Thinking about Taking Online Classes?
No time in your day to sit in class?
Gadsden State Community College offers a wide variety of courses offered entirely online! Take advantage of our growing number of classes and programs delivered online so you can learn at your convenience.
What should you know before taking online courses?
Online courses offer a lot of flexibility for busy students. They often attract professionals looking for career advancement, parents seeking to better provide for their families and returning students looking to pick up where they left off. Taking online classes allows you to work toward your goals at your own pace. But not everyone has what it takes to succeed in the nontraditional setting of online classes. They will test your self-discipline, time management skills and ability to learn independently.
Here’s 5 things you should know about online classes:
1. Online classes are not "easier."
Opting for online courses over traditional courses is not the easy route for your education. It’s true that online courses offer you the flexibility to learn in your own time and space, but that doesn’t change the amount of work you put in. You still have the same amount of work—just without the formal classroom setting. The flexibility of online classes can be extremely helpful to busy students, but that same freedom also creates additional pressures on those enrolled. It’s entirely up to you to avoid distractions and keep on track.
2. Know your learning style.
It’s important to know how you learn best. This is because the quality of education in online classes is the same. The difference is how the course is delivered. People have different learning styles, so an advantage to one student may be a disadvantage to another. For example, if you like to ask questions during lectures and interact with your professor after class, online courses will be an adjustment for you. Seeking out help will be trickier than simply approaching a professor during office hours. On the other hand, online lectures are a great option if you tend to feel lost in the crowd of a classroom. This gives you the ability to pause and take thorough notes or even re-watch parts you didn’t quite understand the first time.
Take this Learning Style Quiz from EducationPlanner.org to see what your learning style is: What's Your Learning Style?
3. Become comfortable with the technology.
Your online class will most likely be accessed through your personal computer or laptop. We recommend taking some time to become acquainted with Blackboard and utilize any orientation materials prior to class. Having a reliable internet connection and operating system is also crucial to staying on top of your work.
4. Schedule time for studying
It’s your responsibility to take the initiative to keep up with your work when enrolled in online classes. It can be easy to let assignments slide and miss due dates because of the wiggle room and flexibility that come with online courses. Procrastination is a slippery slope and can affect your grade negatively. It’s important to stay organized and follow a schedule because it’s difficult to catch up once you fall behind. Many students underestimate the amount of time they’ll spend studying for class. You should expect online courses to take about the same amount of time as traditional courses. You should be prepared to do a lot of reading and researching to complete written assignments. Breaking up readings into smaller portions is a great way to make the workload more manageable and avoid putting off large assignments until the last minute. Setting aside time for studying will make also make it harder to postpone doing the work.
5. Stay engaged with the coursework
Discussion forums play a large role in many online classes. These posts are a great way to participate in class discussion and show your professor you’re taking the course seriously. Don’t breeze through class forums and other small assignments. Putting a little extra effort into discussion posts can mean the difference between full and partial credit.
Pfeffer, J. (2015, March 9). How to Prepare for College: 7 Signs You're Ready to be an Online Student. Retrieved August 14, 2016, from http://www.rasmussen.edu/student-life/blogs/college-life/how-to-prepare-for-college-online-student/
So, what do you think? Are you ready?
Online classes are a great way to balance family life, work and education. This option will allow you to work at your own pace to make a better life for you and your family. Best of all, taking online classes lets you integrate your studies into your schedule at your convenience.
Check out this article from OnlineCollege.org to see if you are ready to be an online student: Are you Ready to Be an Online Student?
Here is another great article from the American Library Association: Are you Ready for Online Learning?
If you would like to check out Gadsden State's Learning Management System, Blackobard Learn 9.1, try the Online Course Demo. Go to the Blackboard Login page and enter 'demo' for both the username and the password.