The Reality of Online Courses

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Welcome back all you wonderful Iowa Staters! The spring semester is finally here! By now, I am sure you are all finally falling into the rhythm of your new day-to-day schedules.  As a full-time student myself, I heard (and maybe many of you have as well) the usual talk surrounding on-campus courses versus “online courses”.

Maybe you’ve heard that they’re not as engaging?  Or that you don’t really learn anything from taking an online course?  I know I’ve personally heard all this and more.  With all that in mind, sometimes you just have to see for yourself.  I recently enrolled in to an online French Film course and have quickly come to observe all the realities that come with taking an online course.

1) “They’re really easy” is not exactly a fair statement.

Honestly, a course is only as hard as you make it out to be. An online course can be as or even exponentially more challenging than any other course you will encounter at Iowa State. The level of difficult will vary, just as you know by now with the courses you are already taking. The most important thing you should consider is staying on top of the material and knowing when to ask for help. It’s very easy to fall behind when you have this mentality that the online course will be a breeze. In fact, one of the most underestimated online courses at Iowa State is Library 160, an online course that every student is required to take.

2) Time Management is a MUST!

One of the things you quickly learn when taking an online course is the importance of managing your time wisely—knowing when assignments are due as well as exam dates. Whether you spread them out evenly or power through them in one night (which I don’t recommend) is really up to you. It can feel overwhelming at first. I know I felt swamped the first few weeks having to keep track of all the material. Know when to set time aside to complete course work. Don’t put it off.

Tip: make use of a daily/weekly planner and note all important dates for the course.

3) In my experience…

There is a certain level of convenience that comes from taking an online course. The fact that they are “online” means you don’t have to stress over missing class because the material is always at your fingertips. You can learn the course material and complete any assignment from the comfort of your own room at your own pace. Maybe even in your pajamas!

Posted by: Sylvina Walk