete them and upload them to the instructor. Others necessitate taking the exams through the prescribed class website. Some exams may be timed, so you need to make sure you won’t be distracted or disturbed while taking them. Most instructors give online students essay tests and “open book” examinations. Others give monitored online tests by using special software or websites that prevent you from opening anything other than the test on your computer screen. In addition, some of these types of tests activate your computer’s webcam so that instructors can keep an eye on students as they take the tests to make sure they aren’t opening books.
  • Aside from completing homework, papers, projects and taking exams, students enrolled in online programs must participate in class by posting their questions and answers in class forums or discussion boards. Some classes are also held with the help of VOIP software, such as Skype, which helps students get somewhat of a face-to-face interaction with the instructor, similar to what happens in an on-site class. These platforms are often provided by online classes in order to encourage interaction between students and instructors. You will also likely have access to your instructor’s email address.

What are the different types of online learning methods?

The types of online learning fall under two categories: synchronous and asynchronous learning. In synchronous learning, the participants are required to attend the online class at the same time. Asynchronous learning gives students the freedom to work at their own pace and on their free time, provided that they are able to meet the established deadlines for submission of coursework.