The Value in Taking Online Courses

By Kaitlin Hurtado on February 27, 2018

Online courses may be the last thing on your mind when it comes to registering for classes, but if you have the chance to take an online course, you should considering taking an online course because of its value. It definitely won’t be your standard class experience of going to scheduled lectures, but online courses may be a better option for you when it comes to fitting in class time to your busy lifestyle or catering to your learning style.

laptop, notes, desk,

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Have control of your own schedule

One of the most promising aspects of online courses is that online courses allow you to have control of your own schedule as they are much more loosely scheduled than your typical class would be. Of course, you will still have the usual deadlines for quizzes, exams, papers, or discussion posts, but you won’t have to go to a lecture at a set time several times a week when you might need to be somewhere else.

Taking an online course allows you to adjust your schedule accordingly. For example, if you need to trade shifts at work to go home later in the week and the only shifts people are willing to give up when you would typically watch an online lecture, you can always find another time to study the lecture in order to pick up a shift. By taking an online course, you minimize the chances of having serious time conflicts and save yourself the trouble of picking if having a job or going to school is more important to you.

If you are notorious for skipping your early morning classes because you can’t find it in yourself to become a morning person, taking an online course eliminates that problem. If you know you work better at a certain time of the day, like nighttime, you can easily plan time during your nighttime routine for listening to online lectures. You get to decide when your class time is.

Taking an online course also allows you to follow your own pace. If you hate going to lecture just because your professor is slow while going through a concept, trails off on a tangent too often, or doesn’t stop to gauge the students’ level of understanding for the lecture’s content, you can listen to online lectures without worrying about that problem.

Create your own learning environment

When it comes to taking your typical college course, you may find yourself disliking whatever learning environment you are set in. You might prefer to learn in a smaller, more private area instead of the typical lecture hall, which can be full of distractions. The people around you could be in a full conversation, conflicting with whatever the professor is lecturing about. The person ahead of you can be online shopping or streaming something on Netflix, allowing your wandering eyes to take advantage from the lecture.

If you are taking an online course, however, you get to decide what your learning environment will look like. Build your own distraction-free zone according to your taste. You can reserve a study room on campus to eliminate the possibility of a roommate barging in mid-lecture or you getting sleepy and taking a nap instead of sitting through a full lecture.

If learning from the comfort of your own home is your best option, create a study space just like you would to crank out an essay or study for an exam. Turn your phone off or set it to the side, let your roommates know if you want to keep the noise level down, and whatever else you usually do to create a space you can be productive in.

Test your self-control, or learn some

While online courses may seem very promising, the idea of holding yourself accountable to follow a strict schedule on your own may seem daunting depending on the level of self-control you already have. Online courses give you plenty of freedom when it comes to deciding when and where you want to have class time, and that freedom comes with a large amount of responsibility when you are in charge of creating your own class schedule and studying schedule.

You can build your own class and studying schedule, you are responsible for sticking to it. There is no strict attendance policy forcing you to go to set lecture times – you just need to be strict with yourself to actually sit down for an online lecture when you plan to. This may seem like a little too much responsibility if you are the type to procrastinate on everything, but taking an online course is the perfect opportunity to learn how to practice self-control. When you have control over when you have class because of an online course and learn how to stick to the schedule you set in order to not fall behind, it will help you in other classes that aren’t online as you get to use the self-control you’ve learned to stay on top of other class schedules.

When it comes to registering for next term’s classes, consider registering for an online course if it’s offered for the classes you need. While unconventional, online courses have plenty of value, especially for busy college students that are seeking better control of their own schedule.

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