November 21, 2012
Online-classes

Online Courses: Are They Right for You?

If you work full time, have a busy family life, or simply don’t have reliable transportation, taking your college courses online can sound like an appealing option. In fact, FRCC has one of the most extensive and comprehensive online programs of any community college. However, before you decide to turn your computer into a classroom, be sure you are ready! Consider:

  • Online classes don’t meet at specific times, but you still will have deadlines for assignments, readings and discussions.
  • Online courses won’t help you find more time in your life. True, they do save travel time, but you still need time to do the work. If you have a full time job and three kids, think hard about how many courses you can handle successfully.
  • Even if your online instructor provides podcasts and video, you need to be comfortable with reading—a lot! If you don’t enjoy reading or reading comprehension isn’t your strength, think twice before signing up for an online class.
  • You might be alone in front of your laptop, but you still have classmates in an online class. Be prepared to help create a community of learners and participate (in writing) in discussions with your peers. One of the benefits of online learning is that everyone has a voice.
  • While you don’t need advanced technology skills to be successful in online classes, it is essential to be able to download and save a file, locate it later, and upload the file to your course drop box. Typing skills—preferably something beyond the two-finger “hunt and peck” method—help too.
  • Finally, online classes are not easier! They work really well for self-motivated, independent learners who are good at time management. If you’re a habitual procrastinator or need a lot of structure, things won’t be any easier online.

If online learning sounds like a good fit for you, take the next step. Talk to friends who have taken online classes or an instructor who teaches online. Take our free self-assessment (username: student / password: success) to make sure you’ll be comfortable taking an online class. Then try taking one or two of your classes online next semester. If you have questions, our Online Learning team is always here to help.

 

About the author:

Andy Dorsey is the President of Front Range Community College. He joined FRCC in 1993, teaching psychology and economics and earning Master Teacher honors in 1999. Before becoming an educator, he worked as a project manager in two businesses, non-profit manager, and legislative director for a Congressman.


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