Last semester, I took two online classes. This semester, I’m doing everything online. That’s mainly because the campus is a solid half hour drive away from me – when the traffic’s good. As I’m finding out, online classes definitely have their perks, but they’re not for everyone.
The first thing I like about taking classes online is that it saves me time and money. It saves an hour each day that I would normally have classes because I don’t have to drive there and back, and it lowers the amount of money I’m putting in the gas tank. I have food at home, so I’m not tempted to stop at Sheetz and spend money that I really don’t need to be spending.
My second favorite thing is that I can work at my own pace, whenever I want. My classes have a deadline (for some, it’s every Friday at midnight, and for others, it’s the end of the month) for when the unit has to be finished, and I can get my work done whenever I want as long as it’s done by the due date. I find that to be convenient, since I learn some material faster than others and can spend more time where it’s needed. If I’m having a good day with Literature, I can sit down and do a week’s worth of assigned reading, discussion and essays all at once. If a certain class is harder for me, I can spend a little time each day on it so I’m not frustrating myself trying to have it all done to turn in tomorrow.
However, before you start thinking that online is a great option for you, you should consider the potential drawbacks. When you’re in class, your teacher tells you, “Okay, have these pages read and this assignment done by Tuesday.” Online, you often have to do a little digging to figure out exactly what is due and when. None of my classes have a Blackboard announcement listing the things I need to be doing. You have to be good at using Blackboard and very organized to keep track of what you should be doing. It’s also easier to procrastinate and fall behind on your work – since you don’t have to show up to class and physically hand in your homework or prove you read a chapter, you might find yourself thinking that you don’t have to do coursework several times a week. It’s that type of thinking that will prevent you from doing well in your classes.
Hopefully this perspective gave you a more accurate idea of what exactly the online classes are. I knew online classes would be good for me because I’ve always been a student who keeps up with their reading and makes sure their homework is done on time. If that sounds like you, maybe you should give online classes a try – just don’t fall into the myth that they are easy and you won’t have to work the same amount, if not more, than you would in a regular class.
– Rachael, student blogger