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Are Online Classes For You

Updated on April 22, 2010

Have you considered taking online classes?  There are plenty of online colleges out there that would love your business.  However, not everyone is cut out for taking online classes.  In addition, not all online schools will provide you with an education that has credentials you'll be able to use in your workplace or transfer to other schools.  The following information may help you decide whether online classes are for you, or whether taking classes in a traditional setting will suit you best.

Photo by Erikreis at
Photo by Erikreis at

Online Class Basic Requirements

Are you familiar with social networking?  Can you find anything you need to know by searching several search engines?  Do you know how to make a webcam work?  Do you have an email address?  If you can answer yes to these questions, odds are that you have the necessary technical knowledge you'll need to survive taking online classes.  Most coursework at online colleges will require you to log in several times a week and participate in group discussions or post in a classroom forum.  You'll also be expected to upload your assignments to a website or submit them via email to your professor.

Only Self Starters Need Apply

Assuming you're technologically savvy, the next thing you should consider before signing up for online classes is whether you're a self starter or not. This is a very important factor in deciding whether to take online classes or not. Initially, the idea of not having to drive somewhere to classes sounds great. You can go to school in your jammies, drink coffee through lectures and do research without having to set foot in those hallowed library halls at a university. Unfortunately, the drawbacks are that you won't be in a regular classroom, no one will really notice whether you show up to class or not and blowing off assignments is incredibly easy. There is no real face-to-face contact, so it becomes very easy to slack off and possibly stop attending your virtual school all together.

Unless you are someone who is organized and driven, taking online classes may not be for you. You have to make the time to submit assignments, interact online with your classmates and do your reading and research all by yourself. For some people, this means balancing school, family and work priorities. In many cases, school online easily falls to the bottom of the priority pile since you won't have to physically get to a classroom at a brick and mortar university.

What To Expect From Online Classes

Going to school online can be a great opportunity for those who are disabled, live in a rural area, are in the military or simply have an unusual work schedule that prohibits them from attending school during normal hours.

Online students can expect to be challenged when they first start taking classes online. It is a good idea to take the minimum number of credit hours the first semester until navigating the virtual world of their university is achieved. There are many things to learn, such as how to use the library and other resources, how to interact with other students, when to post in forums, how to get assignments to professors and in some cases, virtual lectures and webcam meetings. Each online college or university has a different way of doing things, so the first semester or quarter will be spent learning how to use the various resources.

If you're up for a challenge and are tech savvy as well as motivated, online coursework may be for you. There are many accredited online colleges and universities that can provide you with a challenging virtual environment and help you achieve your dreams and degrees.


Submit a Comment

  • Jameshank profile image

    Jameshank 6 years ago from Japan, NY, California

    You have raised a good point here. Online classes are certainly options to look into when taking into account financial considerations. Good hub!

  • bdouble28 profile image

    bdouble28 6 years ago

    It's certainly more difficult but if you put your best foot forward, it will pay off along with the reduced costs.

  • mbaker2012 profile image

    mbaker2012 6 years ago

    Thank you for the hub. I find that online education is very challenging and takes a lot of motivation to continue so it fits me well.

  • cmellon86 profile image

    cmellon86 6 years ago

    Online classes definitely take more work. A lot of it requires more effort on the student due to the nature of the environment.

  • Gerber Ink profile image

    Charlotte Gerber 6 years ago from upstate New York

    Hi ecamper23, I finished the last year of my college courses online. It was a LOT cheaper since I didn't have to pay for housing, campus fees and a meal plan. I think more colleges will provide online courses as the cost of attending college is rising.

  • ecamper23 profile image

    ecamper23 6 years ago

    I think in the future more people will choose to learn online since it's more convenient and it saves people money.

  • Aley Martin profile image

    Alice Lee Martin 7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

    This is good. I love teaching online classes, and have only lost about 1% of my students each term. Most who do not like it either are not motivated to learn by being proactive, or hate reading anyway. (I teach literature) That being said, the students who do take the courses discuss more than in class students do, as they are anonymous contributors for the most part, and their grade depends on participation. There are many people hesitant to take a class online and yet by 2015 or so, 50 % or more courses will be offered online, drastically cutting higher education costs. All balances out.