Taking courses over the Internet is a convenient way of completing coursework at a college or university from the comfort of your own home. Although you do not attend classes on a physical campus, there are, in fact, many similarities between online classes and traditional classes. Therefore, when considering whether to complete coursework online or in a traditional setting, take these similarities into consideration.
Whether you choose to attend classes online or in a traditional physical setting, you will be assigned homework to complete. Like traditional courses, expect to do a series of reading and writing assignments relevant to the course you are enrolled in. Other assignment possibilities include watching documentaries or relevant movies that your instructor adds to the course's lesson plan.
Text Books and Online Material
A second similarity between online and traditional courses is the requirement that you use course text books to prepare for (and complete) your reading and writing assignments. Even though a course may be taken online, text books are still central to learning relevant information. Some courses, however, may allow you to purchase the material in an "e-book" format, which is an electronic book. Whether you buy the material as an e-book or as a hardcover book, you will have to learn and retain material.
Exams are used to test your understanding and retention of course material. Exams are commonly given at periodic intervals throughout the academic semester, including midterms. Even though you may be enrolled in an online course, expect to be required to take course exams. Exams may be given online, or you may be required to visit the institution's campus to complete the exam. In-person attendance is useful to ensure a controlled exam environment.
Communication With Professors
Academic instructors make themselves available to students to help them learn the required material. Whether you are attending school online or on campus, professors are likely to have office hours, where you can get clarification on an issue or otherwise communicate with your professor. Although contact with instructors may be done virtually in online schools, students in traditional classrooms often have the option of contacting their instructions by phone or email as well.
Nicholas Smith has written political articles for SmithonPolitics.com, "The Daily Californian" and other publications since 2004. He is a former commissioner with the city of Berkeley, Calif. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California-Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law.