To some people, learning how an online class works seems too confusing to try. Overall, online classes are easy to learn and manage. All it takes is a little time to familiarize yourself with the online class setup, learn any unfamiliar computer technology and figure out how to manage your life schedule with your online school schedule. Once someone takes an online class, they are usually hooked by the ease and freedom online classes offer busy students.
Online classes work by providing complete instruction via the internet. Students enrolled in college can search the schedule of courses and look for ones offered as distance learning classes. Read the computer requirements listed on most online classes' main page before you enroll for the class. You may consider upgrading your computer, or buying necessary equipment such as speakers or a microphone, if the online class requires it. Most students can enroll with just their ordinary computer.
Once enrolled, browse around the class site to familiarize yourself with the setup. Many online classes utilize WebCT and Blackboard. These are computer applications that let the professor post the syllabus and grades. Students also use these applications to post assignments and questions. Some professors use discussion boards as part of their class participation grade. There may be posting requirements for students stating that they need to post at least one comment for each topic on the board. Depending on the class, there may be a requirement that every student must start at least one topic for discussion. Other ways of communication include email, chat boards and phone calls if needed.
Many classes will use your social security number as your student I.D. This is the number your grades and teacher comments will be posted under. This gives you some amount of privacy as far as your class success. Others may give you an assigned password or name for posting, submitting and checking grades. Tests and quizzes are online and some may be timed. Timed tests insure that you are not reading out of a textbook or utilizing your notes to find test answers. Timed tests usually give you enough time to finish as long as you know the majority of the course work.
If you feel you must practice with computer technology before signing up for an online class, there are some basic programs and applications that many online classes use. To begin with, you should be able to use a word processing program. This includes knowing how to email saved documents, zipping files, changing margins and fonts and adding charts and tables. Some classes may need you to be familiar with spreadsheets or slideshow type presentations.
You may also want to practice downloading and uploading files. Confirm where downloaded files go on your computer and how to find the files you need for uploading. If you needed to buy a microphone, make sure you hook it up and test it out before your class starts. Overall, online classes work much like campus classes except you are sitting at home.