Online courses are becoming more mainstream at college universities. These are not just for adult learners anymore! Dr. Tawna Schmidt delves into what makes online courses unique and how they could work for you.
Online Courses Explained
An online course could consist of a few different methods:
- 100% Online.
- Coursework can be completed anywhere at anytime.
- Never have to be on campus.
- Uses a specific platform where the student logs in and everything they need for the class is there.
- Instructors interact with students requiring responses to questions and completed assignments/test.
- Students are responsible for responding back to other students on discussion boards/posts.
- Hybrid/Blended Courses.
- Students are required to go to campus once or twice.
- This blends some components of strictly online classes and traditional on campus work.
- Satellite courses are different from online courses.
- Requires students to log in at a specific time online.
- Does not require commuting to campus.
“In 2014, the National Center of Educational Statistics found that in 2012 there were 5.4 million students that took at least one online course,” states Schmidt.
Attendance is taken through the platform and records what students are doing and how long they are doing it. “The daily questions are the alternative for the discussion,” explains Schmidt. There is usually a minimum number of responses required to create an online discussion board to mimic in-class conversations.
Advantages and Benefits of Online Courses
“Five or six years ago, they became popular for the nontraditional student,” describes Schmidt. However, online classes provide incredible flexibility for every type of student.
Some examples of who is taking an online class:
- Mothers who work from home.
- People with inflexible work schedules.
- Students that want to get ahead or catch up in high school.
- Student athletes.
- Traditional students wanting to get ahead over summer school.
- Students that go to college out of state.
- Community college students that are planning to transfer.
Online courses are on the rise at all universities. They are no longer strictly for the nontraditional student.
Universities are offering an increasing number of courses and credits through the online platform.
While younger students have grown up with technology, older generations are still able to successfully use online courses.
Are Online Courses Right For Me?
Dr. Schmidt recommends beginning with one online course because it is not for everyone.
This type of coursework requires a lot of self-discipline and self-motivation. It is a different type of learning.
Some of the traits parents/students should consider when thinking about taking an online class:
- Learning Style.
- Are you very social? These students probably need to be in class so they don’t miss that component.
- Visual learners might need to go to class and see the actual presentation/power point.
- Online courses are usually more expensive because you pay for the convenience.
- Resistance to Technology.
- The platform the class is offered in is it. You have to be able to adapt.
- Can you read online or do you need an actual book/paper in your hand?
- Do you need to show up at class and explain why you didn’t do something to be motivated to get it done?
- It is near impossible to catch up if you fall too far behind.
“When I first started with online, teaching it and as a student, I was amazed to learn you can get a lot of interactions from the online discussions, but it doesn’t feel as tangible as in person,” notes Schmidt.
LINKS AND RESOURCES:
- Email available on the website if you have questions, especially for parents wondering if this is a good fit for their child.
- How Do I Know If Online Courses Are For Me. (Download)
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