Many students take online classes because they have busy work and life schedules and they need to have flexible learning opportunities. While online learning does allow flexibility and mobility, they are just as rigorous as campus face-to-face classes. We compiled a list of myths and facts, associated with online learning:
Myth: Online classes are easier.
Fact: Online classes are not easier. In many cases, online classes are just as demanding as a campus face-to-face course. Many online classes have rigorous reading, writing, and research assignments that require substantial time commitment and dedication. Time management is an important skill when taking an online course.
Myth: Instructors cannot tell how much time I spend online and whether I am actively engaged with the course material.
Fact: At North Seattle College, we use Canvas, our Learning Management System, to facilitate online classes. Canvas has sophisticated analytics that allow instructors to see how much time a student spent in a course, when a student logged in the course the last time, and when a student submitted an assignment. Additionally, there are many other ways for your instructor to see whether you were actively engaged with the course material and other students. For example, many instructors require students to participate in discussion activities and collaborate with other students virtually.
Myth: Online classes do not follow the regular quarter schedule.
Fact: Online classes have the same quarter schedule as on-campus classes. It is important to login your online or hybrid class on the first day of the quarter to read your course syllabus and check the assignments and reading that need to be completed.
Myth: There are no due dates in online classes.
Fact: While each class has different types of assignments, each online class has activities that have the due dates. It is important to review your course materials and assignments on daily basis to make sure you do not miss important due dates. When taking a hybrid class, it is especially important to check the online instructions as you may need to complete assignments or activities before you meet in class.
Myth: Online classes are not as engaging as on-campus classes.
Fact: Online classes are different from traditional on-campus classes, because of the technology and can be just as engaging in a different way. For example, in online classes, instructors may ask students to participate in discussions on weekly basis, work in groups to collaborate on a project, or participate in peer-review assignments.
Myth: Personal attention doesn’t exist in an online class
Fact: Many students who take an online classes say there is more attention since instructors log on daily and respond quickly. In most cases, you will have a great deal of interaction with your instructor and your classmates, sometimes more than you would in a traditional classroom setting. Online courses may have mandatory participation in chat rooms, webinars, and on discussion boards. Additionally, students can always email instructor individuality if they have any questions.
Myth: Instructors are always available in an online class.
Fact: Your instructors are not going to be available online all the time. Most of your instructors provide a maximum email turnaround time, typically between 24-48 hours. As a student, you need to plan ahead as much as possible, and be sure to have an alternate solution if you don’t hear back from your instructor before an assignment is due (remember, your assignments are your responsibility, not theirs). Some instructors include a “Questions About the Course” discussion board where they encourage students to answer one another’s questions. Another approach would be to reach out to another member of the class and exchange private emails to support each other throughout the semester. Because you are not meeting with each other, or in the case of a hybrid course, not as often, it is easy to feel isolated in an online course. Try some of these tactics so you can connect with others – you will get a lot more out of your classes if you do.
Myth: Online classes is a great fit for all students.
Fact: Online courses are not a good fit for everyone. The first question you should ask yourself before considering an online class is this: “Is eLearning for me?” Online learning requires good time management skills as well as basic technology skills and the willingness to ask for help in achieving the basic skills.
Myth: Online courses are all the same
Fact: Just like a traditional face-to-face class, online classes vary by instructor, subject, and program. Different instructors organize their courses differently in Canvas. Types of activities and assignments also vary significantly depending on a class you take.
Myth: I will be taught how to use a computer and Canvas in my online class.
Fact: Do not expect your instructor to spend time teaching you how to use your computer or how to use Canvas. When you register for an online class, make sure you have sufficient technology skills and have access to a reliable computer. Before you take your fist online or hybrid class, we highly recommend you to complete our online Canvas orientation for students or attend one of several face-to-face /virtual workshops given at the beginning of every quarter.