By Amarelis Bracero
I made it through my first three years of college without ever having to take an online class. For some, that may be shocking; online classes are common at NJIT and often the only option for some courses. Other students have yet to take an online class, and some students may never even take an online course.
For those of you who may be on the fence about whether or not to take an online course, listen up: it’s hard.
Online courses are usually not about doing the work at your own pace. Online courses are split up into weeks with weekly discussions (to take the place of in-class discussion) and assignments that are due by a specific time that is set by the professor administering the course. Starting the semester off right is key, but it can be a hard routine to keep up. Just keep at it. Having a routine is the most important thing you can do if you are enrolled in an online course. Treat it like a normal class. Dedicate an hour and a half twice a week to that course.
Even when I kept my routine, it was hard for me to retain the information. Perhaps this has to do with HOW I learn. I learn best when I hear/see something and then get to do it while under the supervision of my professor where he/she can give me feedback.
After my first encounter with an online course, you would think I had learned my lesson the second time around for my online winter class. You would think that I planned out dates to read the material and take the quizzes.
I started the winter semester off strong. I read almost every day. However, I found it increasingly difficult to concentrate when studying. My mind kept drifting off to other things I had to read articles multiple times even if I had already taken notes. Maybe it’s just a product of being anxious all the time, but I felt like everything I did was not enough. (It was a product of anxiety; I passed the class with a great grade.)
So here’s my advice:
If you learn from reading alone, take an online course.
If you learn from listening to a lecture a lone, take an online course.
If you are okay with hardly getting feedback, take an online course.
Have a set studying schedule.
Take notes just like you would in a normal class.
Don’t hesitate to email the professor for clarification!
As much trouble as I had with online courses, I will admit that they are convenient. Commuting students or those who may not be able to be on campus as often as other students, should definitely consider taking an online course at some point in their college careers.