Taking an online course offers several advantages including schedule flexibility and being able to work at your own pace (within the parameters of course deadlines). However, online courses can also be challenging in many ways and they are definitely not any easier than face-to-face courses. The work load for an online course is exactly the same as for a face-to-face course and requires the same amount of time and commitment. Below are listed several skills you will need to be successful as an online student.
You'll need to be self-motivated and able to work independently.
As an online student, you should be able to put coursework first even when you would rather be doing something else.
Completing assignments will require self-discipline.
As an online student, you should not procrastinate. You should be able to create a plan so that course deadlines are met – without being reminded of due dates. Online courses are not self-paced; they have real deadlines and real consequences if these deadlines are not met.
Effective time management skills are necessary.
As an online student, you should be able to schedule specific times throughout the week to devote to online courses. In some instances this could include 2 to 4 hours per day per course to review lectures/videos, complete assignments, participate in discussion boards, etc.
You'll need patience to wait for a response/feedback.
As an online student, you should not always expect immediate feedback on your work. Feedback times may vary by instructor and/or assignment type so consult your class syllabus for your instructor's feedback guidelines. You should however reasonably expect responses to email and phone messages within two business days (business days do not include weekends or holidays).
Reading and writing skills are essential.
Reading and writing are central to online courses. As an online student, you should be able to follow and comprehend course material through reading and be able to effectively communicate and express yourself well through writing. Correct and appropriate language, spelling, punctuation, and/or citations are expected.
You may be required to come to campus for an assessment/class activity.
Check the 'Section Info' in the course search.
Taking an online class does not mean less time spent with the course material. In fact, often it means even more time.
So what exactly would a sample semester/week look like when taking online classes?