How Do Online College Classes Work?

Online college classes and universities are hot. Whether you are a seeking your first degree or hoping to further your education, online college classes are a convenient and affordable option. Many students considering online college classes may find the prospect of taking an online class to be intimidating. However, taking online college classes is very similar to taking a traditional college class. You can expect to have assignments, homework and exams. The only difference is that all of your work will be done online.

What do you need?

To take an online class, you need to have a functioning computer, reliable internet access and any software or materials required by the school. Sometimes all class materials will be available online, although some classes will use traditional print textbooks. When you register for an online class, you will be provided with login information for the school’s course management platform. Don’t worry if you have trouble navigating the course site. The school’s technical support staff will help you access any content you need.


What will I be expected to do?

Just like a traditional class, you will be required to read course materials, watch or listen to class lectures, complete assignments and take tests. The first step is to find the course syllabus, which will usually be located under a specific tab in the course management site. The syllabus will explain the components of the course and the order in which they should be completed. Course lectures will be recorded and uploaded online. Unlike a traditional class, you will be able to watch or listen to the lecture on your own time. You can also replay the material as many times as needed to fully understand it.

How do I complete and turn in my assignments?

Your class will also require you to complete assignments. These can be found in the assignments section of the course website. Some of your assignments may be completed online, such as quizzes and discussion assignments. Some assignments will require you to perform outside research and writing. These assignments will need to be uploaded online. Make sure you understand the format and requirements for an assignment before you turn it in. Your professor will assist you if you need help completing or uploading your assignment. Also be sure to pay attention to deadlines.

How can I ask questions and participate in discussions?

The software management platform for the class will usually include a discussion area. Most professors will require you to participate in the discussion for a grade. The discussion will usually take place in a discussion board format, where questions or ideas are posted and students are required to respond. Some classes may require students to participate in chat groups where students must log on at a certain time to engage in live discussion with other students. Professors are available by email to answer any additional questions you may have.

How do I take my exams?

Exams will be taken online. Sometimes you will have several days to complete and upload the exam, while other classes may require you to block off a certain amount of time to complete an exam online. Regardless of the format the exam takes, be sure that you have enough time set aside to fully focus on the task. Not all classes require an exam. You may be asked to complete a long-term project or paper instead.

Online classes are just like traditional classes, except you are able to take them in the comfort of your own home and on your own time. If you still feel nervous about taking an online class, speak with students who have taken a class online and get their impressions before you begin. Admissions professionals, professors and technical support staff are also available to answer your questions and help you make the transition from the traditional classroom to the online classroom.

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