Whether you’re planning to go back to school to start or complete a degree, online courses are an attractive option, and you might be wondering how online college courses actually work.
How are online classes different from face-to-face classes?
You may be used to taking a college course in a face-to-face environment in a traditional university setting. The basic principle is always the same online; you will have a syllabus to introduce you to the subject of the class – or course – and the skills it will cover. You will also learn what materials are required for the course, types of assignments to expect, grading information, assignment schedule, and academic policies.
Attending classes on campus can tie you into a traditional semester schedule, limiting opportunities to start a degree program. Online courses may differ, offering term start dates throughout the year. At Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), for example, there are 8-week terms for undergraduate courses and 10-week terms for graduates, providing plenty of opportunities to enroll throughout. of the calendar year.
What will online assignments look like?
Your assignments will be much like what you might expect or have experienced on campus, except they will be virtual. Rather than a class discussion, you will use online forums for discussion posts and responses. There may be readings and other resource materials, as well as quizzes, academic papers, presentations, and other assignments relevant to specific areas of study.
A huge range of resource materials are available through a virtual library, and quite often with 24/7 chat support.
Will online courses be flexible?
One big difference is that you won’t be attending your online college class at a set time each week. Instead, you’ll have the option of taking classes when it’s convenient for you as part of the class schedule.
For example, at SNHU, courses in online degree programs are divided into week-long modules with clearly defined due dates each week. You can choose to complete all assignments for that week within two days or work throughout the week. Depending on whether you’re a night owl or an early riser, you can find the time of day that works best for you and is the most productive.
What does the online college community look like?
And while the work is done wherever you are, you’re not alone if you choose a school that has the supports in place to help you succeed. Online SNHU students work with an admissions counselor to ensure the course of study they choose is the right one. Upon enrolment, an academic advisor is responsible for providing support throughout each course and assisting with planning, resource advice and lending a hand when needed. Assistant instructors are available throughout each course to clarify information, answer questions and facilitate learning.
If you want to get involved in extracurricular activities, there is an online portal where you can connect with other students, join clubs, and participate in activities. Events, including SNHU’s annual LEADS conference, also allow you to connect with other members of the community while focusing on your personal and professional development.
There are also career counselors ready to help you, whether you are looking for a promotion at work or want to quit your job and find a new one. You can also get career insights and help building your relationships and personal brand with the help of an alumni network. At SNHU, you will find that there are over 130,000 graduates.
While these supports may not be in place at every school you consider, it is important to focus on what is meaningful to you – and be sure to select a degree program at a university that has what you need. you need and what you want.
How many courses do you take in college?
How many classes you take is mostly up to you: whether you’ve taken any classes before or not, how much time you can dedicate to school, and what degree you hope to get.
The number of credits needed to earn a college degree depends on your program:
If this isn’t your first time attending college, you may be able to transfer credits to your new program, which will change your timeline and cost of completion. SNHU, for example, accepts up to 90 credits from previous courses. You may also be able to complete faster with prior learning credits earned through certain certifications, training, and military education.
Part-time or full-time student: How many courses is full-time?
Two online courses per term are considered full-time at SNHU. If you’re hoping to maximize the number of courses you take each term to get to your degree faster, you might be surprised at how manageable two courses can be.
This may vary at other schools, so it’s important to ask this question up front and understand what constitutes full-time and part-time – and how your financial aid may impact your options.
Are online courses easier?
The best online courses have academic rigor and knowledgeable professors with expertise in their fields. This winning combination, along with resources and support staff, creates a learning environment comparable to what you would expect in a face-to-face classroom setting.
Some courses may seem easier to you than others depending on your level of interest, willingness to work, and comfort level with what is required of you in a particular course. If writing is something you absolutely love and a course is writing intensive, this course may be the one you will really feel comfortable in. If a course seems to be difficult, it’s important to consider what resources are available to help you with areas where you think you need additional help.
For example, some schools offer 24/7 walk-in tutoring sessions, as well as access to a writing center. Leveraging these resources can help you perform at your best.
Knowing what supports are in place for you as a student can turn what could have been a difficult experience into a course you could thrive in.
Online Course Success Tips
To do well, it’s important to assess how much time you have available for classes and plan accordingly, allowing yourself some flexibility to rotate as needed if challenges in other areas of your life come your way. Schoolwork may be completely new to you, and you may not know how to maximize your success in a course.
Here are two tips to help you:
- Manage your time is essential to your success – and there are time management strategies that can help immensely, including preparing a project well, prioritizing tasks, developing a schedule and sticking to it.
- Adopt good study habits is another way to boost your learning. Think about how you learn; how you best engage with new information and what sticks and what doesn’t. Make sure you put yourself in an environment where you can better concentrate and retain information. Making sure you have enough time to complete your missions is equally important. You’ll find it hard to concentrate if you’re short on time and feeling stressed – and when you give yourself the time you need, you’ll have the option to ask for help if you’re stuck on a part of your job. a mission. .
While your experiences or concerns may seem particularly personal, rest assured that others have been where you are now and had the same desire to graduate. Find out what some members of the SNHU community had to say about tips for succeeding in college. No matter where you plan to pursue your education, the basic ingredients for academic success are the same.
A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU online program that can best help you achieve your goals.
Pamme Boutselis is an assistant, editor and senior director of content in higher education. Connect with her on LinkedIn.