What to Expect From Online Courses

It's hard to decide if online school is right for you if you don't know what an actual online class will be like. It's also important to understand the differences between online and traditional classes in order to know what will be expected of you as a student. If you have any questions about online courses that we don't address, ask us on our Facebook page.

Using Technology

Obviously, technology plays a much larger role in online classes. Every communication you have with classmates and professors will be through a piece of technology, and it's imperative that you understand the required technology and are comfortable with it. Video chat, instant messaging, forums, email, bulletin boards, and blogs are all ways that information can be communicated in online classes. Make sure that you're aware of what type of communication your professors prefer.

Furthermore, online classes mean that there will be no professor standing up in class three times a week to remind you that you have a big project due soon. You must be proactive with technology and know where important announcements to your class are made online in order to stay up to date on assignments. (dmu.edu)

    Student Interaction

    How will you interact with other students if you never see them face to face? Technology is key here, too. For group projects, for example, students may be expected to teleconference via Skype or other video chat software. Often there will be a specific online forum especially for groups, where they can collaborate and share ideas together. (dmu.edu)


      Grading in online classes is usually similar to traditional courses, with a mixture of participation, homework, and test grades. Participation will work differently online, though. You can't raise your hand to make a comment, but you can still show your engagement in the material through other means. Many professors count the number of forum posts, comments, or blog posts students make, and use this to determine the participation level. (dmu.edu)

        Online Testing

        Since tests and exams are done from home, students are expected to follow an honor code and not use outside course materials if they are told not to. Some professors may require students to have a proctor, an outside individual who monitors the exam and ensures that they don't cheat. Often the tests are timed through the computer. Most online schools use automated plagiarism-scanning software. Violating the ethical standard of your program can result in failing a class. (dmu.edu)

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