Whether someone has taken many online classes or none, everyone has different opinions about them. For example, one person may believe online classes are easier than traditional classes, while another may find them more challenging. This article addresses 5 common myths about online classes.
1. You don’t need to have any experience with computers to take an online class.
While you don’t have to be a computer expert to take an online class, you will need to have a basic knowledge of computers. If you are considering taking a class online, first ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you comfortable using a computer on a daily basis?
- Do you have regular, reliable access to a computer? How about to an alternate computer should something happen to your primary?
- Do you have good written communication skills?
- Do you know how to open your email? Can you compose an email message and upload/download attachments?
- How are your word processing skills? Do you know how to format a document including font sizing, line spacing, and adding footnotes, headers and footers? Do you know how to cut, copy and paste text within a single file and from one document to another?
- How much do you know about file formats and saving files in different formats?
- Do you know how to install and uninstall software on your computer?
- Do you know how to find out which operating system you are using? Which Internet browser?
- Do you know how to use the Internet? Do you know how to find online resources appropriate for research purposes?
- Are you comfortable troubleshooting your computer when errors arise?
The good news is most of these skills can easily be learned online – through UA Little Rock’s IT Services website and Blackboard Student Support website – or on campus through the IT Services Student Computer Lab (Ottenheimer Library Room 104) or Blackboard Student Support Office (Dickinson Hall Room 105).
2. Online classes are easier or harder than traditional classes.
While it’s likely that some students may struggle more in an online class than others, the truth is online classes are really no different than traditional classes held on campus. The only difference is the environment in which the class material is delivered. Once you understand how to navigate the Blackboard environment, the rest is just a matter of time management and self-discipline. If you are considering taking an online class for the first time, it might be helpful to talk with someone that has already taken an online class.
Blackboard Student Support offers more details about navigating online classes at UA Little Rock.
3. It’s less time intensive than a traditional class.
A lot of students have the misconception that because a class is online, they can complete their online assignments whenever they have some free time. Unfortunately, this approach leaves a lot of students struggling at the last minute to get assignments completed. Online classes are the same as traditional classes in that they require time spent “outside of class” to get everything done.
The best way to approach on online class is to schedule homework and study time like you would a face-to-face class. If you schedule several hours throughout the week dedicated to completing assignments for your online classes, you’ll find that the work is done in a timely manner without becoming overwhelming.
4. Online classes are just online textbooks.
Most online classes are more than just an exchange of text. There are a variety of tools in Blackboard that encourage peer-to-peer and student-teacher interactions including discussion boards, video journals, blogs, and wikis. Also, many instructors use audio, video, and web conferencing tools to engage and communicate with students. If you’d like to know what instruction methods will be used in your individual online classes, ask the listed instructor of that class. Not only will you find classes that are better suited to your learning preferences, but you’ll also be prepared to meet the specific requirements of the class before you begin.
5. It’s okay to be casual or informal in an online class.
Whether you are attending a class on campus or online, you must remember that you are communicating in an academic setting and should conduct yourself in a professional manner. This applies to all online correspondences related to your class from papers to emails and discussion postings.
It is inappropriate to communicate in your online class the same way you may communicate other places online. Avoid the use of text speak, foul language, and poor grammar or spelling. Remember: you are preparing for your future career. Professional and grammatically correct communication will serve you well in any profession you choose. Start practicing!
For more potential “myth-busters” and helpful information about online classes and programs at UA Little Rock, please visit our FAQs page.