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Advice and Tips For Taking Online College Classes

Updated on October 21, 2015

Online College Is Convenient...But Is It For Everyone?

If you are thinking about taking online college classes there are several things to consider in order to get the most benefits from the experience.

First things first, distance learning is not for everyone but if you are looking for independent study options and the convenience of online learning, then online classes may just be what you are looking for.

The most important advice about taking college classes online is that students must have the discipline to be able to study independently, however there are some other factors to take into consideration. You have to be able to use the computer easily because all of your work is completed online. You must be able to read and comprehend instructions because most learning is self administered. You have to be able to make yourself put education as a top priority because if you don't place importance on it, you will not get the job done.

What's The Difference in Online Universities?

Online college has been known to have a negative reputation, however a degree achieved through taking online courses from an accredited university is just as prestigious as a traditional college degree. Just because an online education is more flexible does not mean it is any less important.

Almost all colleges and university offer online courses as part of their curriculum. You can mix and match classes where you only take half the courses on line or you can take the entire degree program online.

The computer is your classroom so when you take an online course, you will find that you need to check in often to your classes for assignments and announcements. There are usually discussion boards where you can interact with other students and ask questions. Quizzes, midterms and finals are also part of the online education process. There is even a library where you can have access to further reading.

The main difference is that you have flexibility in when and how much time you put in the classroom.

Online College Degree
Online College Degree

What are the Benefits of Online Classes?

  • Save Money - Attending college classes via the internet saves you money because you do not have to pay for commuting costs and there are no room and board costs. Additionally attending classes online often have a more condensed time frame so you can achieve your education goals in less time.
  • Convenience - Class is accessible 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Location does not matter. Whether you are at home in the office or on a trip, you always have the ability to check into class or work on an assignment. As long as you have a computer you can attend class.
  • Independence - There is no structure of a brick and mortar college building. You can learn at your own pace and drop in to study whenever your schedule allows. You do not have to be somewhere at a specified time. Online learning allows the student to independently learn.
  • Flexibility - This is one of the major benefits of online college classes. You can attend classes when you want. Professors often give a variety of ways to learn whether it be via multi-media presentations, online lectures or accessing websites.
  • Ease of Communications - Both teachers and other students are easily accessible through email and online discussions. For some people it is much easier to communicate openly because they are protected from a face to face encounter.
  • Diversity - Online classes are often international and will expose you to a diverse range of students and teachers. You have the ability to learn various teaching and learning skils from other cultures.
  • Broadens Learning - Using the internet for research will expand an online students knowledge base. The ability to teach yourself is a skill that will benefit in all aspects of life.
  • Ability to combine work with a career - Taking college courses via the computer give you the option of keeping a job while going to school. Because of the flexibility of being able to access your classes at anytime, online college allows you to combine school and career.
  • Learn Real World Skills - Besides specific program knowledge, taking classes online teaches a multitude of beneficial skills that you can use throughout your life. These include self discipline, the ability to multi-task, an appreciation for learning and life management skills.

What's Your Opinion Of Online College Classes?

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7 Tips For Success at Online College Classes

If you decide to take the plunge into online learning here are some ideas to insure your success at obtaining an online degree.

  1. Stay Organized - Keep all your studying in one place. Print out the syllabus from each class so you are aware of due dates for homework and tests. It is best to keep everything on a calender so you can view upcoming work for all your classes. This is especially important if you are taking more than one course.
  2. Manage Your Time - Many times online students are also working and may even have families. Time has to be fairly well managed so you make sure you have time to complete the course work. Make a time schedule for tasks using to do lists and planners to help you manage.
  3. Stay Committed - Focus on your goals. Remember that a semester of class is only so long and you can make it through.
  4. Avoid Procrastination - Never put things off when taking an online class. If you do you will find that you tend to fall behind and trying to play catch up makes you feel overwhelmed. You will find that you are less stressed when deadlines approach.
  5. Get Familiar With the Software For Your Online Course - Since the computer in your classroom, you need to know all the ins and outs of getting around the class. Before class starts, you should know where to find announcements by the teachers, how to participate in discussions and basically how it works.
  6. Participate - In order to get the most out of an online education, you need to participate in your class. Take part in class discussions, communicate with students and teachers, and ask questions.
  7. Use Resources - The internet is a major player in online college. Know how to best use it for research for classes. It truly is a wealth of information which will help you in your online college classes.

Free Online College Classes


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    • Haley Schaeffer profile image

      Haley Schaeffer 5 years ago from San Diego

      I am a huge proponent of online education and I think you did a great job of hitting on its most important benefits. Great job with your Hub!