If online classes are a mystery to you, you probably have questions about what they’re are really like. Our blog team could certainly put together a fact sheet to help demystify online learning but to really get at the heart of the matter, we went directly to the source: we asked our current online students what they think.
Specifically, we wanted to know: what are the benefits of taking online classes? They described what students can expect and explained that the advantages from their perspective.
The feedback was awesome! Some students summarized the benefits in a few simple words and others submitted multiple paragraphs, rich with nitty gritty details.
We compiled their responses and have summarized them here. If you’re considering an online class and you’ve been looking for more information about the experience, check out our top five takeaways.
The real benefits of taking online classes (from online students!)
- Real interaction. Real community.
For someone who has only taken traditional courses, it’s hard to imagine not having the feedback and energy of a room full of classmates. Believe it or not, the interaction and deep sense of community was talked about a lot among are online students. The instructors are known for incorporating new tools that allow the class to have deep discussions and interactions that are on par (if not greater), than what you’d experience face-to-face. In some classes, you’ll use the chat function and have real-time discussions with the professor and your classmates. When it comes to doing presentations, many courses use Kaltura—a video tool that allows you to upload videos of your presentation to share with your class. These tools all emphasize group participation and aim to help online students build real relationships.
- Time to reflect
Have you ever been in a meeting or had a group discussion and thought of the perfect way to add to the conversation after the fact? One advantage of taking a class online is that you don’t need to miss these opportunities. If you think of a really insightful perspective a day after your post—guess what, you can log in and post your new idea that very same week. Overall, you’ll be less rushed to provide the perfect post and you can edit your work along the way.
- You save money
Without the back and forth to a campus, you’ll definitely save money on gas. You won’t need to pay to park at a large campus garage or pay room and board. At the end of the semester, the savings can really add up.
- It’s flexible
If there are parts of your life that you just can’t reschedule such as a full-time job or caring for your family, online classes are worth looking into. You can go online from your own home at a time that is convenient for you anytime throughout the week so you can balance all your responsibilities. Instead of fitting everything else around your classes, your classes fit into your priorities and responsibilities. Instead of locking in Tuesdays from 6-9:30 p.m. on your calendar each week, you fit in your study time based on what makes sense to you: an hour here, an hour there, a block of time on your days off.
- It will reveal or strengthen professional skills
One student shared that taking courses online helped him build up his writing skills. If you think about it, some professionals have jobs that are more hands-on and rarely require writing at all. An online class can really help you perfect this skill. It’s not just about writing, either. You’ll learn about technology, sharpen your time management, and overall communication skills. These are all qualities that businesses are looking for in their employees and will help you when you’re in the market for your next big career opportunity.
Like any other undertaking, learning online is what you make of it. Like every single college course, it will require organization, self-discipline, and hard work. You’ll learn a lot, and even expand your professional portfolio of skills in new and unexpected ways.