Thursday, September 26, 2013

What did I sign myself up for? 5 things I have learned from online classes.

This semester I decided to throw my hands into an online class. The last time I had even attempted to take anything online I was 19, and was more interested in finding out what a chat room was all about over learning about a battle that took place years ago. I dropped out of the class before I failed. And decided online for me anyway wasn't the way to go.

But of course things change, we get busy, and have kids and full time jobs and those campus course options begin to get smaller and smaller. So online was the way to go, at least for this go around that is.

I am now 5 weeks into the semester, and well I have learned a few things in those five weeks in regards to online classes.

1. It is not easy.

When I first started I heard from several that it may be a lot less stressful. But after the few weeks, I have found it still is. Sure I don't have to face any of my classmates face to face. I don't have to worry that my paper when handed in isn't the same looking as so and so's. Or that I will have to stand in front of them and do a presentation-because the thought of that is scary. But what they don't tell you is, its a lot of work. Its writing papers and having something to turn in and have finished every three days.

2. Its writing intensive

Which I love, since I am not a test taker. But it also means I have written and remain writing more than I have in a long time. So if your not exactly the kind of person that enjoys this sort of thing, or can handle writing a paper at least once every other week, it may not be for you. While not every online class may be so, for the most  part be prepared to write.

3. You still have to interact.

Just because its online doesn't mean you can ignore everyone. Yes, there will still be assignments and things you have to respond to. And yes there is a pretty good chance you will have to do a group project, it may not be in the sense that you were thinking of before in standard learning but you still have to do something as a group, avoiding it is not as easy as you think.

4. Its not an automatic A.

A couple of my coworkers assumed it was just an easy breezy, turn in something here and there, but what they don't know is this. It is a lot of work, a lot of reading and if you want that A, your going to have to earn it.

5. There is no off time.

Spring breaks, fall breaks, holidays are typical. Every college student looks to these as times to live up what is supposed to be the best times of your life. Except as I looked at the syllabus, there was none of these scheduled. In fact, I still have things due during some of them. Apparently the rules may not apply, since you can do some of it on your own time.

This all being said, I will say this. It has made me a better student. I fully admit to only paying half attention to lectures while I am in the classroom, and not truly caring about half of my reading. But considering I can't do any of this stuff, well I have to actually pay attention. I have to read and do every little thing, including sitting through 8 presentations a week, will the end result turn out any better? This remains to be seen. But for the moment,   well I have yet to hit the withdraw button.

I'll take it.

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