What Happens at an Online College?
All of us are familiar with the traditional setting of a classroom with students, and teachers. But just what is an online college like? How do you take classes, submit homework, receive your assignments, and take your tests? How are lectures, if any, given?
These questions usually come up about online learning. Most of us understand that it involves an Internet connection and a computer, but what else is there?
First Things First: The Counselor
After you select the online college you would like to attend. The next step is to speak to an online college representative or counselor. This individual will explain what is involved in signing up for classes, what it costs to complete a degree, what programs are available, and other key issues about online college.
How to Get Around the Virtual "Campus"
Before your virtual classes start, you will go through orientation at your online college. A student ID and password will be assigned to you. This will allow you to log in to the college servers, database, and course software where you will receive and turn in your assignments.
Virtual College Life
Lectures are performed online via video, text on the website, or audio recordings. In some cases, multimedia is sent to students in the form of DVDs or CDs. Each online college varies in how this is accomplished.
Contacting your teacher is done through emails. Some online colleges utilize online messaging software, or VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) to speak with students directly. Reading materials may be supplied through books, ebooks, online texts, or DVDs.
Some projects or assignments require group interaction, so communication with other students is essential for completing these tasks.
Real Homework and Tests
Each class you take will have homework that is due at a certain time. Online education allows flexibility in scheduling, but deadlines are still required. Tests are taken online. Some online colleges make arrangements with local colleges to have proctored finals; you go to a supervised classroom to take your tests.
Online college offers a great deal of flexibility, but also requires a good deal of discipline.