If you’ve been considering going back to school and studying a degree online, read this blog on how online classes work and what to really expect…
Between working all day, taking care of the children, and any other daily tasks you have, trying to go to a traditional college may not be in the cards. So, if a BA or completing a graduate degree is part of your life plan, you might want to consider going the online route.
So, let’s take a look at how online classes work and why doing it this way is a great option for busy moms.
1. How Do I “Attend” Class
This is usually the first question that pops into people’s heads when considering to take online classes. Well, it varies from institution to institution. Most programs have a learning management system, or LMS, students log in to regularly. This is where students can check their syllabus and grades, engage with the professors and students, get in touch with support services, get course materials, and see how they are doing with the lesson progress.
If you are lucky, your chosen school’s LMS can also be accessed on your mobile device. Just make sure you also download any required software so you can complete course work anywhere you need to.
2. Are They Legitimate Schools
Most times you can take classes from a well-known school. And while it is reassuring to enroll in a school you know is accredited, sometimes they don’t offer a program you are interested in. So, make sure you look up any prospective school you are looking at to see if they have accreditation.
3. How Do Exams Work
Most of the time students have essays or projects which are then used as assessments for grades. However, sometimes there is the need to have proctored exams. There are two ways these are administered.
1: You head to a local testing site. There will be an on-site proctor who administers the exam and then sends them off to be graded.
2: You do it online where there are two different ways to monitor test-takers. One is where you are watched via a webcam by a teacher or some other proctor. The other is with software which monitors the taker’s screen for cheating.
4. What Is The Work Load Like
Just like if you go to a brick and mortar school, it can vary from class to class. However, if you are expecting a lighter workload because you are doing it online, you may be in for a rude awakening.
Students should expect to spend about 9-14 hours a week for each class they are enrolled in. So, it is important to make sure you manage your time during the week well so you aren’t playing catch up at the end of the semester.
5. How Does The Semester Work
One of the main things people wonder about how online courses work is how the semesters are broken up. This is another thing that will vary from program to program. Some do the traditional 14 week semester, while others may opt for shorter terms with different requirements for the credits needed to graduate.
There may also be different requirements for how many classes you have to take each term. Some let you chose your coursed and load. However, others require you to take a set course load. So, when choosing an online program it is important to find one that allows you to balance school, work, family, and still get a little downtime to recharge.
6. How Do Assignments Work
Assignments, for the most part, work the same way they do if you were taking on-ground classes. There will be essays, group projects, study questions assigned by the professor, and, as we discussed above, exams.
There may also be presentations, which can be tricky, especially if students live in different time zones. Sometimes they can be videoed and delivered that way, other times they may require everyone to log in to LMS at the same time. Make sure you understand what is expected of students before choosing your program.
7. How Do Students Interact
One of the most important parts of furthering your education is getting to know your fellow students and exchanging ideas with one another. And even though it may seem like online classes would make this difficult, that simply isn’t the case.
Thanks to online discussion boards, social media, group texts, and video conferences there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to participate in lively discussions with your classmates. Likewise, you can meet with and discuss things with your professors in much the same way.
8. Are There Accelerated Programs
Maybe. Sometimes programs that are competency-based let you whiz through material you already know, allowing you to focus on learning and retaining new information and skills. Others will give credit for past work experience or military service.
So, if this is something you are interested in, either ask the programs you are looking at or specifically search out accelerated courses.
9. What Should I Know Before I Enroll
Even though the enrollment process with online courses is very similar to on-ground ones, there are a few things that are different. For example, you should have a firm grasp of what is required of you to complete the program.
You should also understand the rules on dropping courses. This is one of the times that online programs can differ quite a bit from their brick and mortar counterparts.
Now That You Know How Online Classes Work
Online courses can be a godsend for busy moms who either need or want to further their education. And now that you have a better idea of how online classes work, you can make a more informed decision on if they are for you. Just be sure to do your research and ask a ton of questions before you enroll.
For more blogs on how to balance life and work or school check out our blog. It is a great resource for busy moms, just like you.