Taking Online Courses for the First Time

calendar with exam date circled

Online courses can either be a blessing or a disaster, and only you have the power to determine the outcome. It’s often a blessing in disguise at first, because you’ll see that you have one less class to physically go to, but time management is definitely going to be your best friend.

This is my first semester taking online courses, and so far it’s really good and I enjoy it a lot. Being able to have a clearer schedule from taking online classes can benefit you if you are working, or if you live off campus and don’t wish to come to school every day, and prefer having two or three days of class. This semester I go to school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Having only three days of classes extremely benefits me in terms of me having more time to focus on schoolwork, as well as being able to go to work more hours.

My brother has always taken online classes, and he usually goes to school for two days a week, and I’ve always envied him for that reason. That is the reason I decided to give online courses a shot, and I’ve had no problems with it so far. I highly recommend giving it a try at least once, just because it is a different approach to learning, and not necessarily different, depending on how you make it. I’ve always had classes the traditional way and I figured if some people are better learners online than in person, than I should explore that option as well.

This semester I am taking two online classes: Chinese Culture & Civilization and English 310 Technical Writing. Next semester I will be taking three online courses. Most classes offer an online course version, and in case it doesn’t, it might have a hybrid version available. That means you’ll have to go to class physically one day, as well as have assignments online.

An online course really caught my eye because I live far from campus, around a forty-five minute to an hour drive front and back. I took classes Monday to Thursday my first semester, and knew that it would be physically draining to drive back and forth almost every day for a one or two classes a day. The ability to take online courses is better in my opinion, because I know when all assignments and quizzes and tests are assigned. I mark down reminders and alerts on my calendar to make sure I stay up to date with every assignment, and sometimes you can forget very easily, but you have to be responsible enough to handle it when there’s an assignment due.

I have noticed by asking others if they ever took an online class and most have not, but there are a majority of people who fear they won’t get to learn as much as a traditional class would, but that’s only true if you don’t want to learn, because they provide excellent slides or video presentations and tons of information for you to understand the material. It’s just like learning in person except you have a computer, laptop, or phone in front of you instead of a professor and classmates. The discussion boards in those online courses are going to be extremely beneficial, because whenever you don’t understand something you can post it on the discussion board, and another student might help out. Professors can also insert their input as well. You will still have classmates in online classes, but you just won’t be able to see them.

Treat an online class as if it was a regular class because there will be the same assignments, and if you think just because it is an online class it will be easy and there would be little to no work, then don’t take it. It really takes a lot of responsibility to be able to handle online courses. It is not easy nor is it impossible or hard. It is completely manageable, and you should have little to no problem if you do all your assignments on time and correctly. The good thing about having an online class is you are able to start assignments that aren’t due yet, and finish them beforehand to give yourself more time to relax and focus on other classes. I love online courses and I will continue to take them, but having a healthy balance of physically being in class is also good.