Online classes offer college students the flexibility to complete coursework around work and family obligations. However, online classes emphasize different skill-sets, and may even require more time than classroom-based classes.  Before choosing online classes, make sure you know what to expect.

Online Classes Are Not Easy

Expect to spend a minimum of 3 hours each week, for each online class credit hour. One of the biggest misconceptions about online classes is that they are easier than classroom-based classes.  More often than not, the opposite is true. Take this short quiz to see if online classes may be for you.

Schedule Time for Homework

It’s important to schedule specific times throughout the week to complete your online coursework and log in frequently throughout the week to check your class information. Maintaining a consistent schedule each week is crucial to being successful.

Proctored Testing May Be Required

Before registering for an online class, check the course description to see if proctored testing is required. If it is, you will need to take tests at a physical location, such as at one of the FRCC Testing Centers.  If you live a significant distance from a testing location, you may be able to set-up a virtual testing time, which you can do from home.

Take Advantage of Help & Resources

If you are taking an online class for the first time, be sure to take advantage of orientations, tutorials or other training that’s available. See these tips from an online student.

Also, if you ever feel lost in an online class, reach out to the instructor and/or the Online Learning department as soon as possible.  Online students have access to the same resources, tutoring, disability support services, etc., as classroom-based students.  Just make sure to give yourself enough time to utilize these resources, when needed.

Be Proactive

Often times the only way students can communicate with their instructor is through e-mail. It’s important to give the instructor enough time to reply back to you prior to coursework due dates.

Have FUN!

Lastly, get involved with school events, activities and/or online student communities and HAVE FUN! Studies show that students taking online classes are more successful when they get involved in school activities outside of the online classroom.  Achieving that feeling of inclusion within the school will help enrich your online learning experience.

An Online Student Retention Specialist is located at the Boulder County, Larimer and Westminster Campuses.  We are here to help guide you through the online class experience.  Feel free to call or email us with questions at (303) 404-5513 or

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